Electric Bicycle

Published : 01-01-2015 by : Prabir Pati

Rating: 4/5 (86 votes)

An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion. There are a great variety of different types of e-bikes available worldwide, from e-bikes that only have a small motor to assist the rider's pedal-power (i.e. pedelecs) to somewhat more powerful e-bikes which tend closer to moped-style functionality: all however retain the ability to be pedalled by the rider and are therefore not electric motorcycles. E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter varieties can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on the laws of the country in which they are sold, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles, while in others, such as China, they are replacing fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles.

Depending on local laws, many e-bikes (e.g. pedelecs) are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles, so they are not subject to the more stringent laws regarding their certification and operation, unlike the more powerful two-wheelers which are often classed as electric motorcycles. E-bikes can also be defined separately and treated as a specific vehicle type in many areas of legal jurisdiction. E-bikes are the electric motor-powered versions of motorized bicycles which have been around since the late 19th century.

In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within various U.S. patents. For example, on 31 December 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle with “6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel.” There were no gears and the motor could draw up to 100 amperes (A) from a 10-volt battery. Two years later, in 1897, Hosea W. Libbey of Boston invented an electric bicycle (U.S. Patent 596,272) that was propelled by a “double electric motor.” The motor was designed within the hub of the crankset axle. This model was later re-invented and imitated in the late 1990s by Giant Lafree e-bikes.

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