So where will e-bike tech go?

BikingAl

New Member
I'm curious to what you guys think to where e-bikes will be in say 5 years? Lighter stronger frames? Even more power? Lighter longer range batteries?

(The biggie for me) 100 mile range on battery. 30-35mph pedal assist. Below 30lb total bike weight.

What do you want?
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
35mph on a light bike? I believe that is a bad combination unless, perhaps you are talking about full suspension bike with pretty wide tires.
 

BikingAl

New Member
Yeah. But knowing you could get at least 30mph pedal assist would be nice. If the bike can be designed to take that speed then why not? Not saying do that speed constantly but nice knowing you can.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
I'm running a thought experiment that involves motor/flywheel combinations, bike as generator mode, super cap power bumping etc.. Got a bunch of money?

BTW - 30 mph PAS is already here, with 38c tires & 80 PSI I can do 30 mph pretty easily on my 2014 E3 Dash. She'll even pass 35 just coasting down a steep hill, yes it is a little scary.

I think all your specs are within reason. Regarding energy density, when I last mentioned Electrolyte flow cell technology it got controversial, so I let it lay.

-Shea
 

lilrich1959

Member
As an ebike technician at Crazy Lenny's and a longtime member of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association as well as running a repair shop of my own for close to forty years off and on I have an interest in all kinds of emerging transportation alternatives.

Building my own conversions when the technology was in it's infancy in the US gave me a great appreciation of the challenges and advances that have come so far. Customer questions about the present models of course center on some knowingly unobtainable goals it seems that everyone is chasing after the perpetual motion machine without an understanding that there is no free ride.

In five years realistically I see an exponential growth in range, speed and power. As the market grows and a greater understanding of the limitations are met we will see a move away from the weight and configuration of previous human powered bikes and designs more in line with electric powered transportation from the onset. Regulatory agencies will struggle with the legal and social issues as they always do while the technicians push beyond the boundaries into new waters. I see a wide range of transportation options developing which will resist classifications such as bicycle, car or whatever.
 

iain

New Member
I think the biggest growth will be at the other end of the market. Technology like the Copenhagen Wheel and FlyKly will cater to those who want the convenience of an electric bicycle without spending north of $2,000.
 

lilrich1959

Member
I sure hope so iain. It wasn't that long ago that I can't remember my frustration trying to realize my dream of an electric bike and the sacrifices along the way trying to scrape up the $1500 it cost me to put together my first conversion. But boy was it worth it as I braved the below zero weather for my first test ride and felt that thrill and sense of freedom.

Being older and in poor physical health I thought I had left those days of high performance far back in my youth. I guess that is something you don't hear discussed too often in this forum, it's understood but goes unsaid. Kind of like the kinship motorcyclists feel knowing you share a common experience. I got a sense of it just the other day when sitting around enjoying a few adult beverages with some recent converts/former skeptics (you spent how much on an electric bike?). We were discussing various experiences such as how we had to be cautious on the bike paths because we are so stealthy that we even startle the dogs being walked. But most of all I noticed the undertone of passion for the experience bordering on an addiction we all had.

As an employee at an ebike shop I see it on the faces of my customers on their first ride, that broad smile and expressions such as amazing and wow. My favorite is our business neighbor who said in her broken English " I feel like I have superman's legs". But I also see the disappointment and frustration from those who come for a test ride and feel that thrill but leave because it is out of their financial reach. I so much hope that you are right iain the world really needs an affordable ebike. Something of good quality, reliable and within the reach of the people that really need it. The ones who don't ride a bike for the joy or recreation but because it is all they can afford. I sure hope this industry does not go the way of automobiles which for new ones are ridiculously beyond my means and most of the people I associate with too. I've had to make sacrifices to feed my addiction and add bikes to my stable and I've helped out some friends who I know who needed it by piecing together some used machines who had seen better days.

I think the industry as a whole could use a model T. There are some great affordable ebikes out there like the eZip Trailz as well as inexpensive kits but it would be great if they were lighter or just a little higher quality. I don't think ebikes are the answer for everyone but I really enjoy them.
 

DashRiprock

Active Member
I sure hope so iain. It wasn't that long ago that I can't remember my frustration trying to realize my dream of an electric bike and the sacrifices along the way trying to scrape up the $1500 it cost me to put together my first conversion. But boy was it worth it as I braved the below zero weather for my first test ride and felt that thrill and sense of freedom.

Being older and in poor physical health I thought I had left those days of high performance far back in my youth. I guess that is something you don't hear discussed too often in this forum, it's understood but goes unsaid. Kind of like the kinship motorcyclists feel knowing you share a common experience. I got a sense of it just the other day when sitting around enjoying a few adult beverages with some recent converts/former skeptics (you spent how much on an electric bike?). We were discussing various experiences such as how we had to be cautious on the bike paths because we are so stealthy that we even startle the dogs being walked. But most of all I noticed the undertone of passion for the experience bordering on an addiction we all had.

As an employee at an ebike shop I see it on the faces of my customers on their first ride, that broad smile and expressions such as amazing and wow. My favorite is our business neighbor who said in her broken English " I feel like I have superman's legs". But I also see the disappointment and frustration from those who come for a test ride and feel that thrill but leave because it is out of their financial reach. I so much hope that you are right iain the world really needs an affordable ebike. Something of good quality, reliable and within the reach of the people that really need it. The ones who don't ride a bike for the joy or recreation but because it is all they can afford. I sure hope this industry does not go the way of automobiles which for new ones are ridiculously beyond my means and most of the people I associate with too. I've had to make sacrifices to feed my addiction and add bikes to my stable and I've helped out some friends who I know who needed it by piecing together some used machines who had seen better days.

I think the industry as a whole could use a model T. There are some great affordable ebikes out there like the eZip Trailz as well as inexpensive kits but it would be great if they were lighter or just a little higher quality. I don't think ebikes are the answer for everyone but I really enjoy them.
Wow...it would be hard to find somebody (let alone somebody working for a distributor at the point of purchase) that could claim the above AND be involved/experienced in the technology for that long. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this board.

I agree wholeheartedly with technology (finally) breaking down the old classification descriptions involving transportation and regulatory agencies following.
 

BikingAl

New Member
Wow, some amazing responses! Thanks guys.

I actually just preordered my first ebike and am excited to demo it for people in my area.

My goal is to get people on, show them that they can ride and enjoy it (no matter their physical condition). I'm in a massive biking community yet no one I have spoken too understands about ebikes and some of the benifits.

Thanks again for the responses.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
@lilrich1959 , never knew it's you. Welcome. This forum would benefit from a eBike tech expert like you.

You know if the Bafang BBS02 had five year warranty, that would be killer machine. Unfortunately, reliability isn't their priority. I was speaking to a guy who imports 1000 BBS02 pieces per year and still he doesn't great support from the factory in China.

Right now, BBS02 is the only kit that costs less than $1.3K including the battery and provides excellent range, power (unknown reliability) at this point.

@BikingAl , I saw the Nitro's at the Interbike and they are beautiful machines. I was told late October is when most dealers would receive it. With the larger chain ring, 48V system and a 500W geared motor, it's fast and stealthy looking bike. I'll look forward to your review :)
 

Rich Wolf

New Member
I think lower price points are the key. Right now you have to spend over $2500 to get a quality e-bike. I know the battery cost seems to be the limiting factor but prices will come down and range will go up. I really wonder how many units per month are being sold through to the consumer in the states? And just who are the consumers of these bikes? And once purchase how much are they being used?
I owned a bicycle shop for a number of years and I know only a small percentage of the bikes I sold saw a lot of use. Most of them ended up with flats and still hang from the rafters to this day! Back then $500 could buy you a decent bike and even today you can get quality bikes under $1000.
The industry is in a huge growth spurt right now with a mind boggling number of manufacturers. I am sure there will be a huge shakeout sooner rather than later.
I look at the bicycle industry too and see technology and pricing going through the roof. $10,000 road and mountain bikes are not uncommon, but if you look at the statistics bike sales are flat and bike usage is down except for the small percentage of enthusiasts and that demographic is 50 plus years old! Kids don't bike anymore at least in the numbers they did when I was a kid (61 years old now).
Another key is better and safer bicycling facilities. With our roads getting more crowded and falling apart it is not so attractive in many parts of the country to ride a bike or e-bike. The key to changing this is advocacy groups and getting involved.
Biking should be simple and I think E-biking should be simple too. Bells and whistles are fine but if they add to the complexity, cost and lower the reliability of an E-bike then I don't think it will appeal to the masses. If a complex bike is sold with a lot of proprietary parts and the manufacturer goes out of business then a lot of people will get left holding the bag.
 

John L.

Member
This modular Virtus mid-drive concept by Sunstar looks very intriguing. They're not in the US (yet), but they debuted the system at Eurobike 2014. I think this concept has a lot of potential: mid-drive motor that can be installed or removed for use on different bikes. It also apparently uses your bike's existing crankset, which allows for multiple chainrings and wider gear ranges. Multiple battery configurations also would enable the rider to keep weight light on shorter rides and add the additional battery capacity for longer ones.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I think lower price points are the key. Right now you have to spend over $2500 to get a quality e-bike. I know the battery cost seems to be the limiting factor but prices will come down and range will go up. I really wonder how many units per month are being sold through to the consumer in the states? And just who are the consumers of these bikes? And once purchase how much are they being used?
I owned a bicycle shop for a number of years and I know only a small percentage of the bikes I sold saw a lot of use. Most of them ended up with flats and still hang from the rafters to this day! Back then $500 could buy you a decent bike and even today you can get quality bikes under $1000.
The industry is in a huge growth spurt right now with a mind boggling number of manufacturers. I am sure there will be a huge shakeout sooner rather than later.
I look at the bicycle industry too and see technology and pricing going through the roof. $10,000 road and mountain bikes are not uncommon, but if you look at the statistics bike sales are flat and bike usage is down except for the small percentage of enthusiasts and that demographic is 50 plus years old! Kids don't bike anymore at least in the numbers they did when I was a kid (61 years old now).
Another key is better and safer bicycling facilities. With our roads getting more crowded and falling apart it is not so attractive in many parts of the country to ride a bike or e-bike. The key to changing this is advocacy groups and getting involved.
Biking should be simple and I think E-biking should be simple too. Bells and whistles are fine but if they add to the complexity, cost and lower the reliability of an E-bike then I don't think it will appeal to the masses. If a complex bike is sold with a lot of proprietary parts and the manufacturer goes out of business then a lot of people will get left holding the bag.

You seem to get the situation about right. In Utah, both in Metro Salt Lake, and in St. George, the basic cyclists (the Lycras) are doing a great job of getting bike infrastructure. There aren't that many e-bikers, and they don't really have any presence.

I don't think ebikes can push the limits of their technology and still say to the cyclists "Oh, yeah. We're with you guys. See you on the bike path."

My future is like $1500 ebikes in places with great cycling infrastructure, where the motor and non-motor operators are in good harmony. But other areas of electric transport may really be the key, if you want efficiency and sustainability. Bikes work best below 20 mph. If you want greater speed, there are sound reasons to look at other designs.

Side Note: I guess Ravi has some responsibilties outside this forum, but I hope he makes it back some day. Really bright guy with endless insights.
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
eBikes might be like hybrid cars when they first started out. Cool technology, gets better over time, prices come down over time or trickle down. Some people hate the very thought of them and would never be caught dead or alive on one and are purists. eBikes will have their niche. I would expect lots more bikes under the sweet spot of $1999 in the future, especially as technology evolves. Then there will be more companies and then later some consolidation as bigger eBike companies eat up some of the smaller fish.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
The market will be driven by two demographics: Retiring Boomers, we have a lot of cash and time and we want to try new things, or old things in new packages... And professional women and men who like new toys.

So ST2 is floating the balloon on the high end, and the Copenhagen wheel is floating the low end... by that I mean simplicity, not technology.

I personally hope Copenhagen has a strong following, as this will encourage others to perfect the bolt on eBike, and that will fit perfectly with existing LBS. Plus there will be many more bike choices if you're able to just bolt on an EBike.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
The market will be driven by two demographics: Retiring Boomers, we have a lot of cash and time and we want to try new things, or old things in new packages... And professional women and men who like new toys.

So ST2 is floating the balloon on the high end, and the Copenhagen wheel is floating the low end... by that I mean simplicity, not technology.

I personally hope Copenhagen has a strong following, as this will encourage others to perfect the bolt on eBike, and that will fit perfectly with existing LBS. Plus there will be many more bike choices if you're able to just bolt on an EBike.

There are so many interesting things happening. Even the Elio, which is still gasoline, is pushing ahead and really getting some interest. BMW has their folding scooter, other people have interesting ideas for 'portable' transport.

http://www.gizmag.com/muve-three-wheel-electric-scooter/35354/

The battery tech is driving everything. If you figure a full kilowatt hour in a lithium system is around $1000, and you can create a vehicle that needs a 200 watt hour battery to go 15 miles, or whatever, the economics are great. At current prices, the power you need for a heavier full size scooter or motorcycle is still high, but making a lot more sense. Right now, the economics favor something like a bike. Down the road (sorry), you're looking at stuff that will be in traffic.

Tesla is now on the path to invest $5 billion in a plant that will double the global production of lithium-ion batteries by decade’s end -- and while most of those batteries will go to its electric cars, 15 gigawatt-hours per year will be for the stationary energy storage market. In the meantime, Asian competitors (or partners) like Panasonic, LG Chem, NEC/A123 and a host of Chinese contenders are pushing toward the magical price point of $500 per kilowatt-hour for lithium-ion batteries at scale, leading big grid storage players like AES to name it the battery chemistry of choice for the rest of the decade.

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-top-10-energy-storage-stories-of-2014



I'm keeping an eye on the two speed hub drive. Since it's an automatic clutch, there's nothing the rider has to do. It gives a low end ebike a hill climbing gear. It might be the way to go. Mid drive is still pretty pricey, and the cheaper versions are not so user friendly.

Maybe if the self-contained wheel proves itself (So you guys really want to put the batteries in a centrifuge?). They might sell. The development costs will be paid down. Then, if they get some numbers, these devices could be pretty cheap to churn out in big numbers. So they are in a bin at the checkout, something like that.

You have to be pretty excited, keep an open mind...
 
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biknut

Active Member
As an ebike technician at Crazy Lenny's and a longtime member of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association as well as running a repair shop of my own for close to forty years off and on I have an interest in all kinds of emerging transportation alternatives.

Building my own conversions when the technology was in it's infancy in the US gave me a great appreciation of the challenges and advances that have come so far. Customer questions about the present models of course center on some knowingly unobtainable goals it seems that everyone is chasing after the perpetual motion machine without an understanding that there is no free ride.

In five years realistically I see an exponential growth in range, speed and power. As the market grows and a greater understanding of the limitations are met we will see a move away from the weight and configuration of previous human powered bikes and designs more in line with electric powered transportation from the onset. Regulatory agencies will struggle with the legal and social issues as they always do while the technicians push beyond the boundaries into new waters. I see a wide range of transportation options developing which will resist classifications such as bicycle, car or whatever.
My vision for the future is very similar to this.

So far I see most people still thinking as in the past. Bicycles, are bicycles, motorcycles are motorcycles, and government agencies are just as bad.

I think eventually bicycles, and motorcycles will pretty much merge into one. Everything is going to be a lot lighter than in the past. In the future there probably won't be a motorcycle that weighs over 200 lb. I wouldn't be surprised if motorcycles of the future have pedals, since most of them will be light enough to use them.

Governmental agencies already are struggling trying to classify electric vehicles, and that's going to be even harder in the future. I think eventually they'll have to give up trying to classify the vehicle, and instead start classifying the rider/driver, because a vehicles classification will have no meaning when you can hit a button and change it to anything.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Elio has their 3 wheeled car. It's classified as a motorcycle by the Feds. Since it's an enclosed body, that's not a great classification. Elio has had to work through several states to get rid of helmet and Motorcycle license requirements. The process has taken several years, and isn't done. They have 40,000 paid reservations, but the delivery is still out some months.

GenZe, the Indian company, has their 200 pound scooter. I doubt they want to sell it as a motorcycle. In California it sort of qualifies as a Moped, but that's a 30 MPH limit. Where I live, it's a straight up low power motorcycle, with all the requirements. The 2000-4000 watt cycle with a 3 kwh (and up) battery is where the tech is heading. The cycle could be a bike, a small scooter, or a small motorcycle, and it will cost about what premium ebikes cost right now. I don't know where they will end up with 50 states and 50 sets of regs. I don't know what gets access to bike paths, who has to have a license, registration, or insurance. Utah is pretty restrictive, with any ebike being classed as a motor vehicle. They aren't subject to motorcycle requirements, under 75 pounds, but they aren't bikes.

The battery in a Zero, around 10 kwh and up, is most of the price. In five years, the Zero could be $5k less as battery prices drop. You could make a commuter motorcycle with less battery capacity, anyway.

The battery tech today favors ebikes. The tech in 3 years favors more powerful, street type cycles. The tech in 7 years, give or take, will favor small cars. That's my guess.