Self-driving cars, autonomous drones, and electric scooters are just some of the most innovative approaches offered in transportation market. eBikes, also known as electric bikes or booster bikes, are gaining market share in a crowded alternative transportation industry. eBikes were held back for years, because of the need for power-packed lightweight batteries.
In most areas, ebikes are legally classified as bicycles rather than being treated as motorcycles or mopeds, depending on the local laws.
Now, with new materials and battery technology, eBikes are taking off. They are taking over the sweetspot with people who want to bike a bit further than is comfortable without a little help, or on hilly terrain.
Also, new developments allow for pedal assist, where the rider provides a good portion of the power, and the battery just helps out, or they can be ridden by just sitting back and letting the motor do the work.
Just in time for the summer season, ebikes are gaining popularity across Europe. In Leitrim, a town in the north of Ireland, Seamus and Eileen Gibbons, brought eBikes to town five years ago. They are the founders of Electric Bike Trails, and have worked to popularize eBikes through the region.
For the first time, the couple has ventured into Northern Ireland, crossing the border on the newly established eBike trail. The trail is part of the new waterways Ireland Blueway activity hub in the town of Enniskillen.
According to Seamus, “eBikes are very simple and straight forward. They are the same as an ordinary bike, just that they have a battery and a motor. You pedal all the time, but it’s only a matter of turning the pedals. You have seven or eight gears, and three levels of assistance. If you put it in low gear and with a high assistance, you’ll climb up any mountain.”
eBikes have become popular in countries like the Netherlands and Germany. In the Netherlands, electric bike sales grew 24% to reach 276,000 last year. In Germany, the sale of eBikes grew 11% in 2015. The country has seen around 535,000 units sold.
The Electric Bike World Report has mentioned that for the year 2015, 35 million eBikes were sold. Most of the demand came from China, where bikes are still one of the most common forms of transportation in the cities and the countryside. China is also starting to replace fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles, with electric bikes and scooters.
Laws When It Come to Ebikes
In most areas, ebikes are legally classified as bicycles rather than being treated as motorcycles or mopeds, depending on the local laws. eBikes don’t usually require any extra certifications or permits over an ordinary bicycle.
There are places that have legislated electric bicycle laws in order to control the use of ebikes. Canada and the United States of America have federal regulations determining the standards of manufacture and safety requirements.
In Australia, Australian Vehicle Standards describe an ebikes as a bicycle that has a supplementary motor. Currently, all states in Australia decided that the vehicle does not need registration or licensing.
In Hong Kong, booster bikes are not allowed in public areas. They must first be considered as either a car, van, motorcycle, truck, bus, van or similar. eBikes are considered motorcycles in Hong Kong and they need an approval from the Transport Department.
In India, eBikes need to have an ARAI approval. But they do not require any certification.
In Israel, the maximum weight of eBikes should not exceed to 30 kilograms. People who are above 16 years old are allowed to use eBikes.
In the Philippines, according to the Land Transportation Office, ebikes do not require any registrations.
Most Popoular eBikes
eBikes have become a massive success and manufacturers are under pressure to develop specialized models. These models offer best performance and affordability. The following eBike companies are raising the bar:
- Pedego – develops and sells its own brand of booster bikes. Pedego is headquartered in Irvine, California. The eBikes that the company offers can be manually pedaled and are also electrically powered. The bikes reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Pedego’s products are the following:
- Interceptor Beach Cruiser
- Comfort Cruiser Beach Cruiser
- City Commuter Commuter Bike
- Boomerang Step-through Cruiser
- Tandem Cruiser Bike-for-Two
- Stretch Cargo Bike installed with front and back cargo area
- Trail Tracker Fat Tire All-Terrain Bike
- Ford Super Cruiser
- Ridge Rider Mountain Bike
- Latch foldable bike
- X-Treme – manufactures and sells electric scooters and bicycles. X-Treme has one of the biggest selections of light electric vehicles on the internet. They offer folding eBikes, cruisers, city commuters, and mountain bikes. Their eBikes range from $500 to $1500.
- IZIP – Founded in 2005, IZIP has over 10 years of experience when it comes to designing and developing electric bikes. The company, located in Southern California, is one of the biggest electric bike suppliers in the world. The company’s bikes are bright, with unique colors and stylish graphics.
- Specialized – Based in Morgan Hill, CA, Specialized was founded in 1974. Specialized is known for building bikes for specific purposes with high-end off the shelf parts from a variety of manufacturers, they manufacture non-electric as well as electric bikes. The price of their electric bikes goes up to $10,000.
- Rad Power – is a booster bike manufacturer that offers direct-to-consumer pricing. The bikes are designed by a team in Seattle. Rad Power specializes in electric bikes that are all-terrain. The company has become a trusted brand for a specialized niche market since 2007.
Benefits of Electric Bikes as a Mode of Transportation
Booster bikes have really important advantages over regular transportation. Even if the rider is already physically fit and exercise regularly, an electric bike can increase the range that can be covered by bicycle, and the ease, making it an ideal choice for travel and commuting that is just a little too far on a pedal-powered bike, or for hilly areas where a bit of assistance on the grades makes the difference between riding or not.
Some factors that make eBikes worth considering as part of the commuting mix;
- eBikes are environmentally friendly. They do not contribute to air pollution, noise pollution, or the greenhouse dilemma. eBikes, reduce the carbon footprint over many other forms of transportation.
- eBikes allow for longer distance travel with less effort and faster speed than most pedal-power bikes. (Sure, racers easily beat eBikes, but we are talking about average riders off to work or school) eBikes are also great for climbing hills.
- eBikes allow riders to go straight to their work, without the stress of being caught in the traffic or searching for parking.
eBikes are a combination of an electric scooter and a normal bicycle. The market for these bikes is growing very fast. If eBikes are part of the future, then apparently the future is now.