Why buy an electric bicycle?

biknut

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Sep 28, 2010
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Why would anyone buy an electric bicycle for $1,500-2000 when they could buy a nice store bought gas powered bicycle for around $600 or 700? Or if they felt so inclined they could spend $1,500 and get a really great gas powered bicycle.

Legal issues? That's the only reason I can think of.
 

BarelyAWake

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Jul 21, 2009
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Depends on a few things, range & usage ofc - if yer inner-city and need to bring it inside, if you've got a short commute, even if ya jus' like to tinker with "zot" instead of "vroom" *shrug*

There's a charm to electrics, clean, quiet & simple operation being pretty attractive for some ;)
 

Hammond Egger

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Oct 23, 2010
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A lot if people live in apartments. Landlords tend to frown on a tenant storing things like gasoline, propane, and other assorted explosives.
 
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biknut

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Don't some battery's tend to explode and catch fire. Plus there's the disposal problem. I don't really have a problem with that though, it's just the huge cost discrepancy.
 

Thud

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May 26, 2010
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Don't some battery's tend to explode and catch fire. Plus there's the disposal problem. I don't really have a problem with that though, it's just the huge cost discrepancy.
Like gasoline???. No. none "tend to explode" or burn. Abused or mishandled anything is posable.

biggest issue is the clean factor & ultimate reliability. Properly handled batteries will = the cost of gasoline before needing replacment. With minimal maintinace. & for a bicycle, ellectric can be totaly stealth onto the bike paths & sidewalks.

Don't even think electrics are behind in the performance levels...Dogmans E-bike was running a solid 2nd at the holloween death race. (1st if you count the leader being black flaged for safety violations)
 

Dave31

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Mar 1, 2008
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We had a bicycle shop that got some new electric bikes and they added them to there showroom floor. That very night the shop caught fire due to one of the e-bikes catching fire. Now they refuse to have anything to do with motor-assisted bicycles gas or electric.
 

biknut

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Sep 28, 2010
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Like gasoline???. No. none "tend to explode" or burn. Abused or mishandled anything is posable.

biggest issue is the clean factor & ultimate reliability. Properly handled batteries will = the cost of gasoline before needing replacment. With minimal maintinace. & for a bicycle, ellectric can be totaly stealth onto the bike paths & sidewalks.

Don't even think electrics are behind in the performance levels...Dogmans E-bike was running a solid 2nd at the holloween death race. (1st if you count the leader being black flaged for safety violations)
I'm thinking an electric bike can't go very far at top speed, lets say about 25 mph, without a battery that weighs a 1000 lbs.
 

biknut

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If I could go 25 mph for 100 miles and weigh less than 100 lbs I could maybe get interested in one. I don't believe that's possible now.
 

SANGESF

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Feb 23, 2009
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Absolutely possible...
Mine can do 30mph+ (but currently "governed" to do 20), has a 100+ mile range and weighs in around the 100lbs. (Most of the weight is the BIKE and not the batteries).
Trust me, any more than 35 miles at any one time, is just not that much fun on your butt.

FYI.. I just hit the 20,000 mile mark yesterday on my bike... In just under 18mo.
 
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SANGESF

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If I could go 25 mph for 100 miles and weigh less than 100 lbs I could maybe get interested in one. I don't believe that's possible now.
What you REALLY want, are specs like that for a "reasonable" price on an electric...
With a little luck and some know-how, you could achieve that for ~ $1500.

My current bike cost me over $2000 but I have EVERY conceivable item setup on it.
 

SANGESF

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We had a bicycle shop that got some new electric bikes and they added them to there showroom floor. That very night the shop caught fire due to one of the e-bikes catching fire. Now they refuse to have anything to do with motor-assisted bicycles gas or electric.
I'm sure one of the employees was tinkering around with one of the batteries or hooked them up incorrectly.

As a general rule, unless you miss handle one of the Lithium Polymer batts they don't catch fire or explode.

LiFePO4 batts (like the ones I use) don't catch fire or explode... Even if you shorted one of the cells and left it for hours, it would just swell up until it "gassed" itself and the gases are not generally combustable. (I'm speaking from experience here).
 

Electric Rider

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Nov 8, 2010
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If you already have a bike, just get a conversion kit. That's what I did. The kit cost $526.00. That includes a hub motor rated for max at 750 watts with no heat loss, (relates to 30 to 35 mph Electric Motor for Bike) Brake levers with motor cut off switch, speed controller, throttle with battery power indicator, on/off switch and battery charger.

I mounted it to a new mountain bike (got good deal cost 100 bucks) for a total of $626 dollars.

I can go 20 mph now with 36v but all I have to do is add another 12v battery to give me 48v and the 30 to 35 mph speeds. The speed controller is rated for 60 volts max. If I get a lithium battery putting out 52 volts I may be able to get close to 40 mph I am told. Drawback is lithium batteries are very costly and sla batts though cheaper are twice as heavy for same voltage. Lithium lasts 3 to 4 times longer than sla so you get what you pay for.

I'm just making the point that you don't have to spend 1000 + bucks for a nice electric ride.
 

Black_Moons

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Oct 25, 2010
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Voltage does not matter when buying batterys and is not a valid way to compair batterys.

Watt hours do. Thats Voltage*AH of a battery.
It should also be noted that SLA's AH rating is typicaly a 20hour discharge rating. Meaning its how many AH you get at 0.05C or discharging the battery over 20 hours. At 1 hour, Its about half that. Below 1 hour it does not reduce too much, But its something to heavily consider as most electric bikes don't have more then 1 hour runtime.

Lithium is really king for portable electric storage in volume and weight. Loses a little in peak current (for starter motors mainly) and bigtime in price however to SLA. Nimh is a balance beween the two in most respects.


Lipo (Not sure about some of the newer chemistrys, I think some are safer) can and have been recorded to catch fire when improperly charged, punctured, overheated, overdischarged, etc, And generaly have 2 safty circuits (One in the charger or device, one on the battery pack itself) to help prevent this... Of course, On some chinese batterys these circuits where known to fail, or the cell would itself internaly, Catching fire.

SLA can emit some hydrogen that is a danger.

Gasoline fumes are well a danger.

However: Theres a big diffrence beween gasoline fumes ignition range and hydrogen.
"The flammability limits based on the volume percent of hydrogen in air at 14.7 psia (1 atm, 101 kPa) are 4.0% to 75.0%"
"The flammability range of gasoline is between 1.4 and 7.6%"
"Hydrogen-air mixtures can ignite with very low energy input, 1/10th that required igniting a gasoline-air mixture. For reference, an invisible spark or a static spark from a person can cause ignition."

Also, you can't smell hydrogen. And if any battery is punctured it generaly ends up.. Badly. Having a gas tank punctured/leak is usally just a smelly mess.

Batterys are made of everything needed to complete a high energy reaction. Gasoline is only one element and needs a rather precise mix with oxygen to react.

Overall I think gasoline is actualy safer then large electric storage systems.
And gasoline has a very good safty ratio. Electric cars have been known to catch fire due to small mechanical defects. And generaly gasoline never 'explodes' like you see in the movies.
 

SANGESF

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Feb 23, 2009
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What about government and state incentives, like tax breaks? What's available?
I've been looking for months, and haven't found anything, including grants.
If ANYONE knows where to get a grant through the government, I would really appreciate it. (either personal grant, or a grant for starting an ebike biz)

There was this one guy on another site that got a grant from some company, to do "research" for the middle school that he was a teacher in, but I know for a fact that this guy is gonna keep it for himself once he's got it put together.
I don't want to be sneaky about it, I want to go through the correct channels.
 

Electric Rider

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Nov 8, 2010
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I've been looking for months, and haven't found anything, including grants.
If ANYONE knows where to get a grant through the government, I would really appreciate it. (either personal grant, or a grant for starting an ebike biz)
Sangedf and Biknut - I have researched this also. Conclusion: Nope, Nada, Zip. The U.S. Gov does not offer ANY grants for Anyone to start a new business.. even a Green one. I thought for sure I had heard they did stuff like that. It turns out we have all been misinformed by the likes of Mathew Lesko. The Gov only offers research type grants to scientists and universities and they are very hard to get anyway. Nothing for a new business but Loans which are also very hard to get.

What a bummer.