Electric bicycle patents date as far back as the early 1890s. (This is not a typo. It is NOT supposed to read 1980. Electric bicycles were already being designed in the 1890s!) E-bikes, as they are now known, are the electric-powered motorized versions of motorized bicycles. There are motorized bicycles, motorcycles, and mopeds. How do all of these compare to electric bicycles?
What exactly are Electric Bicycles?
Electric bicycles are bikes first. They look just like the bikes that 10-year-old kids ride, complete with pedals and gears, shifters and a chain drive, all situated on a bike frame. However, e-bikes have batteries and electric motors to help propel them forward, for instance, if a cyclist gets tired of manual pedal propulsion going uphill or needs some extra momentum. Electric bicycles can take the rider a further distance for a, sometimes, longer duration, than their purely pedal-powered cousins.
How do Electric Bicycles Differ from Motorized Bicycles?
Electric bicycles are so different from motorized bicycles that it is a misnomer to call them the same at all. A motorized bike is more like a light motorcycle or moped. Some of these may be powered by electricity, but many are gasoline-fueled or powered by internal combustion. The “pedals” on motorized bicycles are simply a place to rest the rider’s feet. Since motorized bicycles weigh hundreds of pounds, the thought of manually pedaling these is not realistic. These two-wheel machines generally require a special permit to ride and are regulated by government agencies the same as motorcycles.
On the other hand, electric bicycles are light-weight, battery-powered bicycles that can be pedaled manually or propelled by the small motor. They do not use gasoline and do not need special permits to be ridden.
How do Electric Bicycles Differ from Motorcycles?
Electric bicycles differ from motorcycles in the same ways that they differ from the motorized bicycles above. Motorcycles also pack a lot more power for speed and do not allow for any physical exercise by way of pedaling. Motorcycle engines are generally quite loud, and these “bikes” require registration, insurance and a separate license for on-the-road use.
Electric bicycles do not require any registration, special insurance, or licenses to be operated. Simply hop on, if you are of age, and go!
How do Electric Bicycles Differ from Mopeds?
Electric bicycles have pedals and are a form of exercise whereas mopeds have no manual pedals and often require a license to drive them, along with insurance and registration. Another difference between these two “bikes” is that electric bicycles may travel on sidewalks and biking trails while mopeds may not.
Electric Bicycle Benefits
To summarize the benefits of driving an electric bicycle versus any of the other two-wheel vehicles on the roads, sidewalks or other types of terrain:
- Electric bicycles are quiet
- E-bike batteries are very inexpensive to charge
- They can be “parked” in the same places as bicycles, including on racks and in garages – free of charge
- Electric bicycles keep riders physically fit
- E-bikes are lightweight
- No registration or insurance fees are due
- Safer than their motorcycle cousins
- Easily mounted on an automobile’s bike rack for transport to other areas
- Electric bicycles are rideable on biking trails and lanes