Pedal power gives UNE the edge


The University of New England, the major sponsor of this year’s Sustainable Living Expo (SLEX) held at the Armidale Creeklands, demonstrated its commitment to sustainable initiatives for students today when it unveiled new electric bikes that will be available to students in 2011.

The “e-bikes” will offer an alternative mode of transport for students on and around campus and will be available for short or long-term rental from Semester 1 next year.

UNE’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Peter Enlund, used the official opening of SLEX today to launch the new transport initiative which he said would promote sustainable living and contribute to students’ healthy lifestyles while studying at UNE.

“A vital part of our sustainability strategy at UNE is the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle on campus,” Mr Enlund said. “UNE is always looking at ways to enhance our students’ on-campus experience, which is consistently rated among the best in Australia.

“These e-bikes are a unique addition to campus life and will provide a reliable, safe, and cost-effective means of getting around. Students will be able to use these e-bikes as an alternative mode of transport to get to lectures and tutorials. And when a break from campus life is required, a trip to town will be more affordable and enjoyable.”

The “Challenger” e-bikes operate as regular bicycles until the rider kicks in the rechargeable battery-powered motor to reach speeds of up to 27 kilometres per hour for up to 50 kilometres of cycling.

“The real environmental advantage is the fact that these bikes are practically emissions-neutral,” Mr Enlund said. “A quick charge on the 200W battery charger is all it takes for a fully electric mode of transport.”

The benefits of acquiring these e-bikes will be further realised through UNE’s Master Plan, which will include the establishment of a major bicycle network with clearly marked off-road cycling lanes to connect campus precincts.

“We aim to create an integrated transport network that promotes the use of public transport, walking and cycling as the primary modes of movement across campus and into Armidale,” Mr Enlund said. “UNE is proud to be able to launch these e-bikes today as part of SLEX to champion incentives that meet our commitment to environmental responsibility,” he said.