The Future for Ebikes According to Edward Benjamin


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Edward Benjamin Senior Managing Director of eCycleElectric LLC, and Chairman of Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA) guests posts at Electric Bike Report on the electric bike of the future.

We have not seen the end of improvement in utility. Batteries in particular have room for improvement. Motors will become even more efficient. The bikes will become even more beautiful. And just like a Toyota – they will rarely need service attention. Rolling resistance and aerodynamics will become important areas for improvement.

However, the bikes of the future will be far more interesting in the way they interact with traffic, with the user, and with other riders.

We are on the cusp of a time when almost all vehicles will be “talking” to each other while on the road. Combined with radar and GPS, vehicles will be avoiding collisions, staying out of each other’s way, making the best choices for traffic congestion and route – all with minimal input from the human operator.



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The idea of vehicles talking to each other to avoid collisions may seem some sort of futuristic vision but it is already here and available, I have it myself. It's called FLARM in Europe and PowerFlarm in the US and is installed in gliders to help prevent them from running into each other. Gliders, which commonly fly without power for 3 to 6 hours for hundreds of miles at altitudes of up to 25,000' (the record is 59,000') tend to collect and fly in close proximity to each other, both circling in tight 'gaggles' in lift and when crossing mountain ranges like the Alps flying in narrow corridors through mountain passes. The result has been too many fatal collisions, so a Swiss company developed FLARM which uses GPS to determine location, calculates the predicted path of the aircraft, and transmits this information. Another aircraft with FLARM does the same, the two (or twelve or whatever) FLARM units look for possible collision paths, show the aircraft on a display, and alarm if needed. This means you can have eight gliders in a tight, circling formation with no alarms unless someone makes a wrong move. Works very well and costs about $2,000. In Europe very common and in the US becoming so.

Number one issue is for it to work everyone has to have it, and given the difference in the predictability of aircraft vs bikes I don't see how you could adapt it to bikes, but it does exist.