Electric Bikes and power rules
Wednesday, 22 December 2004 09:36
I have been participating in a discussion on Greenleap about Electric Bikes, and the necessity to change restrictive legislation in Australia that currently limits them to 200w.
The posts are excerpted here, with full posts available below.
Power assisted bicycles (petrol and electric battery powered) are
available on in Japan the EU, the USA and Canada. Unfortunately, the
safest electric bicycles cannot be purchased in Australia because of
road rules that result in restriction of free trade by preventing
Australians from buying the safest electric power assisted bicycles
(Parker 2004 A). Even so there is scope for using power assisted
bicycles to substitute for many short single occupant car trips of less
than 10 km and they would use between one twentieth and one sixtieth of
the fuel used by cars per km. In 2004 the combined production of
electric power assisted bicycles in China, Japan and Taiwan is expected
to reach four million and many of these will be sold in Japan the EU,
the USA and Canada. Power assisted bicycles both have great potential
as access modes to public transport in low density areas of Australia's
However, it will be necessary to change
the existing legislation for electric bicycles by lifting
maximum power output from 200 to 250 watts for able bodied
people and for electric bicycles with a power output of 500
watts to be available to the elderly, the lame and those
who are partially disabled with arthritis.
Alan's advocacy of electric bikes as a highly appropriate transport mechanism, especially in cities, is excellent. His comment is also important that the newer bikes have progressed a long way from the initial entries in this field, and the better ones allow motor and pedals to both provide energy, unlike some of the "toy" bikes, that are electric only, and have less range and less speed than even a moderately fit human-powered bike.
However I would like to suggest that he doesn't go far enough in his suggestions. Even 250 watts is pretty anaemic for a transportation device, especially if their are hills involved, and the range needs to be higher to enable people to get to AND back from their destination. ....
I agree with Mitra that in the hilly suburbs of Sydney and Brisbane 250 watts in not much of a boost for electric power assisted bicycles ( E-PABs) although it is adequate in the flat areas of cities if you are able bodied. In my email I did not want advocate the 750 watt new US regulation because of the known opposition by the road Authorities in Australia and stuff up made in the drafting of Australian road rules a few years ago. So I settled on the 250 watts which is now law in within the EU and Japan. The other problem with 750 watts without a performance and safety based standard it would allow Segways to mow down pedestrians at 20 km per hour on shared footways. I know some freeway freaks who want to legalize Segways in Australia.
Full posts are here ....
Recent articles from Mitra's blog