The most important issue for that time were batteries, which were enormous and hefty, compared to the ones we use today. With plenty of space for technological improvements on the electric bicycle, it makes it a fascinating piece of transportation.
During the 1870s, two inventors created what is believed to be a predecessor for the electric bike. This kind of motorized bicycle used a steam engine and an internal combustion engine. Ignoring the fact that pedal-bicycles were so efficient due to their low weight-to-power ratio, enthusiastic engineers sought to patent various electric motors. One of the electric bikes first patent was issued by Ogden Bolton Jr. He invented a patent for a 6-pole brush and commutator hub motor mounted on the rear wheel. That patent was mostly centred on improvement for the bike, rather than the unique invention.
A few years after that, Hosea W. Libbey invented an electric bike with a double electric motor and two batteries. His idea was that only one battery would work on an open road, and when climbing – the second cell would be activated. This is one of the first forms of electric bicycle controller.
All these inventions, however, had a handicap; The batteries were massive. In the mid-1940s Jesse D. Tucker assigned a patent for a motor with internal gearing and the ability to freewheel. This means the rider could choose whether or not to use the pedals in combination with the electric motor.
Entrepreneurs and engineers continue to develop new patents for e-bikes, improving on the original idea(s) more and more. At the beginning of 21st century, batteries batteries became significantly lighter and more efficient. Cumbersome and large lead acid batteries were superseded by NiCd or Li-ion batteries.
Today we are witnessing a vast improvement in all areas of electric bikes. Technological innovations have brought lighter, smaller batteries so that electric bikes can now optimally replace cars on medium distance trips. With energy saving abilities, the e-bike will continue to grow in popularity over the years.