In the past few years there has been quite a bit of press about the explosion of ebike use in mainland China. Extrapolations are made to how this might solve transportation problems in the US, but an analysis of what happened in China is in order.
Some have noted that ebikes have been encouraged by the Chinese government and that they fill an entry level niche for non-human powered transit. Chi-Jen Yang of Duke makes several interesting points (pdf) including the fact that many Chinese cities severely restricted motorcycles and scooters while no one enforced standards for ebikes. The motorcycle bans created a vacuum and ebikes were the only solution.
In Taiwan the government tried to promote ebikes with subsidies but changing consumer behavior has been difficult and ebike sales are low - people prefer bicycles for some modes of transit and motorcycles for others.
Yang goes on to speculate on the acceptance of EVs and PHEVs based on what has happened to ebikes in Taiwan and China...
Extrapolating the artificial success of Chinese ebikes to the US is problematic. Ebikes are seen as expanding the bicycle niche, but in the US bikes are largely used for recreation as bicycle infrastructure is hostile in fact and perception in most areas. Changing a single component of a complex system is not sufficient to dramatically change consumer behavior.