Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
reikiman
reikiman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 17:52
Points: 8447
Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

Over on the power-assist mailing list Josh from Runabout Cycles asked the following question. (link below)

OK, How do we do it? How do we jump start the E bike market, and cause an electric revolution?

We have the efficiencies, the suppliers, the people, but how do we create a Pull, Demand, or a spark of life?

Looking at the Skateboard industry, it took off when some magazines started really showing all the kids what was going on in Cali, the Competitions, the Clothes, the new Designs, the Moves, the Tricks, and new places to Ride...

What could we do to start something like that?

Ideas?

Josh K.

Electric bicycles are highly efficient and could radically change how the people in the U.S. gets around. We all know this because we're living this story. Of course electric bicycles are popular in China, Taiwan, Europe, etc. Maybe some of the Chinese or Europeans on V can chime in with observations.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/power-assist/message/85716

gushar
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 8 months ago
Joined: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - 12:53
Points: 361
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

I think a few key considerations are missed here. First, skateboards aren't nearly as popular today among kids as they were when they were first conceived and manufactured. Why? I think they evolved into something too complex. Same goes for bicycles in some regards. I don't see nearly as many kids or adults riding bicycles as I used to. I think the key in these kinds of innovative modes of travel is "simplicity" compared to "function." I think going with that same concept that's exactly why "hybrid" vehicles aren't as accepted...or at least the idea. People see it as "more complex" having two power systems as opposed to one. That's perceived as more complex whether in reality it may or may not be.

The next great invention regarding "simple" transportation will have to be at the very least "perceived" as "simple" or at the very least "simple" like it's predecessors. Even with electric cars I think the wrong message is given. The message ought to be not just that it's clean or cleaner power and so forth, but that it is a more "simple" system. Maybe it isn't in some regards...but I do believe it can evolve to be, at least to the unfamiliar eye, since the basic concept evokes simplicity. But, again there's far too much involvement in throwing in meaningless technology into the newer, alternative vehicles. Look at the recent auto show hypes with the newer automotive prototypes, etc....of various autos...with whatever power platform...conventional and alternative powered. They hype the integration of communication technology, all the really "non-essential" technology to the point that some question the safety, and rightfully so, of such vehicles. I mean when you're driving you're driving! Even hands off use of technology, take your thoughts in a completely other direction off of driving. Is that really a good thing, unless the blasted vehicle drives itself? When it does drive itself that will be the day when we will want additional "non-driving" related major technologies for performing and enjoying other multiple functions onboard our totally computer driven vehicle.

Sorry, I strayed a bit from my original point. Again, I think people are very much attracted to very useful, "yet simple" forms of transportation and fun transportation devices, yet ones that work very well and function very well for the purpose...but are at the least perceived as mechanically and otherwise "simple." What that next success regarding such will be I have no idea. I just believe it will again be "simple" and not "complex." And I do believe most perceive the hybridizing, which it is (human power/gas/electric power), of a bicycle makes it something much more than a "simple" bicycle.

Just my .02 worth.

Gus

Gus

kevin smith
kevin smith's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 9 months ago
Joined: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 04:57
Points: 446
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

Hi i have't really seen a light weight Electric bike over hear for.

On road use lithium -ion for under £ 500 all seem to be £1000 +
thanks kev

Fourcycle
Fourcycle's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 06:10
Points: 34
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

I think that if you want to jump-start E-bikes, you need to find a beehive of kids doing cool stuff with E-bikes and give them exposure to other kids. And if not kids, whatever age group you are targeting. It has to be real though. If it's not real, they will soon catch on and abandon ship. The environment for E-bikes has to exist too. That includes positive areas to ride them as well as a culture that will allow them to fit in. Being not far removed from bicycles, those things already exist to some degree in most places. Being environmentally friendly and efficient is nice but it also needs to make the operator feel good in other basic human ways.

Affordability is another issue. One can buy a decent quality, 50cc, 4-stroke, bike motor kit that will do ~120 real world MPG for under $450 (http://www.bicycle-engines.com/49cc-belt-drive-complete-powered-engine-p-320.html). How much for a 750 to 1000 watt E-bike kit and battery pack that will do 50 real world miles on one charge? Sure there are advantages to the E-bike but those questions will come and need real world answers as well.

I'd sure like to try one out for a while without having to put down a grand plus to buy or build one.

If your only tool is a hammer
everything looks like a nail.

myocardia
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Friday, November 7, 2008 - 04:07
Points: 104
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

I think fourcycle's last paragraph is correct. When the average person becomes interested in using their bicycle for transportation, who would spend $1,000-1,500 for an electric bicycle kit (plus the cost of batteries, in most instances), when for $119 they can buy a 2-stroke 48cc kit or a 67cc 2-stroke kit for $129? I'm not going to provide links, but anyone interested only has to do a quick ebay search. Sure they're made in China out of pot metal, and only last 5 or 6,000 miles, but that's still longer than the electric kits last, and for what the ICE kits cost, who cares? Add to that the fact that the entire US transportation infrastructure is completely built around the automobile, not only because of distances but also because of speeds, and traveling by bicycle most likely will never be popular here. This is, after all, the country where every mother seems to believe that a 6,000 lb. vehicle is required to transport her 45 lb. kindergartner 1½ miles each way to school!

edit: So the answer to the question asked by Josh @ Runabout Cycles is "Lower your prices."

Fourcycle
Fourcycle's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 06:10
Points: 34
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

My wife pointed me towards an article in the New York Times that fits this discussion.

If your only tool is a hammer
everything looks like a nail.

vickramindia
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 12 months ago
Joined: Monday, May 31, 2010 - 06:29
Points: 2
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

Electric bicycles are highly efficient and could radically change how the people in the U.S. gets around. We all know this because we're living this story.

moveon70
moveon70's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Saturday, September 26, 2009 - 13:00
Points: 49
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

Remember when mopeds and the Honda Spri were so popular with highscool kids in the 80s?
They were popular because they exploided legal leniencies on drivers license, insurance, and even helmet laws.
Those laws have changed now, and so all those bikes are gone.

Changing the law would help a lot, but for now, the best oppornities is for the e-bike (<1kW) because they only require a rider to be over 16, nothing else.
Unfortunatly, most of the ebikes available are a piddly 500W. If a manufacture made one that was maxed out at a full kW (and perhaps even made it easy to upgrade for the persons that want to use it off highway), then I could see the scake tip where their value (utility/hassle of ownership) goes up.

I maxed out my ebike to 1kW, and even at 20MPH, it is very functional for local store runs.
If I wanted to go bikker, I would reccomend skipping the 1kw-4kw, and get at least 5kw since you need a license for any of them.

By the way, the statements above talking about getting kids to make them popular is a situation well summarized in "tipping point" by malcom gladwell for those that are intereste.

Dauntless
Offline
Last seen: 10 years 11 months ago
Joined: Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 16:20
Points: 220
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

I'm not familiar with laws that stand in the way, maybe it's a problem in other states, California is rather friendly to them. The smallest require no registration and no license for the rider, the midsize has a one time $18 reg and a simple M2 license, etc. No insurance for those two. Here it's decided by SPEED, but they won't argue when your under 1kw is slow enough for no license and reg, and under 3kw the one time reg and M2 license. Dang, I ride real motorcycles, I'll take that 5kw.

I think the issue is quality as stated by Mark, and more. I picked up a pair of eCycle Dash units for a song when a shop here moved to a smaller location and dumped things. The problem is, they didn't work out of the box when they arrived from CHINA, and the shop couldn't fix them. I got one going, felt like an accident when it suddenly worked, the other leaves me stumped. I've also picked up three used derelicts and only got the CurrieTech working. Two others, both of which hit the ground HARD, defy me. I can't pick up the service manuals, can't find anyone that knows anything. None of this sounds unusual to anyone here, right? It's far easier to track down problems in a gas engine than an electric drive. I've fixed all seven gas engine projects I've had in that period. My broke down first motorcycle when I was 18 I had running minutes after I got it home. I hear people say it all the time, you can't depend on an electric. And they're right.

The eCycle is popular with boaters because it's small and folds, they can pull it out and ride into town when they put in at Catalina, etc. So if you sell more boats you can sell more folding electric bikes. My friend got a kick out of pedaling with the electric on up a steep hill here in the neighborhood that you have to walk your bike up if you're not a triathlete, but it's mostly not a practical piece of transportation.

I think the real candidates for sudden ebike expansion are the people who need such a bike. The guy around me who commutes 20 miles to work and had a DUI, so his license is suspended. The bus gets him more than halfway, but he still has a considerable ride. (Busses here carry bikes on the front.) I printed out and handed him the webpage for a local shop offering a powered rear wheel he could add, and that bolted him upright. In his time of need, he was completely unaware. Just a little 500 watter, but it should work wonders for him.

If you know what a Honda CT90 is, less than 5 years ago you could pick a working bike for $200. Better yet, a dead one cost what's in you pocket and it didn't take much to get it going again. (Got my first motorcycle that way.) They were popular with the college age that couldn't afford a car. After Katrina the steady rise of gas prices made them and any small bike, moped, scooter, etc. popular, and you'd see people placing ads, posting on Craigslist, etc., crying for better mileage. Those little bikes aren't cheap now. And the price of gas just kept going up.

And in that period, one of my broken electrics was first sold. A nameless CHINESE bike. For probably over $1,000, not much more than the price of an old moped or scooter by that time. From what I can tell, he proceeded to drop this thing in the first 1.2 miles, because that's the miles it has on it. Funny, I estimate the scooter shop that used to be in that part of town was 1.2 miles from his house. I'm guessing he didn't make it home in one piece that first day, and never got up the nerve to ride it again. Or eventually he did, but after a long sit untouched he just kept trying to charge the batteries to get them to work again, and they melted. (Literally) So he sold it to me as junk, and with hundreds into batteries, etc., I still don't have it going, and I'm not sure I'll find a way. All this is happening exactly as most people expect it to happen with an electric. And they'll handle their bikes like this guy did, and give up on them. Until there is something that's a bit more user friendly.

Seems like my posting is closer to Malcom Gladwell's 'Blink.' How people leap to conclusions quickly with only a small sampling of the information. (The man makes brilliant observations.)

WHo dares, WINS!!!!

Spaceangel
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 9 hours ago
Joined: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 15:49
Points: 500
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

One way to make the explosion happen is license and registration. Better rules too. As Doug said

I'm not familiar with laws that stand in the way, maybe it's a problem in other states, California is rather friendly to them. The smallest require no registration and no license for the rider, the midsize has a one time $18 reg and a simple M2 license, etc. No insurance for those two. Here it's decided by SPEED, but they won't argue when your under 1kw is slow enough for no license and reg, and under 3kw the one time reg and M2 license. Dang, I ride real motorcycles, I'll take that 5kw.

There is a specific rule for California for making life easier for driving an EV bike. I just spent a whole week trying to license my other scooters and it just doesn't meet MA RMV DOT rules for motor vehicles. Too small turn signals, too slow speed ,headlights don't stay on properly, Horn too quiet, and a whole list more. I mentioned SAFETEA and H.R. 727 and also mentioned I been to local P.D. for further ruling and to no avail. There is a major gray area for licensing a bike is this country. At least China started off with billions of bikes than billions of scooters, then billions of cars. So that means they probably had better laws for them. In the USA we have drove ICE vehicles and laws matched them. Now with licensing and driving bikes, they say something about under 50cc? That is major hurdle right now for I just don't have any cc's to get a Moped sticker. Without a Moped sticker equal no insurance and no insurance means......
That is why explosion ain't going to happen in this country. We need to unify at the Federal level.
Rus

KB1UKU

ooo
ooo's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 9 months ago
Joined: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 12:36
Points: 4
Re: Creating an electric bicycle explosion (in the US)

hi,

im on a project to control a brushless dc hub motor using pic(similar to a wheelchair project)...im looking for a circuit to control this motor.....if theres any idea it will be very helpfull.....
this a golden motor model
Model:12"motor wheel
Voltage:36V(brushless)
Power:250W
Weight:4.8Kgs

pls any information will help....

Log in or register to post comments

Buy Ecotric bikes, get free accessories!


Who's online

There are currently 0 users online.

Who's new

  • Conmac065
  • MalachiKldho
  • leastk
  • aymgoa
  • wodnik7

Support V is for Voltage