Firstly the laws around bicycles and ebike are not the same in every country, state and city. Just because the law where you are restricts you in some way that does not make it true for people living elsewhere. The legal/practical viability of ebikes is going to vary from place to place.
Secondly many posters are thinking of ebikes as only bicycles with a small motor added, which is the most common type in Western cities but most ebikes in China, which the original article refers to, do not have peddles, they are scooter styled. If you saw one in a western city you would likely assume that it was a gas power Vespa or similar, not an ebike. The reason the scooter format is more common that the bicycle style is the load carrying capacity, you can put you shopping on the deck in front of the seat and more in the compartment under the seat. Of course the load carrying capabilities do get a abused in China. Often saw four people on one and loads that were oversized. Watched one girl transporting a wardrobe fall off when the wardrobe, laid horizontally over the desk, dug into the ground on a corner.