The Colorado Bike Expo on April 25 showcased the latest products in the industry to kick off the fresh 2015 cycling season. The event, held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, had around 100 exhibitors. The presence of electric bicycle (e-bike) manufacturers and distributors at bicycle events like the Expo has grown substantially over the last few years as interest in the technology continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Several notable improvements have been made to 2015 e-bike models over previous years. The range capabilities provided by e-bike batteries have dramatically improved, with most models at the event providing a lengthy 40–60 miles of range per charge. Previous e-bike models generally had a range of 15–25 miles. The weight of the bikes has also dropped, making them easier to ride, transport, and store. 2015 models generally weigh between 40 and 45 lbs, while models just a year or two ago typically weighed between 50 and 55 lbs. Additionally, a new model from Pedego allows the e-bike to be charged directly from an outlet, eliminating the need to remove the battery from the bicycle before charging.
Upgrades have been made on the software side as well. Some e-bike models are now Bluetooth compatible and can connect with a riders’ smartphone. The rider can customize and save the pedal-assist power settings of the e-bike to avoid having to reprogram the settings each time the bike is turned on and off. New safety and security features have also been added through this new level of connectivity. If a rider believes their e-bike has been stolen, a press of a button on their smartphone instantly locks the bike in place and a GPS tracker shows the rider the exact location of the bicycle. While some new advances in the regular bicycle market were also showcased (such as ultra-lightweight models), e-bikes stole the show in terms of technology capabilities.
Navigant Research’s Electric Bicycles report forecasts that annual sales of e-bikes in North America are expected to rise from 179,000 in 2015 to nearly 300,000 by 2023. Longer electric range, reduced vehicle weight, and advanced software capabilities are all helping to move the market in this high-growth direction. Steadily reducing lithium ion battery costs left most e-bike representatives at the Expo believing that the cost difference between similar quality bicycles and e-bikes will be negligible in just 2–3 years.
Tags: Electric Bicycles, Electric Vehicles, Lithium Ion, Transportation Efficiencies
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