As options for electric vehicles grows, so does the confusion about which product means what. The latest in bicycle commuting is the difference between electric bikes and pedelecs. Pedelecs and electric assists arenew categories of electric bikes. The most important differences are:
Pedelecs: Only use the pedals motor input when activated by pedaling. NYCeWheels described it as, “Cycling with a tail wind.” Pedal assist will start working automatically once you start pedaling. The motor turns off once you stop or press the brake. There is no throttle and you don’t switch or power on anything. The pedelec is designed to protect the battery life, and its riding range is usually longer than that of an e-bike.
Photo credit: Connected Cities
E-Bikes: Use the throttle motor input when activated by turning or pushing a handlebar throttle. On an electric bike, it is possible to cycle without pedaling because the pedals and motor are independent from one another. The riding range and speed can be increased when pedaling in addition to using the throttle. The throttle will either be a twist-grip or a thumb-press. Electric bikes usually have a “cruise control” option that keeps the amount of power going to the motor constant without having to push or twist the throttle.
Both pedelecs and electric bikes can now be purchased in conversion kit format for converting an existing bike into an electric assist version. These typically offer a less expensive alternative for commuters who don’t want to invest in a pre-made, fully electric bike.
Photo credit: Electric Scooter