Today e-bikes are making a strong comeback after several unsuccessful market attempts. Early e-bikes were plagued by issues such as, limited range, service life of lead-acid batteries, total weight, overall quality, reliability, lack of serviceability and available spare parts. All these factors hindered the general acceptance of e-bikes.
Back in 2000, Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler, had a dream of producing e-bikes that would change the way the world thought about electric transportation. He was a brilliant visionary, but perhaps ahead of his time. Today, there are hundreds of e-bike manufactures and many automobile manufactures are now adding e-bikes as part of their product portfolio.
Current categories of e-bikes include fixed frame and folding, with either front, mid, rear hub or friction drives systems, mainly powered by longer life rechargeable lithium batteries. Although prices in general are becoming more affordable, reliable and serviceable e-bikes are still out of reach for many people. Less expensive retrofit kits are now available that offer environmentally friendly solutions allowing commuters to keep their original bikes.
There are many health, cost, time and environmental benefits offered by e-bikes including increased range and power. e-bikes also offer a more pleasant and rewarding alternative to commuting or recreational cycling. In the very near future, technology is sure to inject innovation into this market resulting in a more affordable and reliable personal urban transportation solution.