Comments Off on Impact Of The Hybrid & Electric Bicycle
Electric powered travel is not as new as we think it is. For more than a hundred years, inventors have been trying to develop systems which allow consumers to use electricity to power their vehicles and even bicycles rather than burning fossil fuels. This has meant developing batteries that can last long enough for extended journeys without being huge and too expensive. Electric and hybrid bicycles have been around for more than a century, so why are consumers only hearing a lot about them right now?
Hybrid & Electric Bicycle Absence
Technology was not quite ready to meet the needs of consumers a hundred-plus years ago; even a decade ago. Low-tech batteries were very large. The e-bike, as it would later be known, was slow and expensive. The battery was capable of only short journeys, just like an electric car battery. Battery chemistry has been subject to extensive research and funding in recent years, thanks to demands for electric cars, so technology has been leaping forward at a fast rate than ever. This is also partly due to the desire for wireless electronics among consumers.
UPDATE! We now have some great electric bikes listed!
Check our sections on “Electric and Hybrid Bicycles” and “Electric Bicycles on Amazon“
Why Go Electric
With a regular bike, a person’s body is responsible for doing all the work. This makes it impractical for consumers to make regular journeys by bicycle if they travel many kilometers to work, church, school, etc. Time constraints are an issue as is the uncomfortable reality that you sweat when you work like this. Bosses tend to frown on sweaty employees. Then again, traffic and parking prices plus the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and insuring a vehicle make cars poor options as well. Even if you can afford the price of running your car and taking it to work every day, there is the unfortunate environmental cost to be weighed up.
Think of a traffic jam, where cars are spewing toxins into the air without going anywhere. Bicycles can get between the vehicles, however, allowing individuals to travel more freely at times. Of course, that is not the case on a high-speed highway or where cars are able to move freely; when climbing hills, a car will go faster. Ultimately, the efficiency and usefulness of an electric bike is not as important as environmental factors.
Hybrid vs. Electric
There are two types of electric bike. The hybrid requires consumers to do some of the pedaling and might take some power back into the battery as a result of a person’s cycling efforts or while coasting downhill. An electric bike can be pedalled but the motor will handle everything if you wish. The line between them is a very fine one; more to do with battery power and duration; wattage and speed than anything else. Designs resemble all types of bicycles and they are made for city or off-road use specifically.
Who is the Electric Bike for?
Little has been said about electric bikes in North America until recently. The success of electric cars has prompted greater interest, however. Like Tesla and Nissan, e-bike inventors and manufacturers are responding to environmental needs. Finally, the technology is becoming affordable enough for average people to purchase it.
But will the average person buy one? Right now, that depends on where you live. In places where cycling is the normal way to travel, these devices are very big business. Holland and China are two examples. If your destination is further than 60 miles, a car is the better choice, and this is only with the top bike motors installed. For short journeys of 20 miles or less, electric bikes are excellent if there is somewhere to plug the battery in and charge it up.
The senior/disabled market could benefit significantly. If you can’t ride a regular bicycle comfortably because of injury or poor health, motorized assistance offers a compromise. You might have to pedal a little bit and at least get some exercise, but age and infirmity don’t keep you off of two wheels anymore. Spouses and kids can’t complain that a loved one is riding a dangerous, noisy motorbike; bicycles with motors are permitted on paths, are quiet, and they don’t reach nearly high enough speeds to make for a risky ride.
Young people are also discovering the allure of riding a bike with a motor. Battery operated technology and green attitudes are trendy. Teens and 20-somethings are more assertive about environmental issues than the previous generations have been, so they are choosing this bike versus a car. Moreover, since a good once can be purchased for around $1,500, a young person on a budget can afford this sort of transportation far more easily than he can afford to buy a car, fill it with gas, and keep it insured.
Generally, the electric bicycle is not fast enough or capable of high enough wattage to require registration or licensing. Anyone can ride them down city streets. Cars enhance one’s feeling of independence, but an electric bike is a compromise between that desire for freedom and budgetary realities.
Comments Off on Elby Bike
You knew it was coming; stationary bikes already provided the option: I’m talking about the hybrid electric bike. Museums and dams put out bicycles anyone can ride for real so as to determine what it takes to provide energy enough to light a light bulb.
It’s quite a lot, but you also see what it takes for an electrical current supplied by a utility company to do the same thing. Like any hybrid device, the Elby can be pedaled by the rider or ridden like a scooter, allowing body power or electronics to do all the work. Meet the future of biking in cities, small towns, and wild country around the USA.
Explore on the Elby Bike
Image Credit: elbybike.com
The Elby was designed with explorers in mind. You want to go far, taking tracks that cars can’t travel on but without making a lot of noise or leaving a considerable footprint. ATVs, dirt bikes, and other leisure vehicles chew up the wilderness, disturbing natural inhabitants and nature lovers along the way. This quiet bike won’t do such dreadful things to the open spaces you love.
At the same time, the Elby takes some of the hard work off of a rider’s hands. Pedal a little, then coast on the engine’s power. Pedal faster to create speeds of 20 mph and more. The more work you do, the less battery output is required and the longer it will last every time you charge it. Longer-lasting battery power provides a longer range of travel without an excessive amount of effort from the owner.
Battery realities dictate that you can only go so far and then it is necessary to plug in. Makers of this highly-anticipated invention recommend replenishing the cell every night because this takes about 5 hours. You do not want to be waiting for the battery to restore itself while you could be out on a mission to find nearby wineries and new varietals; take in some artisan shops or great cafes; head to work or for a visit with friends.
If you don’t ride the Elby very often, what is stopping you? Meanwhile, your cell goes into something known as deep sleep circuit protection so it does not go completely flat in 8 weeks after being neglected. Recharge it at least every 6 months so as not to lose the battery.
Your cell could, of course, last 5 years because demands on it are low. An active user of the Elby could get 2 or 3 years out of this product depending on how often he recharges it and the distance he pedals himself. There is also a special feature, common to hybrid bikes and cars, whereby excess energy is returned to the battery. Coast down hills and let the cell eat up this energy no one is using.
The Elby’s electronics are run by something known as the BionX System which is its brain. This control center does all the physics and math thinking related to how fast you pedal vs. electronically-determined speed. It runs lights front and back which keep riders safe when they go out by day or by night. A control panel is detachable for security on the road.
Cyclists have to follow the rules of the road like everyone else, but they do not have to carry a license, registration, proof of insurance, and so on. Ride the Elby without carrying all that weight on your shoulders.
Carry it to every off-road spot with a reasonable pathway, hoisted onto your bike rack in the usual way. A sealed motor is resistant to the weather too, so don’t be afraid of riding in the rain.
Those responsible for its design also decided to keep the center of gravity low so as to enhance the rider’s confidence and attract consumers who otherwise feel unequal to the skill of high-speed bike riding.
So far we haven’t seen this on Amazon, but if we do, we’ll be including it in our category of Electric Bicycles on Amazon! Right now, it looks like they’re only being discussed (not offered yet) at their site, elbybike.com – my hope is that once it’s released, it’ll be on Amazon.