The Evolution of Electric Bicycle Design & Technology. Industry Review by Top Secret EV a Leader in Light Electric Vehicle Technologies.
San Francisco, CA, May 23, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- When we meet someone who hasn't seen an electric bicycle in a while, we pull out our mobile phone – not to make a call, but to make a point.
Today's electric bikes are sleek and stylish, as high-performance as they are environmentally friendly. For commuting or recreation, consumers can get a long-range, long-lasting e-bike at a reasonable price. A range choice of great products is available for every lifestyle.
It wasn't always this way. If you're a longstanding independent bike dealer or bicycle enthusiast, you might have tried e-bikes a decade or so ago – with mixed results.
Times change. New technological advances have made electric bikes faster, lighter, less expensive and more fun that ever.
If you've seen the new e-bikes, you don't need us to tell you this. If you haven't, or if you're not yet convinced, here are some reasons why now is an exciting time for the e-bike category.
Let's start with some history. One of the first mass produced e-bikes in the U.S. was the EV Warrior bike, which came out in the mid-1990s. The EV Warrior was outfitted with a friction-drive rack motor and a couple of 12-volt motorcycle starter batteries.
This e-bike was a tank. It weighed in at about 90 pounds, under ideal conditions, the range was less than 10 miles at a lightning-fast 12 miles per hour. Once you exhausted battery, the rider faced a battery charge time of eight hours. The battery life expectancy was under 200 charge cycles.
But if someone wanted an electric bike, this was what you got.
Around the same time Apple Computer was introducing the Powerbook 5300 series laptop. This cutting-edge machine sported a blazing-fast 100-megahertz processor, a robust eight megabytes of RAM and a 500-megabyte hard drive. You could spend a full two-and-a-half hours of battery life basking in the warm, greenish glow of that 9.5 inch gray-scale screen. Best of all, it was the first laptop to be sold under three inches thick and weighed a mere seven pounds.
It was heavy, cumbersome, and slow. But if you needed a portable computer, this was what you got.
This is where the mobile phone comes in.
Today, the average smartphone would crush the original Powerbook in terms of performance – and it fits in your shirt pocket.
A strikingly similar evolution has occurred in electric bikes. Consumers now have more, better options than ever before.
These days, a bike that weighs half as much as the old warhorse goes farther, faster, safer and easier. The e-bikes last longer and are simpler to service. Maybe best of all from a dealer and consumer perspective, the price point has come down significantly as well.
What makes this possible? Keen attention to technological advances, with better motors and better batteries, we all get better e-bikes.
High-capacity lithium ion battery packs coupled with efficient hub motors, we are seeing e-bikes operate with a top speed of 20+ miles per hour with a real-life user range of up to 30 miles. Batteries take a few hours to charge instead of all day.
For an example, compare the EV Warrior of yesteryear to Biruni Bike’s Cargo e-bike. At less than 60 pounds, the Biruni is a “Light Duty" Cargo e-bike: The perfect replacement to your second family car.
With a real range of 25+ miles, it can go nearly three times as far as its ancestor carrying a full cargo load – more than enough for even the hardiest bike commuter. Its high-efficiency motor and alloy frame make it much more durable, too, at a price hundreds less.
A major advantage that today's e-bikes enjoy is cutting-edge battery technology. The average lithium ion battery pack life expectancy for the Biruni Cargo e-bike is well over 500 charge cycles at 80 percent of original capacity, about 1000 cycles overall.
With gas prices skyrocketing and environmental awareness increasing, green transportation is growing in popularity and importance. People are turning to Light Electric Vehicles (LEV’s) for lots of reasons: environmental, economic, or just to get a head start on the future. More and more urban commuters are turning to electric bicycles as a solution, since technical advances have made this choice more sensible than ever.
The point is, consumers have different needs and rider expectations. In our 10+ years working with electric bikes, we've made huge strides toward providing consumers with the products that best fit their lifestyles.
When we show people our mobile phone, what we are really showing them is what's possible. It's an exciting time to be in the electric bicycle industry – and it's only getting better…