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 info@electric-bike-store.co.uk or call 020 7378 4728.

Electric Bike Store

Recent Posts

VOLT™ Pulse Nominated for T3 Awards 2018!

It’s a big week for tech! In full swing this Thursday are the T3 Awards, an event that celebrates the…

1 year ago

Why Buy a Folding E-Bike?

Whether it’s for getting to work or a leisurely cycle, we’ve spoken plenty about the benefits of riding an electric…

1 year ago

Top 11 UK Cycling Destinations for Summer

There’s no better way to celebrate the warmer months than planning a holiday on two wheels! From scenic coastal paths…

2 years ago

Are E-Bikes Cheating?

We Take a Look at the Health Myths Surrounding Power-Assisted Cycles Whether you’re a seasoned e-bike rider or new to…

2 years ago

Are You Ready for Another Year of Commuter Misery?

  It’s so predictable it has almost become a British tradition. Right when we're recovering from the excesses of Christmas…

2 years ago

Tax Breaks on E-Bikes May Become a Reality

A proposal to provide tax breaks on electric bikes is quickly gaining traction in the United Kingdom. The initiative looks…

2 years ago