每日英語跟讀 Ep.K466: Can E-Bikes Go Mainstream?
Growing up in the Netherlands, with its network of pathways, its flat landscape and its bicycle-friendly traffic laws, brothers Ties and Taco Carlier were commuting with their parents on bikes by age 4. Many families in the country didn’t own cars.
But traveling to New York and other cities as adults, the Carliers realized that few people commuted on bikes in the same way they did back home, turned off by the sprawl, the hills and the weather. The experience planted the seed for what would become one of the world’s hottest bicycle brands.
In a bike market remade by the pandemic, VanMoof, the Dutch e-bike company started by the brothers, has been among the biggest winners. With a simple and stylish design and clever integration of technology, the company has drawn comparisons to Apple and Tesla and has attracted a loyal and fast-growing customer base among urban professionals in Europe and the United States.
Sales of the battery-powered bikes more than tripled during the pandemic, and the company has raised more than $150 million from venture capitalists who don’t typically bet on bicycles.
“We wanted to change the bike in the way it functions, but also from a technology perspective,” Ties Carlier said in a video interview from the company’s headquarters in the Netherlands.
“Amsterdam is very small and flat, but most cities in the rest of the world are very hilly and can be really hot in the summer, and the distances are much further,” he said. “But those limitations really
change completely when you have electric bikes.”
Once seen by consumers as unreliable, expensive and ugly, battery-powered bikes are now one of the fastest-growing forms of urban transportation. With simplified designs, new corporate and government incentive policies and more awareness about the environmental benefits of cycling versus driving, VanMoof estimates industry sales will hit $46 billion by 2026, double pre-pandemic predictions.
Changes to urban transportation prompted by the coronavirus pandemic can be seen around the world, with commuters having abandoned public transit because of COVID fears. Paris roads are crowded with cyclists taking advantage of new bike lanes and lower automobile speed limits. Berlin is building a cycling “superhighway” across the city. And in New York, home to the largest urban bike network in the nation, ridership soared so much, there was even a problem finding places to park a bicycle.
世界各地都能夠見到新冠病毒大流行所引起的城市交通變化，通勤者因擔心新冠病毒而放棄公共運輸。巴黎的道路上擠滿了騎自行車的人，他們利用新的自行車道與更低的汽車速限。柏林正在修建一條橫貫城市的自行車「超級高速公路」。在擁有全美最大城市自行車網的紐約，騎車的人激增，甚至連找地方停放自行車都成了問題。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/6705349