Electric bicycle range reaching the 100 mile mark
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.
Please keep comments to less than 150 words. No abusive material or spam will be published.
Oh, and if your 50cc moped doesn\'t actually have pedals on it? Then it\'s a motorcycle in New Jersey and brings with it all of the additional requirements and license restrictions. The downside of NJ classifying most anything as a motorcycle is that I could take the driving test for a motorcycle license on a 50cc scooter with automatic transmission and receive a license that allows me to go right out and buy/ride a chopper or a Ducati Monster sportsbike. We\'re probably not the only part of the world that\'s going to need to reform a lot of archaic laws in order to be ready for the coming electric/two/three wheel vehicle explosion.
Pedaling to work isn\'t doable as one tends to smell by noon if any distance so all electric except starting is the way to go. BTDT. Having to pedal to get EV push just complicates things, raises cost.
A good e-bike takes about 20wthrs/mile so figure 80% of your battery in wthrs and divide by 20 and you get about the range.
For a reliable low cost EV, weld a MC seat to front end to a Golfcart seat to rear, put on bigger VW Rabbit or trailer rims and car tires, change the batteries from 6v to 12vdc and you get a nice 45mph 3 seat EV MC.
I built mine for $150 but I\'m a good scrounger. It costs me $2/wk/$100/yr for tag, batteries and electricity, getting 600mpg equivalent.
The bikes themselves are brilliant - if you\'re even remotely interested you should take a test ride. Available in the States via www.kalkhoffusa.com and in the UK through my company, www.50cycles.com
@flibb: An alternator will retrieve less than 5% of the power. Some companies have used the motor itself as an alternator, this is called regenerative braking (also seen in electric cars). The main benefit of regenerative braking is the safety aspect, not really the energy saving as it is so little. The main energy saver in an electric bike is the pedaling.
In much of the USA it is not safe to ride a bicycle as they are forced to use the same streets as cars and trucks and diesel powered buses. Often it is not even legal to use a bicycle on many cities streets. US cities provide free or low cost and therefore heavily subsidized motor vehicle storage on their streets taking up as much as 50% of the available roadway. So even parked cars are given a higher priority than people using a bicycle. The more people pollute with their chosen mode of transportation the more they are favored with our current transportation system in the USA.
As long as it is unsafe and often illegal to use anything other than a car to navigate the roads in the USA and so long as they are always shared by cars with their inattentive drivers eating a meal, texting, and chit chatting, while they drive, any type of bicycle whether powered by a leg power or an electric motor is going to be a novelty item.