What types of e-Bikes are available today?
On the most basic level, three variants of e-Bikes can be distinguished:
- First, the self-propelled, moped-like e-Bike that is equipped with an electric motor and has no muscle-powered options. Austrian traffic law classifies all such vehicles as e-Bikes. As the example of the Segway demonstrates, not all e-Bikes of this category necessarily resemble conventional bicycles.
- Second, the power-on-demand e-Bike, or Pedelec. These e-Bikes are equipped with an electric motor that has a purely supportive function and cannot fully drive the e-Bike on its own. It is designed as a kind of mechanical supplement, or "tail wind" for the e-Bike rider. Pedelecs come in three drive train variants, who only differ with regard to motor and sensor placement. The motor can be located either at the front wheel hub, at the back wheel hub, or directly support the foot pedal.
In any case, the electric support ends at a speed of 25 km/h. As e-Bikes aren't yet technologically mature, it is currently impossible to predict further developments in motor design and positioning, or battery technology.
- Third, there are "hybrid" e-Bikes that can be used like Pedelecs, but whose motor is powerful enough to drive the e-Bike on its own. Like the other two variants, "hybrid" e-Bikes are also classified as e-Bikes under Austrian law.
e-Bike conversion kits
Those who don't want to purchase a new e-Bike can upgrade and "electrify" their conventional bike using an e-Bike conversion kit. Ask your local e-Bike dealer for more information on these kits. In general, there is a distinction between Pedelec and e-Bike conversion kits.