We build e-bikes because we firmly believe that they are the ideal means of transport in the city and therefore have the potential to replace cars there . Distances taken with e-bikes are generally slightly longer and are also covered more regularly than with conventional bikes. Users of e-bikes are also less affected by weather extremes, as the effort required with an e-bike is lower than with a conventional bike. The same effect ensures that people who would otherwise not be able to ride a bike due to health restrictions can also use an e-bike. We have the batteries to thank for all of these advantages. Scientific studies have now also come to this conclusion. They describe. that the savings potential of e-bikes for replacing cars is greater than that of conventional bicycles. (1)
The batteries of e-bikes and CO2 emissions
When it comes to batteries, most of the CO2 emissions arise during the manufacturing phase. This also applies to the batteries that we install in our SUSHI BIKES . The same applies to the entire e-bike. The longer you use and ride the bike , the better the carbon footprint of the battery becomes, and therefore of the entire BIKE . A study describes that between 41 and 89 kg of CO2e are generally emitted per kWh of battery power (2). For our battery, this means that between 9 and 20 kg of CO2e are emitted to produce the battery. If you expect a saving of 14kg/100km compared to the car, you would have to drive almost 200km with the SUSHI BIKE instead of the car to “offset” the emissions. You can usually do this in a month and with regular commuting .
The two biggest levers for improving the carbon footprint of batteries are the use of renewable energies in production and the use of recycled materials (3). More and more manufacturers are already relying on renewable energies in production. However, most batteries are still manufactured in China. Unfortunately, the electricity mix in China is still heavily influenced by coal, even though the largest expansion of renewable energies is taking place there. The EU, in turn, is committed to using recycled materials. It obliges battery manufacturers to use more recycled materials and in the future every battery should have a “passport”. This is intended to help the batteries be recycled or used for other purposes (4). We are already a member of the GRS recycling system. All of our batteries can also be returned to recycling centers, bicycle shops and to us. The batteries are then professionally recycled and returned to the cycle. In addition, more efficient production methods and new battery compositions that are less harmful to the environment are constantly being developed. By using standard battery cells, we are so well positioned that we can quickly switch if there is a better alternative on the market.
What does this mean for our SUSHI BIKE?
Our e-bike battery is smaller, making the entire bike a little more environmentally friendly than comparable e-bikes with a larger battery. The battery accounts for between 16% and 24% of the emissions from e-bikes (5.6) and the battery capacity plays a significant role in the emissions of the batteries. Our battery contains approximately 18g cobalt and approximately 20g lithium. These two metals are essential for batteries. However, their mining is regularly criticized for either environmental reasons (lithium) or human rights reasons (cobalt).
Batteries and human rights
An Amnesty International report from 2017 drew widespread attention to the issue of human rights violations in cobalt mining. Since then, large mine operators and automobile companies in particular have professionalized mining in large industrial mines. But here too, incidents occur again and again (7) and, above all, the cobalt from the large industrial mines is often mixed with cobalt from small-scale mining mines. This is one of the reasons why we are an active member of the Fair Cobalt Alliance, which is, by the way , the only e-bike brand to date . You can find out more about our commitment to the Fair Cobalt Alliance here. We are currently considering whether to expand our existing commitment to consumption-related donations. In addition to our contributions, we would purchase credits that would support local projects worth our cobalt needs. Our batteries mainly use Samsung battery cells; the relevant certificates can be found here. (8th)
Long live the battery - what you can do about it
If you want to have an impact during use, you can influence this through correct charging and the electricity used for charging. Basically, of course, the longer you use the battery, the better it is for the environment. The e-bike battery lasts longer if you use and charge it correctly. A charge level between 20 and 80 percent is most ideal. You should also avoid extreme temperatures, especially when storing. You can find more information about using and storing your e-bike in winter here. In addition, the current with which you charge the battery naturally influences the carbon footprint of the battery and therefore of the entire SUSHI BIKE. It's best to always charge it with green electricity, but the German electricity mix is also becoming increasingly environmentally friendly.
(1) E-Bikes and their capability to reduce car CO2 emissions - ScienceDirect
(2) Future greenhouse gas emissions from automotive lithium-ion battery cell production - ScienceDirect
(3) Life cycle assessment of power batteries used in electric bikes - ScienceDirect
(4) Circular and safe batteries enters force 2023 - Environmet.ec.europa.eu
(5) Pedelection - ifeu.de
(6) On the way to a sustainable future - Bosch Press
(7) Ev Cobalt Mines Congo - Washingtonpost.com
(8) Supply Chain Responsibility - samsunsdi.com