BENEFITS OF ELECTRIC BIKES
Why would I buy an electric bike?
In simple terms electric bikes provide additional power to the rider. This in turn means they have a wider appeal to a greater cross section of people.
Are electric bikes cheating?
One of the greatest misconceptions about electric bikes is that they operate like a motorbike or scooter. Modern ebikes provide additional assistance to the rider but you have to pedal to activate the motor. Most have a range of assistance levels so the bike assistance can be tailored to the riders fitness level or the gradient of the slope.
The reason electric bikes are a good form of exercise is that in general riders will travel further than on a conventional bike and because it is enjoyable they are also more likely to ride regularly. Consistent riding has a number of benefits including increasing fitness levels, improving mental wellbeing and providing a great source of fun.
What are the benefits of owning an electric bike?
1. Travel faster than most conventional bikes
2. Enjoy riding uphill
3. Reduce perspiration for commuters
4. Additional speed is safer for take off in traffic
5. Easier on the body
6. Alternative to the car/public transport saving the environment and your pocket
7. Travel further for longer
8. People of any fitness or mobility can enjoy riding
9. Free parking
10. Lot’s of fun!
Do electric bikes reduce daily commute?
When looking at daily commuting people generally use 5 modes of transport:
1. The car
2. The train
3. The bus
If you are travelling in urban areas in general an electric bike will be faster than all the above modes of transport. During peak times in most cities in Australia the average speed drops dramatically to around 20km/h. With electric bikes you can easily maintain this average speed. The key ways you reduce your commuting time are:
1. Higher average speeds
2. Ability to utilise cycle lanes
3. Ability to use bike paths
4. Ability to use foot paths
5. No waiting for public transport
6. No time wasted finding a car park
7. No need to change clothes or shower when arriving in the office
8. Avoid traffic congestion by alternating route away from busy roads
USES OF ELECTRIC BIKES
What do people use electric bikes for?
1. Commuting to work
2. Taking kids to school (these are generally called cargo bikes or city bikes with kid seats)
3. Running errands (shopping etc.)
4. Exploring outdoors
5. Bike tours
6. Mountain biking
8. eBike shares (such as new initiative from Brisbane City Council)
9. Form of exercise
10. For fun!
FEATURES OF ELECTRIC BIKES
How fast do they go?
Most electric bikes in Australia have a max speed of 25km/hour. However you can exceed this speed downhill or on the flat with your own pedal power. Ebikes with an assisted max speed of over 25km/h require a licence to be ridden legally.
What is the range of an electric bike?
Most electric bikes will offer a range of 30-50km. The range will depend on several other factors:
• How much wind
• How flat or hilly the riding conditions are
• How much pedal power the rider provides
• The weight of the rider (cargo load), the heavier the less range
• The size of the battery on the bike
• The age of the battery (older batteries will reduce range)
How long will the batteries last?
There are two measures of battery quality:
1. Depth of discharge (DOD), how much charge the battery retains over its useful life
2. Total number of times the battery can be charged in its lifetime
The battery is a key component of an electric bike. The cost of your bike will be determined by the quality of the battery on your bike. The battery is the equivalent of your fuel tank and source of power for your bike.
Generally speaking you are looking for a cycle life in excess of 600 charges. The total number is determined by whether you follow some simple rules around battery maintenance.
1. Avoid quick charging, use a slower charge
2. Ensure battery is kept at correct room temperature
3. Always keep at least 60% charge in your battery if left for extended periods of time
4. Use 80-90% of your battery before charging
5. Handle your battery with care, dropping the battery can severely limit its lifecycle.
How long will the battery take to charge?
A full recharge should take from 3-6 hours. This depends on the size of the battery and the remaining charge left. As above it is better to not use quick charge function. It may be better to purchase a spare battery that can be swapped over if you are the forgetful type of person.
LAWS AROUND ELECTRIC BIKES
Why can’t electric bikes go faster than 25km/h without needing a licence?
There is some debate as to whether bikes should be allowed to go faster but the reason is that above this speed they are classified as a scooter or motorcycle. Higher speeds would mean more regulation such as requirements for registration, insurance etc. In addition, higher speed electric bikes would also limit where ebikes can be ridden.
Are electric bikes legal?
Yes they are legal in all states and territories of Australia. All electric bikes that are imported into Australia must comply with strict European standards EN15194:2017. Any importer must provide customs with this compliance certificate along with a material safety datasheet (MSDS) and certificate of safe transportation. This means that the bike has met all the required safety standards to be sold in Australia.
What is not “road legal” are bikes that have a motor of more than 250W that exceed a max speed of 25km/h. Electric bikes with larger motors should only be ridden on private land and not on public roads and footpaths. Currently this is not generally enforced by the police as it is very difficult to prove.
Another grey area is the use of throttle assist. Generally, if the electric bike has a motor that is 200W or less (the old standard) then the throttle can only carry you to 6km/hr. If you see someone zooming past on a bicycle at 30km/hr and not pedalling then chances are it's not a road legal electric bike.
Do I need a licence to ride an electric bike?
You do not need a licence to ride an electric bike. There is no registration or insurance requirements either. Most electric bikes are under the classification of non-road vehicles under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. Electric bikes come under the classification of power-assisted pedal cycles.
They must meet the following criteria's:
To be assessed as a ‘non-road’ vehicle, power-assisted pedal cycles must have a maximum power output of 200 watts or less or 250 watts for a Pedalec. These vehicles are categorised as AB vehicles under the national standards (Australian Design Rules) and as such do not need to comply with standards.
A Pedalec is a power-assisted pedal cycle meeting European Committee for Standardization—EN 15194:2009 or EN 15194:2009+A1:2011 Cycles—Electrically power assisted cycles—EPAC Bicycles, 250 watts.
Technical specifications issued by the manufacturer, including evidence of the power output, should be attached to the application form. For a Pedalec the EN 15194:2009 or EN 15194:2009+A1:2011 statement of conformity should also be supplied.
Please note that where a power-assisted pedal cycle exceeds 200 watts,or does not meet the Pedalec definition it is considered a LA/LB (Moped) under the national standards or a LC (Motorcycle) and must comply with the requirements of other import options. These vehicles cannot be imported as ‘non-road’ vehicles unless they meet other ‘non-road’ vehicle requirements.
Are electric bikes safe?
Electric bikes are very safe and there are studies to prove that they are considered safer than traditional bicycles. In Europe many insurance companies actually offer lower insurance premiums as electric bikes were in less accidents and stolen less.
One of the reasons electric bikes are safer is the additional speed up hills mean bikes disrupt the flow of traffic less. Maintaining a higher average speed is less hindrance on traffic and safer for all road users.