History & status of Electric Bicycle

An electric bicycle, also called an e-bike or booster bicycle, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion.

E-bikes are the electric motor-powered versions of motorized bicycles, which have been around since the late 19th century.


In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within a range of U.S. patents.1

2 years later, in 1897, Hosea W. Libbey of Boston invented an electric bicycle that was derived by a “double electric motor”.

By 1898 a rear-wheel drive electric bicycle, which used a driving belt along the exterior fringe of the wheel, was patented by Mathew J. Steffens. Also, the 1899, by John Schnepf depicted a rear-wheel friction “roller-wheels” style drive electric bicycle.

Production rose from 1993 to 2004 by an estimated 35%. By contrast, according to Gardner, in 1995 regular bicycle production reduced from its peak 107 million units.

By 2001 the terms e-bike, power bicycle, “pedelec”, pedal-assisted, & power-assisted bicycle were often used to refer to electric bike Australia.

By 2007 e-bikes were thought to make up ten to twenty percent of all two-wheeled vehicles on the streets of plenty of major cities. A typical unit requires 8 hours to charge the battery, which provides the range of 25 to 30 miles (40 to 48 km), at the speed of around twenty km/h.

Status of E-bikes in Australia

In Australia, the e-bike is defined by the Australian Vehicle Standards as a bicycle that has an auxiliary motor with a highest power output not exceeding 200 W without consideration for speed limits or pedal sensors. Each state is accountable for deciding how to treat such a vehicle and currently all states have the same opinion that such a vehicle does not need licensing or registration. A variety of groups are lobbying for a boost in this lower bound to encourage more pervasive use of e-bikes to assist in mobility, health profits and to reduce blocking, contamination and road danger. Some states have their own regulations such as no riding under electric power on bicycle paths and through built up areas so riders ought to view the state laws regarding their use. There is no license and no registration necessary for e-bike usage.

Since 30 May 2012, Australia has an additional new e-bike section using the European Union model of a pedelec as per the CE EN15194 standard. This means the e-bike can have a motor of 250W of continuous rated power which can only be activated by pedaling (if above 6 km/h) & must cut out over 25 km/h – if so it is classed as a traditional bicycle. The state of Victoria is the first to fine-tune their local road rules to accommodate this new standard which came in to effect on 18 September 2012.


About The Author: Our EVnova commitment to you is simple – everything we sell comes with the promise that if it breaks, doesn’t work or does not do what you expected, you will always be supported by a local business owned and run by fellow Aussies.

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