In the United States, the trend in automobile development seems to lean towards larger, heavier vehicles, exemplified by the EV Tesla Cybertruck, infamous for its senseless and unappealing design. In contrast, Europe is adopting a more thoughtful and sustainable approach to transportation.

The emphasis in Europe is on prioritising green and sustainable modes of transportation. A significant effort is being made to enhance the already advanced bicycle infrastructure, and we see manufacturers regularly introducing sleek e-bikes and innovative cargo bikes. This shift towards eco-friendly alternatives aligns with a broader strategy to reduce environmental impact.

As discussed in previous articles on the Newton-Rider blog, the need for increased bicycle infrastructure goes beyond simply adding more bike lanes. The focus is also on creating wider bike lanes, a crucial step that requires reducing the presence of cars in densely populated urban areas. A recent decision by Parisians on February 4th. further underscores this point, as they voted to discourage large SUVs by tripling their parking fees.

Paris resident Henri Duret has little sympathy for SUVs.
"They are a symbol of another era ..., a symbol of crushing others. Because it's a heavier car, it consumes more fuel and therefore pollutes more. So I think it's normal to tax them more," he said to Reuters journalists.

However, the European approach does not merely involve replacing combustion engine cars with electric vehicles. There is a growing realisation that this transition alone is insufficient and, in some cases, counterproductive. The focus, instead, is on embracing alternatives that make cultural and consumer sense.

An insightful article by FT's Simon Kuper argues that electric cars are not the future; rather, e-bikes make more cultural and consumer sense. In Paris, Kuper mentions, only one in three households owns a car, and even in January, cycle paths are bustling with activity. Kuper highlights that bikes often outpace cars in the city, emphasising the cultural shift towards more sustainable and efficient modes of transportation.

This European perspective challenges the conventional notion of electric cars as the sole solution, emphasising the importance of embracing diverse and culturally fitting alternatives like e-bikes to truly transform urban mobility.

febbraio 05, 2024 — The Newton-Rider team

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