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The basic concept of the electric bike

Author:    Source:    Release time: 2015-12-15 20:07:43


Chart showing the growth in sales of electric power-assisted cycles (EPACs) in European countries, 2006-2014.

If you have dynamo-powered bicycle lights, you already own an electric-powered bicycle! Consider: as you pump your legs up and down on the pedals, you make the wheels rotate. A small dynamo (generator) mounted on the rear wheel produces a tiny current of electricity that keeps your back safety lamp lit in the dark. Now suppose you could run this process backward. What if you removed the lamp and replaced it with a large battery. The battery would kick out a steady electric current, driving the dynamo in reverse so that it spun around like an electric motor. As the dynamo/motor turned, it would rotate the tire and make the bike go along without any help from your pedaling. Hey presto: an electric bike! It may sound a bit far-fetched, but this is more or less exactly how electric bikes work.

Chart: Electric bicycles are rapidly becoming popular. This chart shows the growth in sales of what the manufacturers refer to as "electric power-assisted cycles (EPACs)" in European countries over the last decade. Over a million electric bikes were sold in Europe in 2014 alone, which is about 6 percent of total European bicycle sales. What this chart doesn't reveal is that the bikes are much more popular in some countries than others: three countries accounted for almost three quarters of all the sales (Germany, 42 percent; the Netherlands, 20 percent; and Belgium, 11 percent). Data sourced from the report "European Bicycle Market: 2015", courtesy of CONEBI (Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry).