At the end of the day, it’s probably best to spend as much as you can to get the bike with the most range that folds up the smallest. Once these puppies run out of juice, they tend to be much harder to pedal than their non-electric counterparts, mainly due to their increased weight, so keep an eye out for lighter models if you know you’re the type to overextend a biking trip. Other features to look out for include racks to help you carry important materials, charging time, and, of course, safety implements like lights and reflectors.

By 1898 a rear-wheel drive electric bicycle, which used a driving belt along the outside edge of the wheel, was patented by Mathew J. Steffens. Also, the 1899 U.S. Patent 627,066 by John Schnepf depicted a rear-wheel friction “roller-wheel” style drive electric bicycle.[7] Schnepf's invention was later re-examined and expanded in 1969 by G.A. Wood Jr. with his U.S. Patent 3,431,994. Wood’s device used 4 fractional horsepower motors; connected through a series of gears.[8]
To qualify as an electric-assisted bicycle under state law they need to have a seat and fully operable pedals for human propulsion, meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, an electric motor that has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts, maximum speed of not more than 20 mph (electric motor and human power combined), disengages or ceases to function when the vehicle’s brakes are applied, two or three wheels