It will sound somewhat futuristic. However, e-bikes are a surprisingly one of those vintage generational technologies. The start-ups were filed in the late 1800s and early nineties, but it took a century for advances in battery technology to make them commercially feasible. It first happened in China, which is as we all know the birth city of all technological instruments, then Europe, and now, slowly and gradually, in the United States (Learn more about ‘Electric Bicycle‘).
With that, let us take a motor-assisted spin.
36.8 million: These were the estimated e-bike sales in China in 2015
40.1 million: Assessed total global e-bikes sales in 2015
2 million: Projected e-bike sales in Europe in 2015
37%: Percentage of China’s lead-acid battery market fervent to e-bikes in 2011
5,100 miles in 34 days: The Guinness World Record for an e-biking set in the US in 2016
91%: Percentage of North American e-bike proprietors who ride daily or weekly
$1,000–$6,000: Series of prices on Prevalent Mechanics’ best e-bikes list
0.1%: The fraction of energy disbursed by an e-bike in comparison to a small electric car
10 volts: The size of the battery that motorized the first patented e-bike, in 1895 Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
How E-bikes Work
There are two main types of e-bikes. There are the Pedelecs, short for “electric pedal cycle,” that are low-powered e-bikes. They give an electrified boost when you pedal. Then there are the throttle-controlled bikes which do not require any pedaling—lucky for you these go (Read more about ‘How do Electric Bikes Work‘).
How to Ride an E-Bike
However, with the world changing rapidly that could be changing, especially in the US, if e-bike startups get their way. Companies like Jump (purchased in April), Motivate (sponsored by Lyft in July), and Lime are toiling day and night, summer and winter to make shared electric-assist bikes available to more riders in the US (Read this article ‘The Future of Transport‘).
1895: The well-known Ohio inventor Ogden Bolton Jr. is contracted US patent #552271A for an “electric bicycle.” It includes a battery suspended from the bike frame.
1897: Humber, a motorcycle company, generates an electric tandem bike.
1932: Electronics company Philips and bike company Simplex team up to develop the first commercial e-bike.
1991: The development of a commercial, rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers the lightweight power that e-bikes require to take off.
1993: Yamaha creates the first mass-producible mid-drive e-bike, which is also known as a crank-drive, this style of e-bike powers the bike through the chain drive, instead of sitting directly on the wheel.
2002: US Congress outlines the low-speed electric bicycle as a “two- or three-wheeled vehicle with wholly operational pedals and an electric motor of fewer than 750 watts.” The maximum speed permitted without pedaling is 20 mph.
2018: Start-ups like Lime and Jump set up fleets of shared electric bicycles across US cities. Upon observing the potential, ride-hail company Uber purchases Jump and partners with Lime.
The Hot Question
So, How Far Will This Whole E-Bike Trend Go?
The Shock of the New