Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, are a type of bicycle that is powered by an electric motor. These bikes typically have a battery pack that can be charged and used to power the motor. E-bikes can be ridden like a regular bicycles, but they also have the option to use the motor for assistance when pedaling. This can make riding up hills or longer distances much easier than on a regular bike.
Keep dive into our post to learn in-depth about how do electric bikes work and much useful information.
- 1 What Is An E-bike?
- 2 How Do Electric Bikes Work?
- 3 Explaining Electric Bike Wattage
- 4 Explaining Electric Bike Voltage
- 5 Explained: Electric Bike Amp-Hours
- 6 How Do I Operate The Bike?
- 7 Do I Need A License To Ride One?
- 8 How Eco-friendly Are Electric Bicycles?
- 9 Who Invented Electric Bikes?
What Is An E-bike?
Although a scooter or electric motorcycle may come to mind when someone hears the word “electric bike,” they actually appear quite different. Imagine a typical bicycle and then add a few electrical parts to it, such as a controller, a battery, and a motor, all of which are smoothly incorporated into the design. The basic components of every electric bicycle on the market are these!
How Do Electric Bikes Work?
The pedals of electric bikes are assisted by a motor, making cycling less strenuous. Depending on the design, the bike may be able to move ahead on its own power from the motor or it may need your help to pedal.
Electric bicycles should not be confused with motorcycles. The battery and electric motor don’t last as long as an engine that runs on gasoline.
However, because they don’t produce toxic exhaust while you ride them, e-bikes are better for the environment. Because you must exert effort to move the bike, they are also a healthy choice for you because doing so will increase your cardiovascular fitness.
Even though you might believe that electric bikes have no top speed, this is untrue—a motor gives them one. You will have a speed cap on how fast you may go with motor assistance since federal restrictions under the 2002 Consumer Product Safety Act regulate the definition of low-speed electric bikes. The maximum speed for your bike may range from 20 to 28 miles per hour (mph).
In states that specify what an electric bicycle is, there are three classes of e-bikes. Consult your state’s laws to learn whether any restrictions apply to the operation of particular e-bike classes for certain age groups.
Class 1: The rider receives assistance from these motorcycles as they pedal up to 20 mph.
Class 2: These bicycles are only permitted to utilize motors to accelerate them up to 20 mph.
Class 3: Up to 28 mph motorized assistance is only available when the user pedals on the quickest motorcycles.
Electric bikes differ from conventional bicycles in three key ways: the battery, the motor and its controller, and the sensor.
Read full our post: how fast do electric bikes go
1. The Battery
The motor is powered by a battery. The wattage, voltage, and amp-hour figures determine how much power this gadget can produce and how long it can last. They are positioned low and in the middle of the bicycle to prevent these heavy components from throwing off your balance.
Although bike batteries have become smaller and more powerful since switching from lead-acid to lithium cores, they still add a lot of weight to your bike.
2. The Sensor
Electric bikes include sensors that track your speed to determine when to tell the engine to turn the throttle or pedal assistance on or off, preventing them from moving too quickly. The sensors could detect torque or speed. But both behave in a comparable manner.
The speed sensor keeps track of your speed. However, a torque sensor tracks how hard you pedal because faster speeds are associated with tougher pedaling.
3. The Motor
A motor is used in electric bikes to increase your riding efficiency. When riding an e-bike, you can utilize the throttle to keep going if you get tired. Additionally, pedal-assist engages while you are pedaling the bike, allowing you to exert less force. But the pedal-assist ends as soon as you stop pedaling or exceed the bike’s predetermined speed limit.
The motor employs mechanical work to assist in turning the bicycle’s wheels by converting electric power into mechanical labor. The front hub, the rear hub, and the middle of the bike are the three locations in which manufacturers can place the motor.
Today, motors mounted on the front hub are less common than those mounted elsewhere on the bike. These front-mounted motors are commonly found on low-end e-bikes.
Bicycle gears are integrated into rear-hub motors, which propel the vehicle from the back wheel. Due to its relationship to the gearing, the motor in this position enhances traction and handling. Rear hub motors, which offer superior control, are frequently found on mid-class e-bikes.
The motors on high-end, highly expensive electric bikes are mounted to the frame and placed close to the center of gravity. You can still swiftly swap out your bike’s tires while stabilizing it with this motor position.
Electronic components on e-bikes are normally protected from light rain by tight seals and secure shielding. They can tolerate a range of weather conditions, but it’s necessary to use caution and keep e-bikes away from heavy rain and/or water exposure.
Learn more about the components that distinguish an e-bike from a traditional bicycle now that you are aware of what they are.
Explaining Electric Bike Wattage
One element of the battery power in your bike is the watts. Wattage provides information on the potential speed and performance of your bike, together with voltage and amp-hours. It will be easier for you to determine how long you can ride your bike before you need to recharge it if you are aware of the distinctions between wattage and watt-hours.
1. What Is Wattage?
The power a motor produces is referred to as wattage. Wattage will be listed beside the motor power together with its peak and nominal powers. These ratings assess the motor’s typical operating capacity and ideal computed value, respectively.
Peak power is the motor’s maximum output at full throttle and under optimum circumstances. Because some power is wasted due to friction and other factors, your engine will probably never achieve this value.
Manufacturers list the nominal wattage to give you an idea of the actual power you will receive from the motor. The nominal wattage will typically be 75% of the maximal working power at the highest power levels. This value, which you can see listed with motor power as the second number, represents real consumption. When computing watt-hours, use this amount.
Watt-hours indicate the maximum speed your e-bike is capable of traveling as well as how long its particular motor can operate without needing to be recharged.
2. Why Is Wattage Important for an Electric Bike?
You may determine the watt-hours for your bike using the motor power wattage. A battery that can hold its charge for a longer period of time is necessary for motors that produce more watts.
The voltage of the battery multiplied by the amps of the motor controller results in watts. For instance, a bicycle with a 52-volt battery and a 20-amp controller will provide 1,040 watts of optimum power.
The calculated power is 1,040 watts at 52 volts and 20 amps.
By dividing this amount by 0.75, or 75%, you may determine the nominal motor wattage.
1,040 x 0.75 = 780 watts nominal power
By dividing the battery’s voltage by its amp-hours, you may determine watt-hours. For instance, a battery with 52 volts and 13 amp hours will output 676 watt-hours.
52 volts x 13 amp-hours = 676 watt-hours
Divide the watt-hours by the nominal motor wattage to get how long your bike’s battery can operate at full throttle. Divide 676 watt-hours by 780 nominal watts for the aforementioned example.
676 ÷ 780 = 0.867 hours
To determine the battery’s remaining time in minutes, multiply this amount by 60.
0.867 hours x 60 minutes = 52 minutes
This figure depicts riding constantly at full power. By cycling more and utilizing the engine-less frequently, you can extend the life of your batteries. The overall payload, average speed, tire pressure, and many other variables all have an impact on the riding range and battery life. E-bikes should complement your biking abilities rather than replace them.
Explaining Electric Bike Voltage
Your electric bike’s voltage will be determined by the battery. In comparison to their more ancient lead-acid cousins, lithium batteries offer substantially higher voltages.
1. What Is Voltage?
Voltage is a measure of how much power the battery can deliver to the motor of your bicycle. A higher voltage allows for faster and more efficient power transfer from the battery to the motor, improving performance. The voltage provides a sense of the battery’s watt potential when combined with amp-hours.
The battery’s voltage will be listed alongside it. Premium bikes may have 48 or 52-volt batteries. You can still use a higher voltage battery to increase performance even if your bike requires a lower voltage. The majority of motorcycle engines can withstand a certain level of voltage excess before failing.
The motors of some bicycles, including those sold by Juiced Bikes, are backward compatible with some batteries of lesser voltage. On the RipCurrent S bike, for instance, you can choose between a 48-volt and a 52-volt battery. This ability to use lower voltage batteries with higher voltage bikes is not offered by other bike manufacturers.
The maximum voltage available for electric bike batteries right now is 52 volts. Existing electric bike models are unlikely to receive higher voltages because doing so would push the voltage into the high-voltage category and necessitate significantly stronger regulations.
The 52-volt battery, the best in the business, is standard on every bike in the Juiced lineup.
2. How Does Voltage Affect the Performance of an Electric Bike?
When choosing your battery for an e-bike, remember to keep it within the recommended voltage range. Your bike’s performance can be enhanced by selecting a higher battery voltage.
Batteries with higher voltages function more effectively, which explains why they can improve the performance of your bike. These higher voltage batteries produce the same amount of power as lower voltage batteries while using less current. Since they don’t have to work as hard, they are more efficient and have a significantly wider operating range.
Your bike will have the extra power it needs to haul heavier persons or freight, climb hills, or both with higher voltage batteries. In contrast to lower voltage batteries, it achieves this by sending electricity from the battery to the motor more quickly.
Explained: Electric Bike Amp-Hours
Look for the amp-hours on your battery if you need to know its capacity. The amp hours, which are connected to the amps measurement, offer you a precise estimate of how long your battery will survive.
The output of your battery is measured in amps. The amount of electricity your battery can produce in an hour at maximum voltage is measured in amp-hours, which is a measure of your battery’s capacity. Generally speaking, your bike can run longer when the amp-hours are higher.
1. What Do Amp-Hours Mean for a Battery?
Your bike’s battery’s amp-hours might help you estimate how long it will last before needing to be recharged. For instance, a 20 amp-hour battery will survive for 20 hours while supplying 1 amp of power. Your motor will last a shorter time if you use more energy. The battery lasts for ten hours at two amps per hour.
Consider amp-hours as the gas tank and amps as the fuel. Higher amp-hours will last longer with equivalent energy consumption and bike use.
2. Why Do Amp-Hours Affect E-Bikes?
To determine how long you can ride your electric bicycle on a single charge, you must consider both the amp-hours and battery voltage. The sum of them, as mentioned, provides you with watt-hours.
Because amp-hours behave like a gas tank, amps like gas, and volts like gas flow, these variables enable you to estimate the number of watt-hours needed to complete a full charge. You would find comparing models difficult if you didn’t know the amps or amp-hours for the battery in your bicycle. The optimal charger for your vehicle can be found with the aid of amps.
Along with the battery and the charger, amps are listed. Your bike will recharge considerably more quickly if the charger has higher amps. The charger’s listed amps represent how many amps it will put into the battery each hour.
For instance, a typical two-amp charger replenishes the battery with two amps per hour. A 13 amp battery would require 5.2 hours to fully recharge from 10% to 90%. The charging time is reduced to 1.5 hours if the conventional charger is swapped out for an ultra-fast one that operates at seven amps per hour.
How Do I Operate The Bike?
Electric bikes are made to be incredibly simple to use. As a rider, you can choose between three modes of operation:
You can always pedal an electric bicycle in the same way as you would a conventional one. Since the motor does not add any more resistance, it will feel just like a typical bicycle. Your bicycle will either have 3 gears, 8 gears, or a unique NuVinci® N360™ internal powertrain that gives you infinite gears, depending on the model you buy.
Pedal-Assist (sometimes called Electric-Assist)
You can utilize both human and electric power in this mode. By pressing the on/off button on the handlebars, you can activate this mode, which will have the motor softly supplying electricity as you pedal. As the terrain changes, you can still shift gears to benefit from more torque or a faster speed.
Utilizing the pedal-assist mode is a wonderful experience because it makes cycling effortless, flattens the hills, and allows you to focus solely on taking in the landscape.
Three levels of help are offered by the pedal-assist mode: Low (30 percent), Medium (60 percent), and High (100 percent ). Simply said, the percentage represents how much extra power the engine will offer to supplement your pedaling. Your pedaling will have an additional 30% power on the low level and almost double on the high setting. You can move between the various stages with just one button push.
With this mode of operation, you may relax while letting the motor do the work. Simply turn the throttle on the left handlebar to ride in “electric-only” mode, and you’ll feel the engine start to work and carry you forward. If you want to move forward or stop, keep the throttle twisted. Release it when you’re ready to start pedaling. Please be aware that the maximum speed in electric-only mode is 20 mph according to federal rules.
Do I Need A License To Ride One?
There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding how the law treats electric bikes because they are still a relatively new idea in the US. Under federal law, electric bicycles in this category are regarded as conventional bicycles as long as they satisfy two requirements: (1) the top speed in “electric only” mode is 20 mph; and (2) the motor power cannot exceed 750W.
The two federal specifications are met by EVELO electric bicycles. We set the top speed in “electric only” mode at 20 mph, though you can pedal your bike faster if you like to go faster. Our motors have a 250W rating, which is well within the legal restrictions. Read also about how fast do electric bikes go.
As a result, using an electric bike does not require a specific registration, license, or insurance. Additionally, they have the same rights as standard bicycles, including the ability to use designated bike lanes.
State-specific restrictions on the use of electric bikes do exist, though. Despite the fact that the majority do so, others do not.
You can get in touch with us if you have any inquiries regarding how electric bikes operate in your state, and we’ll lead you on the right way to find out more details about your state. Even though it is not strictly required by law, we advise wearing a helmet and wearing lights and reflective equipment for your own protection.
How Eco-friendly Are Electric Bicycles?
Electric bikes are without a doubt far more environmentally friendly than gasoline-powered car engines. However, that does not imply that they are faultless. Batteries can be created and disposed of in highly polluting ways.
Additionally, an electric bicycle still consumes energy, which must be obtained somehow. You may believe you are utilizing clean, environmentally friendly energy, but the electricity you use for transportation may have come from dirty, outdated coal- or nuclear-powered power plant.
Of course, if you’re lucky, it might have come from a windmill or solar panel. The environmental impact of electric bikes is nowhere near as great as that of traditional push cycles, but nothing in life is ever perfect, and as the saying goes, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”
Electric bikes are unquestionably a positive move. Global warming may be less of an issue if everyone relied on them to go around instead of driving a car, and the globe would be cleaner and healthier.
Who Invented Electric Bikes?
This invention by Ogden Bolton, Jr. of Canton, Ohio, which was submitted in September 1895 and approved three months later, is the earliest electric bike patent that I have been able to locate at the US Patent and Trademark Office. These early diagrams show how very similar it is to contemporary electric bikes.
A hub motor on the back wheel (blue), a battery suspended from the frame (red), and a basic handlebar control are all shown in the general image on the left.
The hub motor’s more in-depth cutaway on the right shows a six-pole magnet in the middle (orange) that is fastened to the frame and an armature (yellow, composed of coiled wire) that revolves around it when the current is turned on.
Even by today’s standards, the motor is rather large; Ogdon notes that it can carry “a huge current at low voltage—for example, to transport one hundred amperes at ten volts.” 1000 watts, or roughly twice as much power as a normal modern bike hub motor.