Remember when the Segway was launched in 2001? The company proclaimed that it was going to revolutionize personal transportation, but... well, although Segways are still around, they’re hardly a common sight. What could soon be a common sight, however, are electric bicycles. While a variety of styles were on display at this year’s Eurobike show, commuting ebikes were by far the most common. An electric drive makes sense on a commuter – you still get some exercise and don’t have to register it as a scooter, yet you also don’t arrive at your destination all hot and sweaty. As with all electric vehicles, however, range is always an issue. That is now being addressed, however, with ebikes that can travel up to 160 kilometers (99.4 miles) on one charge. If your commute is longer than that, you really might want to consider, you know... driving.
The tradeoff with batteries has always been one of weight vs. range. Batteries with less cells tend to be lighter and less expensive, so they’re generally the way to go, unless you want to travel longer distances. German manufacturer Kalkhoff has kept this in mind with its new line of ebikes, which was presented at this year’s show. The bicycles are available with your choice of an 8, 12 or 18 amp-hour battery. Riders who just use their bike for popping up to the store could go with the 8, while more serious riders could get up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) out of the 18.
Giant bicycles is employing a similar strategy with its 2011 Twist ebike. Instead of swapping batteries, however, the rider can add a second one, to extend their range up to 160 kilometers. This figure has, not surprisingly, been disputed in at least one review.View gallery - 2 images