The electric bicycle market is booming in Japan, with national firms Sanyo, Yamaha, Bridgestone, Miyata and Panasonic in a five-way race to create “e-bikes” that are light, travel further on a single charge, and meet the design needs of every demographic.

See more examples of the electric bike boom in Japan
This has resulted in technologically advanced, lithium-ion battery-powered models such as Bridgestone’s rugged RealStream electric mountain bike, which can sense the amount of strain and deliver power accordingly; Panasonic’s Lithium ViVi RX-10S town bike which charges up the battery life each time you brake; and Sanyo’s Eneloop CY-SPK227, which features regenerative braking and folds down to a fraction of its size, so it can be easily taken on public transport or carried into the office.
Although these e-bikes have greatly reduced carbon footprints compared to cars, recharging its batteries still requires electricity. To solve this problem, Sanyo has ingeniously set up the first solar-powered bicycle-recharging stand stocked with its Eneloop e-bikes in Tokushima this year. Local government workers in the city, population 260,000, can run errands on the e-bikes that tap the sun’s rays to keep their batteries charged. No emissions, no sweat.