One of the things we picked up at Interbike 2009 is a brochure from Giant about their "Hybrid" bicycles. I'm going to paraphrase what they say about why their hybrid bicycle is not an electric bicycle and why it's offending me. I wonder what others think?
They say "Giant's hybrid bicycles are not electric" and then go on to explain that electric bicycles are really motorcycles. That in most cases the electric bicycle has a motor in the rear, you jump on, twist the throttle, no pedaling, and you just go. They go on to explain that they're usually highly inefficient, the motor is under powered, the battery is older technology, and because of that the components are overstressed. High cost of upkeep, poor range, portly weights, "electric bicycles should be viewed as a thing of the past".
If they mean the scooterbikes then I'd agree with them. Those aren't bicycles really, the shape is of a scooter and the pedals are usually an ineffectual addon that's there for legal purposes. But there are a ton of electric bicycles that are perfectly fine for pedaling or throttle, are efficient, use modern battery technology, etc. There were several perfectly fine electric bicycles on display at Interbike.
Their "hybrid" bicycle is properly called a Pedelec. It senses your pedaling and only adds power when you pedal, amplifying your pedaling. From their description they have a well designed control system that has some really good features to it. The design sense is good and the bicycle looks nice. Unfortunately I didn't see them at the show and didn't take a test ride.