Electric powered bikes, bicycles with motors Stories about electric bikes, powered bicycles

17Apr/104

Are hybrid electric bikes the future of electric bicycles?

Hybrid electric bikes aren't dinosaurs!

Hybrid electric bikes aren't dinosaurs!

Electric bicycle technology has come a long way. The days of 100 lb moped style dinosaurs are thankfully far behind us. These early electric bikes hardly had the feel of a traditional bicycle and were impossible to pedal without motor assistance. Evolving battery and electric motor technologies have spurred a trend towards electric bicycles which are both lighter and have a longer range than ever before. This is made possible through a combination of human and motor power. With the traditional drawbacks of electric bikes fading into memory, this new species of electric bicycles emerges: the hybrid electric bike!

You may be wondering what exactly makes a hybrid electric bike different from any other electric bike? I mean, you could always pedal those older electric bicycles. Isn't that combining human power with the motor too? You're right, partially. The main difference is that older electric bikes were not sensitive to pedal force. The motor would put out the same amount of power regardless of how hard you pedaled. This usually amounted to the majority of power coming from the motor. As a result the motor tends to run most, if not all the time. This leads to rapid depletion of the battery and shorter range. So how do true hybrid electric bikes work their magic?

The key difference is the pedal torque sensor. All true electric hybrid bicycles have one. A torque sensor sits within the bottom bracket and reads the force put into the pedals by the rider. This information is then sent to a controller which proportionally adds motor assistance. That all sounds pretty complex, but in a nutshell it means the harder you pedal the more motor assistance you get. This smooth integration of human and electric power leads to some other great advantages an electric hybrid bicycle.

Because you are contributing a good amount of effort, a hybrid electric bicycle's motor doesn't have to work as hard all the time. This translates to a longer lasting charge in the battery and a greater overall range. The most advanced hybrid electric bikes can even recharge their own battery while you ride. This regenerative braking is achieved by using a motor brake to control speed while riding downhill and when coming to a stop. Although it is unrealistic to fully recharge the battery by this method it does increase range significantly. The advantages an electric hybrid bike are not purely limited to technology however. They are also by nature more enjoyable to ride.

The hybrid electric bike represents a movement in the industry to develop an electric bike which feels and handles like a regular bike. This means they are lighter, more agile, and able to be pedaled without motor assistance. Two camps withing the world of hybrid electric bikes approach this issue from different angles. Camp one uses hub motor add-on kits like the BionX which take the place of the rear wheel on any normal bike, effectively converting it to a electric hybrid bike. Camp two represents fully integrated hybrid electric bicycles, designed with the latest in battery technology and frame design to make them close to a regular bike as possible.

Hybrid electric bicycles represent the future of electric biking. By combining human and electric power this class of electric bikes can go farther than any other. Because they are much lighter and require the rider to contribute to powering the bike they feel and handle much like a regular bike. The age of super heavy throttle powered electric bikes is coming to a close. Have a look at some of the hybrid electric bikes ushering in a new era of ultra-efficient, fun to ride electric bicycles!

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