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History of the Electric Bicycle: How It All Started

Posted by Marvin Rainford on

  A small motor assisting the pedal movement of the rider constitutes how an electric bike functions. In the late 1800s, the very first step towards the creation of electric bikes were taken. The purpose was to make the roads safe without sacrificing on the comfort of the rider.

  In 1881 Gustave Trouvé from France wanted to conduct derivative conclusions out from how electricity and wheeling components would come across in a vehicle. His experiments included a tricycle (the Starley Coventry Lever Tricycle) which he combined with electronics and machinery to reinvent cycling. This brilliant utilization of his resources made a starling impact on further discoveries and recreations.



 Charles Theryc introduced a patented new creation to boost the efficiency of the hub-motor with well-equipped formative components. It made it possible for the motor to work much faster and quicker than before. His patent from 1896 includes a brushed planetary geared hub-motor.

  In 1897, Hosea W. Libbey and his revolutionizing discovery made a change by expediting the power of the motor and excluding the pedal from the initial design. The motor was found to be impacting significantly on the overall acceleration of the bike, resulting in a proficient speed and multiplying power density; which lead to the observation that a non-hub motor can work just as competently as a large motor. The lack of pedals in the design and structure made the critics argue that this is in fact a scooter and not a bike.

  In 1897, the Humber Electric Tandem was featured in the Stanley show to exhibit a marvelous creation of a two-rider bicycle with four accumulators of an electric motor. The unified power of a two-man pedal machine with the extensive speed of the motor made it capable to prolong the cycling time and speed.



In 1898, Gordon J. Scott was granted a patent No. US598819. This design was found to be quite unique in its making and working. Instead of a powerful battery generating power, the pedals did all the work. The pedal, once in movement, spun in a generator (dynamo) which extracted the power out from a small motor. The rear wheel was powered by the motor itself. The design was based on the hypothesis that the pedaling would extend the potency of the battery life. 

John Schnepf in 1899 used the direct drive mechanism to potentiate a friction drive. This is the easiest do-it-yourself design of an electric bike that anyone can make at home or in their garage without any difficulty.

  The modern Hub mid-drive motor by Aebert Hansel, the front wheel electric hub motor from T. M. McDonald, and the 1975 Panasonic E-bike by Augustus B. Kinzel made significant contributions with their exemplifying patents and creations which lead to the modernization and progressive development of the electric bike we know today.



  The modern era of electric bicycles began with the with the creation of the 1995 Bike Tec Flyer with encryption of computing, mechanics and electronics together. The cordless tools and lithium battery also simultaneously impacted the reduction of prices and continuing evolution of the electric bike we know today.

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