History of the Electric Bike

Electric bikes have become hugely popular since re-emerging all around the world around 20 years ago, but what many people don’t realise is that the history of the electric bike can be traced back 120 years. The first patents for electric powered bicycles were requested at the end of the 19th century, including one from Ogden Bolton Jr, who had one issued in 1895 for his cycling machine which included a ‘direct current hub motor mounted in the rear wheel.’

The History Of The Electric Bike

Two years later, Hosea W. Libbey invented an electric bicycle with two motors, two batteries and two wheels. On a flat surface only one battery would work and then when climbing a hill the second would come into action. Then in 1898, Mathew J. Steffens patented the first rear wheeled electric bike which used a belt along the outside to create the power. In the years that followed each part of the designs were improved and tested, but ended up being forgotten as the invention of the motor car stole the limelight.

The electric bike did not see a resurgence until the 1990’s, when some Japanese companies including Yamaha and Panasonic started developing new electric motor and battery technology which would see a new beginning for the ebike industry. After working for some years, the Japanese developed torque sensors and power controls before producing an electric bike called “The Zike”.

As the industry entered the new millennium, the manufacture and use of electric bikes began to spiral, with production growing by 40% between 2002 and 2004. The bulk of this growth happened in China, where other issues such as air pollution gave strength to the market which helped drive innovation further. The country now has over 120 million ebikes on their roads, up from just 56,000 back in 1998.

Outside China the main areas of electric bike growth is mainland Europe and the USA, where sales do not match China but are increasing every year. Ebike schemes have been set up in major cities all around the world including Boston, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, giving people who would never buy one the chance to try one out.

In the UK sales have been much slower to gather pace, with Britain holding just 2.79% of the European market share in 2011 compared with 43.25% for Germany and 24.85% for the Netherlands, both countries with strong cycling traditions. This is now changing though as Britain is beginning to gain ground as more people discover the fantastic electric bikes now on offer at far more affordable prices than ever before.

Find The Perfect Ebike At The Electric Bike Store

At the Electric Bike Store we have a passion to find and sell the best ebikes available. We have a full range to choose from including mountain bikes designs, Dutch style bikes and clever folding bikes which are perfect for commuting. Every electric bike we supply comes with a free two year warranty. If you would like to try any of our bikes for free then book a test ride at one of our centres in London or all over the UK, where one of our expert staff will be happy to answer any of your questions.

For more information on any of our bikes, email [email protected] or call 020 7378 4728.