What is an electric bike?
Power-assisted or E bikes have the pedals as the main form of propulsion with the motor used to give a bit of extra power, especially uphill. Many motorized bicycles are based on standard bicycle frame designs and technologies, although the modifications to the design to support motorization may be extensive or purpose built as in the case of the Ultra Motor A2B.
In the United States a motorized bicycle or LEV (light electric vehicles) is defined as having a top speed of no more than 20 mph and the electric motor power rating of no more than 750 watts. They are not considered motor vehicles by the federal government and are subject to the same consumer safety laws as unassisted bicycles. Their legality on public roads is under state jurisdiction, and varies; see the main Electric bicycle laws article for details on the law in individual states.
Electric bicycle history
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
By 2001 the terms, E-Bikes, power bike, pedelec, assisted bicycle and
power-assisted bicycle where commonly used to describe electric
bicycles. E-bike, according to Google, is a term that has increased in
trend. This term generally referred to an electric bicycle which used a
The modern electric bicycle is true to the concept of a pedal bicycle with assisting propulsion, being ridable without power. Batteries have finite capacity, which means that the hybrid human / electric power mix is much more likely to be emphasized than is the case with a combustion engine. Electric bicycles are gaining acceptance, especially in Europe and Asia, in response to increasing traffic congestion, an aging population and concern about the environment.Types of electric assist
Electric motorized bicycles can be power-on-demand, where the motor is activated by a handlebar mounted throttle, and/or a Pedelec, a European term that generally refers to an electric bicycle that incorporates a torque and/or a speed sensor and/or a power controller that delivers a proportionate level of assist and only activates when the rider is pedaling. Ohm BionX and the Ultra Motor A2B Hybrid electric bikes uses this type of technology. These have a sensor to detect the pedaling speed, the pedaling force, or both. An electronic controller provides assistance as a function of the sensor inputs, the vehicle speed and the required force. Most controllers also provide for manual adjustment as in the Ohm and BionX.
Electric bike conversion Converting conventionally powered bikes to electric assist is also increasingly
common. Kits are available with or with out batteries, front or rear wheel drive, and come laced to common size wheels, 20",24",26" or 700c. We can even have custom wheel sizes laced to any type of hub motor. The most common voltage used is 36v and a motor with a nominal 500w, peak 750w power rating. Converting a conventional bike to electric assist can be accomplished by a mechanically inclined individual in about 1.5 hrs for a rear wheel and 1 hr or less for a front wheel conversion. Front wheel kits run about $330 with out batteries, $475 with a lead acid battery. LifePo (lithium) batteries can add another $550 + depending on the capacity of the battery (amp/hr. rating). The important thing to remember in doing a conversion is that the axle for the electric motor must not be mounted to a cast aluminum drop out. Due to the high torque developed by the electric motor these types of drop outs can crack and snap. Also having disc brakes front and rear is recommended due to the potential for higher speed and quicker acceleration. If you are unsure about doing the conversion yourself have our qualified technicians at The Green Commuter perform the conversion.
Federal laws concerning E-bikes, States must follow
The Green Commuter is and advocate for using E-bikes safely and legally. It is the buyer's responsibility to check the local laws in his or her home state and the District of Columbia concerning helmet laws. And as always, wear a helmet!
On December 4, 2002, the 107th Congress voted upon, and passed H.R. Bill 727. This bill defined a low-speed electric bicycle as any bicycle with fully operable pedals, an electric motor not to exceed 750 Watts (1 H.P.) and a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 mph. The bill would later become Public Law PL107-319 and be signed into law by President George Bush on December 9, 2002. Simply put, the only laws that apply to electric bikes are those that apply to conventional bicycles.
The following are Federal law guidelines.
Electric Bicycle Regulations
LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC BICYCLES
Does an electric bicycle fit your lifestyle?
Your answers to these questions show how well an electric bicycle fits your lifestyle.
Of the errands run by family members, how many are
miles of home?
How many people over the age of 15 live in your
Do you want to get more exercise?
Do you want to do more for our environment?
Do you own a bicycle?
How much do you participate or volunteer in your
Do you want a simpler lifestyle?
Is saving money on transportation costs important
Do you set an example for others? Do you invest
Are you concerned about another oil embargo or
Does local traffic congestion cause you stress?
How many miles between your home and work?
Are there adults without driving licenses in the
How likely is it that you could replace one of
your cars with
an electric bike?
Why do people choose to ride an electric bike? Because they: