Story at a glance

  • Last year, e-bikes brought in close to $15 billion in global sales — and they’re projected to rise to nearly $19 billion by 2024.
  • Increased use of e-bikes and traditional bicycles can help reduce CO2 emissions.
  • The incorporation of smart-tech features helps Rayvolt’s new high-end model broaden the appeal of e-bikes to a wider market.

In most major cities, if you’ve paid any attention to how delivery workers zoom around town, then you’ve likely noticed the rise of e-bikes. These are bicycles that with an electric motor to give the rider a boost of speed. Last year, e-bike sales brought in close to $15 billion in global sales, and they’re projected to rise to nearly $19 billion by 2024.

High fuel prices and advances in battery technology are partly behind the increased popularity of the pedal-assisted cruisers. Many models can now travel upward of 50 miles on a single charge, which tread more lightly on the planet than a new car.  

However, many of these high-powered batteries inside e-bikes, electric cars and smartphones require rare-earth minerals like cobalt, the mining of which is associated with a host of environmental and human rights issues. But if these issues can be addressed, the apparent willingness of people to swap their cars for e-bikes is encouraging amid the grim forecasts of what will happen if the world doesn’t tamp down its emission of carbon dioxide.

A 2015 study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy concluded that a dramatic increase of about 20 percent in cycling worldwide could “cut CO2 emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 percent in 2050.”

One company, called Rayvolt, just announced via an Indiegogo campaign a new model called the X One via that stands out from others on the market for its sleek design and incorporation of smart tech. It's high-end looks could attract new users to consider an e-bike. 

The X One pairs with your smartphone literally and figuratively. There is a rectangular cutout in the bike’s frame that accepts most major smartphones as well as an app that uses facial recognition that can unlock the bike. 

To help the rig stay charged, braking and backpedaling are regenerative, and an integrated motion sensor automatically engages regeneration when traveling downhill. Borrowing a feature from modern cars, the X One’s slick built-in headlights and taillights turn with the bike to make sure you’re safely visible. Turn signals are integrated into the handlebars.  

Rayvolt’s X One will go on the market in the summer of 2020, with a preorder price starting at $1,999. It comes in a 250-watt or a 750-watt model, which have top speeds of 20mph and 28 mph, respectively.

Published on Nov 04, 2019