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  • Writer's picturetonygowland

A little history on electric bikes

Electric bicycles have been around for a lot longer than you may think. The e-bikes we know and love have a surprisingly long history that dates back all the way into the mid-1880’s. Over the years it has been attempted by many to motorize personal transport and the bicycle was obviously the perfect platform to do just that.

The first models of electric bikes started appearing in the late 19th Century. In 1867 and 1886, even before the first appearance of the electric bicycle, two inventors invented a motorized bicycle that used a steam engine and internal combustion engine. One of the first patents for electric bicycles was issued at the end of 1895 by Ogden Bolton Jr. He introduced the first official electric bicycle that includes: "6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel.” This use of the hub motor was incredibly important as in the 21st century it is vastly used in the electric bicycle industry and it is one of the best ways to propel the electric bicycle, superseding the inefficient friction drive methods.

Over the years different aspects of the electric bicycle started getting introduced by various inventors. One of these included Hosea W. Libbey’s invention. She invented an electric bicycle with two motors, two batteries and two wheels. This was really the first use of a proper controller ( a brain ) for the electric bicycle and the same sort of technology, but much more advanced is still used today.

The main design of an electric bicycle in the 21st century consists of the traditional bike frame and a small electric motor that is powered by light rechargeable batteries. Today, the electric bike industry is huge and carries on growing. On the roads of China, there are now roughly 120 million E-Bikes. In the USA and Europe, electric bikes are sold in the millions - proving how much this industry is growing and how technology has improved throughout the centuries.

The next steps are exciting and surely focus on battery technology; The first mass produced bikes used lead-acid cells before the rise of lithium power. Lithium has its issues though and research continues into lighter and quicker charging alternatives to the traditional lithium cells used today, and the adoption of electric cell technology by all the major car companies will mean development will move forward at a pace.

Here at Electric Bike World, we supply some of the most technologically advanced electric bicycles out there on the market, so you know we are the company for you.

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