The History of eBikes
The design and invention of electric bicycles began to be recognized in the 1890s. In 1895 Ogden Bolton Jr. was given rights for a battery-powered bicycle. This bicycle had no gears and a motor with the potential of 100 amperes from a 10-volt battery; it also had a six-pole brush and direct current hub motor attached to the back wheel.
Within two years an electric bicycle that was driven by a double electric motor was designed by Hosea W. Libbey in Boston. This motor was constructed within the hub of the crankset axle and then in the 1990s it was redesigned by Giant Lafree e-bikes.
A rear-wheel drive electric bicycle with a driving belt along the outer edge of the wheel was invented in 1898 by Matthew J. Steffens. Then in 1899 a rear-wheel friction roller-wheel style drive electric bicycle was designed by John Schnepf. This design was explored further and redesigned by G.A. Wood Jr. in 1969. Wood’s model had a range of gears and used four fractional horsepower motors.
Towards the late 1990s torque sensors and were beginning to be established The Zike e-bike was created and sold by vector services in 1992. The Zike bike was one of the few e-bikes available at this time; it also had NicCd batteries built within the bike’s frame.
Within the years 1993-2004 figures suggest a growth of 35% in the production of e-bikes; dis-similarly, traditional bicycle manufacture was significantly reduced from its previous high of 107 million units.
In terms of battery usage, more current bikes utilized batteries that were lightweight and denser than the previous cheaper models, which tended to employ heavier lead acid batteries. The functionality of the different batteries varied yet it is widely held that the lighter batteries performed better with regards to increase in range and speed.
By 2001 the e-bike had many household names used to refer to it: power bike, pedelec, pedal-assisted and power-assisted bicycle. The term electric motorbike or e-motorbike was used to differentiate between more powerful models that could reach up to 50 mph.
Unlike the hybrid-motorized bike designed by Hosea W. Libbey, human and motor inputs work together in more modern versions of the e-bike, this is possible through cogwheel gearing. Human energy transmutes into electricity and goes straight into the motor; the battery itself provides additional electricity.
It was estimated that by the year 2007, e-bikes would take up 10-20% of two wheeled vehicles within major Chinese cities. Generally, each e-bike needs 8 hours to charge the battery, providing a range of 25-30 miles at the speed of around 20 km/h.