Photo: Could solar power be the future of electric bicycles? The large solar panel mounted over the back wheel of this experimental bike powers an electric motor connected by a chain drive to the back wheel, helping the rider when he doesn't feel like pedaling. Using clean, green solar power would remove the problem of having to charge electric bikes with electricity generated from fossil fuels—and help to extend their range significantly. Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of US DOE/NREL.
Did you know that electric bikes can be used for fitness training? Or that they have been scientifically proven to increase the amount of cycling people do? Or that they have proven health and fitness benefits? Well, it’s all true! Apart from being tons of fun, ebikes can be used to improve health and fitness in many ways. Here are our top posts about how ebikes can improve your health and fitness.
Electric bicycles have two main methods of operation: pedal-assist and/or throttle-control. As the name implies, pedal-assist “assists” your pedaling and requires some input. With this method, a torque sensor picks up movement or stress to determine the power requirements of the rider. Everything is automated so there’s nothing to think about, just jump on and start riding. Some bikes have multiple settings, while others have just one setting with the addition of a throttle control. Depending on the setting, pedal-assistance can help a little – or a lot. At lower settings, pedal-assist is barely noticeable but helps extend your range. At higher settings, the power is quite obvious and feels like a strong wind at your back with the motor doing most of the work while you pedal along.
In principle, you would use about 100W (your own energy) for moderate pedalling at 22km/h. If you select 300% assistance (high), that will add another 300W and you can pedal almost twice as fast, i.e. about 27km/h (you will encounter increasing resistance from wind). Therefore, if you got a 400Wh battery, you got a range of about 37km at 37km/h. If go more slowly and use less support (200%), then you can drive further, e.g. 60km with a 400Wh battery. (Read more in die Die Schnellen im Vergleich)
Maryland defines an "electric bicycle" as a vehicle that (1) is designed to be operated by human power with the assistance of an electric motor, (2) is equipped with fully operable pedals, (3) has two or three wheels, (4) has a motor with a rating of 500 watts or less, (5) and is capable of a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour on a level surface when powered by the motor. (Senate Bill 379, approved by the Governor 5/5/2014, Chapter 294.)  This legislation excludes "electric bicycle" from the definition of "moped", "motorized minibike", and "motor vehicle", and removes the titling and insurance requirements required for electric bicycles under prior Maryland law.
Several bills have been sponsored to legalize electric bicycles for use on NYS roads, and several have overwhelmingly passed at the committee level, but none of these initiatives has been able to be heard and then passed in the New York State Senate, until 2015. The latest bill S3997, "An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the definition of electric assisted bicycle. Clarifying the vehicle and traffic law to define electric assisted bicycles; establish that electric assisted bicycles, as defined, are bicycles, not motor vehicles; and establish safety and operational criteria for their use." has passed in the Senate for the first time ever in 2015. The related Assembly bill A233 was not brought to a vote in the assembly even though it had passed with little issue in prior years.
The Wavecrest Tidalforce M-750 was based on The original military experimental M-313 model had a 1000 watt electric hub motor mounted into the rear wheel of a folding Montague Bicycles Paratrooper Bicycle frame and a 36 volt battery pack mounted into the front wheel hub. The later commercial versions had speed restrictions to comply with federal law with 750 watt restrictions (500 watts maximum in the Canadian version) but had 1000 watt unresricted speed as an add on option. The M-313/M-750X was the first electric bike to be made and tested by Wavecrest labs. It is based on a design developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that was meant to allow zero-heat long distance troop movements for the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan.
Artwork: Hub motors aren't the only way to power electric bicycle wheels. If you've ever watched a mouse scampering around inside an exercise wheel, you might have wondered if you could drive a wheel electrically, in a similar way, with something that pushes against the inside of the rim. A company called GeoOrbital has been developing an ingenious mechanical equivalent that can be used to power conventional bikes—and here's a simplified illustration of how it works. It has a motorized drive roller (red) that presses against the inner rim, powered by a battery pack (orange) that sits snugly inside the wheel. Two guide rollers (blue) mounted on a tensioned framework (green) take the place of the conventional arrangement of spokes. According to GeoOrbital, you can fit one of its wheels to a normal bike in just 60 seconds.
We are kicking off this series with a quick look at Keith Forbes. Keith showed up unannounced at our shop a year and a half ago, asking if there may be any work opportunities as he was considering a move to Vancouver from Trinidad and had something of a personal interest in transportation technology. We'll let the video show what he's been up to since then!
The electric bike revolution has officially crossed into the arena of off-road motorbikes. For those who prefer riding in nature, Cake introduced a product which not only respects the environment but other riders, as well. Cake’s Kalk is a silent off-road motorbike that releases no emissions into the atmosphere. Additionally, its electric motor means no gear changing or clutching — a silent motorbike that won’t detract from the experience of others. Perhaps the best part is Cake avoided any sacrifice in performance. The Kalk reaches speeds of fifty miles per hour and features three distinct driving modes: Discover, Explore, and Excite.
Knowing which folding electric bike is right for you is mostly a matter of knowing how far you need to take it on a single charge and how much room you have to store it. Pay close attention to how far its electric motor can take you at its top speed, and keep in mind that if you work more than 20 miles from home, and your electric bike can go 18 before you need to start pedaling your butt off, you might have been better off investing in something with a little more range. Along similar lines, if the bike you choose folds up to a size that doesn’t quite fit at your desk, then you’re going to need to find another place to store it that has access to an outlet (you’ll need a charge to ride back home, after all), and that could become a nuisance for your coworkers, or even a fire hazard if you put it in the wrong place.
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