Has e-bikes started a "pandemic"? The global demand for e-bikes has surged following the outbreak of a new coronavirus. Safe, convenient, sustainable and healthier than you might think, e-bikes are rapidly on the rise, but until you buy the best one, you may not know about these urban transport favourites.
I. The e-bike market is on booming
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, e-bikes were one of the surprising benefactors. Partly due to commuters wanting to avoid public transport after the blockade. In Europe, 17% of bicycle sales are e-bikes, but this rises to 50% in the Netherlands and Germany. According to statistics, European sales of power-assisted e-bikes grew at a compound rate of over 30% from 2009-2019. With the normalisation of the epidemic, sales of power-assisted e-bikes in Europe are expected to reach nearly 10 million units in 2025, with sales growth expected to remain above 20% CAGR from 2020 to 2025.
2. There are different kinds of electric bike
An e-bike is a bicycle with an electric motor and a battery to drive the bike. This is the simplest definition. Electric bicycles in the market are divided into two main segments: mid-motor and hub wheel motor , which are further divided into front- and rear-drive. Esoulbike sells both hub motors and mid-mounted motors, which can be viewed on the website: https://esoulbike.com/
3. e-bikes don't cost much to run
Although e-bike owners tend to ride at faster speeds and for longer periods of time, which often means more wear and tear and more maintenance costs, the main cost of owning an e-bike is to charge the battery. However, this is a relatively insignificant one. According to Raleigh, charging a 300Wh, 400Wh or 500Wh battery (the most common size on an e-bike) takes between four and six hours, which equates to a live charge of no more than $0.13/£0.10/€0.129 per charge. Therefore, they are effectively free after the initial purchase.
4. The classification of e-bikes varies by country
While you can get an e-bike with a 900 watt-hour battery and 1,500 watts of motor power, the exact composition of an e-bike is defined by government regulations - and there are huge differences between them.
In the US, it varies from state to state, but at the federal level, an e-bike is defined as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts and a top speed of less than 20 mph.
The UK government defines an e-bike (open in the new label) as an 'electric assisted pedal cycle' (EAPC), which must have pedals that can be used to propel it. It must have an electric motor with a maximum power output of 250Wh and a maximum speed of 15.5mph/25kmph, but you do not need a driving licence, nor do you need to be registered, taxed or insured.
In the EU, electric bicycles are known as Electric Bicycles, and are divided into two categories depending on how they are used.
Pedelecs, which have no handlebars and the motor assist must be engaged after pedaling. E-Bikes, which have a handlebar and can either be powered by the handlebar without moving the foot, or by the motor through pedaling.
The parameters of the E-Bike are strictly defined, with a maximum continuous motor output of 250 W. At speeds of 25 km/h, the motor current is disconnected and no more power is provided.
5. You still need to pedal, just a little easier or less
Electric cars don't cheat! They are mainly about battery-powered pedal assist, not pedal replacement. Some e-bikes provide battery-powered assistance through the pedals, while others are equipped with a throttle to provide you with on-demand assistance.
Either way, the purpose of an e-bike is not to 'cheat' while riding a bike. Instead, with a little extra power under your feet, it will encourage you to tackle rides that you wouldn't otherwise venture on.
They can help new riders try rides they wouldn't normally attempt, whether it's through towns, up hills or through rough tracks. For older riders, hills can get tough, but an e-bike helps them to be able to stay active for longer.
6. Electric bikes are good for you
Do you think you can get a good workout on an e-bike? If you think they're the lazy man's choice, think again. A study published in May 2021 showed that a group of cyclists who had just purchased an e-bike were able to complete a three-mile bike ride - simulating a typical commute - faster and with less effort than a regular commute Bike. Crucially, their heart rate and oxygen consumption (V̇O2) readings also showed that the same e-bikers performed a good 'moderate intensity' workout, suggesting that e-bike use may still be beneficial for health-related fitness. Other studies have shown that e-bikes only burn about 20% of the calories compared to regular bikes. In short, you'll go faster, ride longer and, overall, expend as much energy as you would on a regular bike.
7. They are essential for a low-carbon future
Electric bicycles are increasingly seen as an important tool for tackling global climate goals. Although they may seem like a novelty compared to macro-projects such as carbon capture, high-speed transport systems and retrofitting office buildings, they are one of several small-scale and low-cost modular innovations that can be achieved, according to one study. Science, superior to larger-scale alternatives. Electric bikes are considered alongside solar panels, batteries, heat pumps, smart thermostats and shared taxis - they are at the forefront of reducing urban air pollution and carbon footprints.
8. "Mileage anxiety" is not a real thing
How far can you ride on a single charge? So-called "mileage anxiety" is not as bad as it is with electric cars. After all, if the battery runs out, you can still ride with your legs, which is not a terrible scenario for cyclists. Of course, the biggest determinants of an e-bike's range are its motor, its battery and the number of times you use pedal assist.
Most modern e-bikes use lithium-ion batteries, with battery capacity measured in watt-hours (Wh). A 300Wh battery can travel between 15 miles/25km and 50 miles/80km on a single charge in average use. For a 400Wh boosted battery, the range is between 25 miles/40 km and 62 miles/100 km. This is based on flat terrain; if on steep or off-road trails, the range is reduced by about half.
9. Electric bikes will improve
A product gets better with each new iteration. The same thing happens with e-bikes, partly because the first generation does not offer the best power output, efficiency or range.
In fact, most e-bikes use e-bike motors that were originally developed for power steering in cars and other devices. As a result, while electric cars are currently around 90% efficient, e-bikes are around 70% efficient. Therefore, look for future updates with smaller, lighter, faster and more durable motors. Batteries have evolved from bulky lead-acid batteries to smaller and lighter lithium batteries, and range has been greatly improved. Gearing, cooling systems, power electronics and batteries will also be greatly improved in the coming years, with features such as immobilisers and GPS racks becoming mainstream.