“Electric bike” and “eBike” redirect here. For electrically powered motorcycles, see Electric motorcycles and scooters.
Fat Tire Electric Bike by Ensey Motorized Bikes
HOTEBIKE Trail Tracker electric bike
A mountain bike styled e-bike: a Cyclotricity Stealth
A futuristic-style e-bike: nCycle (2014) designed by Hussain Almossawi & Marin Myftiu.
A moped-style e-bike: an A2B Bicycles Ultramotor metro/octave
E-bike charging station, Germany
Xmera Electric Bike
An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike or ebike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor used to assist propulsion. Many kinds of e-bikes are available worldwide, but they generally fall into two broad categories: bikes that assist the rider’s pedal-power (i.e. pedelecs) and bikes that add a throttle, integrating moped-style functionality. Both retain the ability to be pedaled by the rider and are therefore not electric motorcycles.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and typically travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph). High-powered varieties can often travel more than 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany as of 2013, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles, while in others, such as China as of 2010, 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. This exempts them from the more stringent laws regarding the certification and operation of more powerful two-wheelers which are often classed as electric motorcycles. E-bikes can also be defined separately and treated under distinct Electric bicycle laws.
E-bikes are the electric motor-powered versions of motorized bicycles, which have been in use since the late 19th century. Some bicycle-sharing systems use them.
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.
A bike equipped with an after market electric hub motor conversion kit, with the battery pack placed on the rear carrier rack
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. 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.
Torque sensors and power controls were developed in the late 1990s. For example, Takada Yutky of Japan filed a patent in 1997 for such a device. In 1992 Vector Services Limited offered and sold an e-bike dubbed Zike. The bicycle included NiCd batteries that were built into a frame member and included an 850 g permanent-magnet motor. Despite the Zike, in 1992 hardly any commercial e-bikes were available.
Yamaha, a Japanese automotive giant built one of the early prototypes of e-bike back in 1989 and invented the pedal assist system in 1993.
Production grew from 1993 to 2004 by an estimated 35%. By contrast, according to Gartner, in 1995 regular bicycle production decreased from its peak 107 million units.
American car icon, Lee Iacocca founded EV Global motors in 1997, a company that produced an electric bicycle model named E-bike SX and it was one of the early efforts to popularize e-bikes in the United States.
Some of the less expensive e-bikes used bulky lead acid batteries, whereas newer models generally used NiMH, NiCd, and/or Li-ion batteries, which offered lighter, denser capacity batteries. Performance varies; however, in general there is an increase in range and speed with the latter battery types.
electric bicycle hub motor
By 2001 the terms e-bike, power bike, “pedelec”, pedal-assisted, and power-assisted bicycle were commonly used to refer to e-bikes. The terms “electric motorbike” or “e-motorbike” refer to more powerful models that attain up to 80 km/h (50 mph).
In a parallel hybrid motorized bicycle, such as the aforementioned 1897 invention by Hosea W. Libbey, human and motor inputs are mechanically coupled either in the bottom bracket, the rear wheel, or the front wheel, whereas in a (mechanical) series hybrid cycle, the human and motor inputs are coupled through differential gearing. In an (electronic) series hybrid cycle, human power is converted into electricity and is fed directly into the motor and mostly additional electricity is supplied from a battery.
By 2007 e-bikes were thought to make up 10 to 20 percent of all two-wheeled vehicles on the streets of many major Chinese cities. A typical unit requires 8 hours to charge the battery, which provides the range of 25 to 30 miles (40 to 80km), at the speed of around 20 km/h.