In February 2019, EVELO Electric Bicycles’ director of customer service, Bill Cummings, presented to an audience of Recreational Vehicle (RV) owners at the Southeast Area RV Rally in Florida. You can watch his complete Electric Bikes 101 presentation on video or read your way through the partial transcript provided below. https://youtu.be/hhQuDv6Yxjo So what is an electric bicycle? It's a bicycle that has a motor and a battery. Very simply, you get to choose how much you pedal. Some people believe you won't get any exercise on an electric bike. You actually can. We have customers that have lost a 100 pounds riding our e-bikes, so it's not cheating and we refer to them as a hill flattener.
What is an Electric Bike?
- A hill flattener.
- A bicycle with an electric motor and a battery.
- You decide how much you pedal.
Bill giving the Electric Bike 101 presentation at the Southeast Area RV Rally in February 2019.
International Popularity Impacts Where Electric Bikes are ManufacturedE-bikes have been really popular in Europe and Asia for a very long time. They're really starting to get traction here in the U.S. I've seen the growth personally in my time with the company. I can tell you that one of the things about the Asia market is the population of countries like China is so huge that the e-bike is a very real transportation alternative. Because they sell millions of electric bikes each year in China the nexus of manufacturing electric bikes is there. So a lot of people think, “oh, bikes are built in China because it's cheap.” It's also where all the manufacturing is located because that's where most electric bikes are being sold. This doesn’t mean, however, that there is not a market for electric bikes in the United States. Rather electric bikes are gaining popularity in the U.S. But the leading manufacturing center is still in Asia with the vast majority of demand.
Who Uses Electric Bikes?The answer, as you might expect, varies. There are recreational riders. People that simply just want to go out see the sunset, ride the bike, that kind of thing. Commuters, so increasingly in urban environments, especially where there is intense congestion. Commuting on an electric bike extends the distance you can ride, making bicycle commuting a viable alternative to driving into work. So commuters are using them. And what’s more, parking is not an issue. I don't know where you folks live, but in a big city, you could be late for work because you couldn't find a parking spot. Of course, there are the RVers, right. Electric bikes are highly transportable. You can put them in your RV. Lastly, we see a lot of folks that are returning to riding after many years. Sometimes it's a recommendation from their physician, "you need to go out and get some exercise, you need to move that artificial hip, that artificial knee." But what's nice about the electric bike is that if you start having discomfort or whatever, the motor can get you home. So it really is a therapeutic device for a lot of people.
So what is it that makes electric bikes unique?Electric bikes have power on demand. It makes it easier to climb hills. You could travel further without worrying about “oh geez can I get home if I got too far.” Now with a regular bicycle, the propulsion is done just by the rider. You have no help.
A comparison of electric bikes and conventional bicycles.What's similar about them are their looks, how they handle and the maneuverability and most repairs. With the one caveat, there is an electrical system that there's sometimes service issues related to the electrical system. So that is something that is unique to the electric bikes. But most repairs, brakes adjustments, flat tires, all that stuff, the same across both. So there is a difference between electric bikes and motorized scooters. Electric bikes have pedals, it's actually one of the definitions of an electric bike, it must have fully functioning pedals. There are three classifications now for electric bikes. Class one and class three are very similar in that they are pedal assist only which means there is no throttle on them. The difference between one and three is that class one is capped at 20 miles an hour whereas a class three e-bike can go up to 28 miles an hour. Class two electric bikes are bikes that have pedal assist and sometimes throttle and pedal assist. So as you're going down the road you can be pedaling and there is a switching mechanism that detects your pedaling action and will activate the motor. So it's your effort plus the motor together get the total output at the rear wheel.