In 2019, 15 billion kilometers were cycled in the Netherlands, and according to Kolitzky, this will now be more than that. The Mobility Knowledge Center estimates that 40 percent of these bike kilometers are electric. “Then you end up with about 45 GWh of electricity needed for that. Whereas a regular bike is the simplest, most healthy, energy-friendly way to get around.”
To generate this amount of electricity without gas, coal or oil, seven large wind turbines (3 megawatts) will have to be running on the ground by 2025 to power bikes. “The bottom line is that you can power a small county town like Harlingen (15,800 people) if normal healthy people start pedaling again,” says Kolitzky. He wrote an opinion piece at NRC on the subject, which caused a lot of uproar on the Internet.
An error occurred in this opinion piece with the director of Fietsersbond, Esther van Garderen. “I’ve had feedback from people who feel hurt because, for example, they have rheumatism and so can’t circulate normally.”
Furthermore, the Fietsersbond director sees the e-bike as an obvious nitrogen and climate solution, provided the government discourages the car and builds good fast bike paths. “If we’re going to shy away from e-bikes, I think: Let’s start with the car. Ten kilometers on an e-bike results in three kilos of CO2 emissions, but with a 65-kilogram car, one kilo is a normal bike.”
Erik Koletzki also points out that he’s not against the e-bike. “People who you can’t tell if they have something wrong or who have difficulty walking can, of course, ride an e-bike.” He is primarily concerned with the hip character of the electric bike and the ease with which he decides to purchase an e-bike. “Many young and healthy people pass on these e-bikes. But if cycling is healthy and we all get too heavy in Holland and we have to do more exercise: just go cycling!”