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Sunday, October 3, 2010

120 mln e-bikes take on China's streets Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:19 AM




TIANJIN, Sep. 28, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Green transportation achieved rapid development in China, said Qiu Baoxing, vice minister of China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development at China(Binhai, Tianjin)International Eco-city Forum on September 28.
Up to 120 million electric bicycles ran on the roads, and the annual increase of investment in the construction of subways reached 200 billion yuan, said the vice minister. Accordingly, the number of e-bikes has grown rapidly in China from a few thousand a decade ago to 120 million today, and it still increases at an annual rate of 30 percent.
As for energy consumption, an e-bike only accounts for one eighth of a motorcycle and one twelfth of a car. (Edited by Yang Liu, yangliu@xinhua.org)
(Source: iStockAnalyst )



The Electric Bike: From Blue-Rinse to Blue Streak?

Protanium directors Brian Hoehl and Lars Munkso
Among the many electric bike exhibitors at Eurobike 2010 is Protanium directors Brian Hoehl and Lars Munkso.

The Electric Bike: From Blue-Rinse to Blue Streak?

Exclusive report from Friedrichshafen's Eurobike 2010


By Martin Schwoerer


Open Access Article Originally Published: September 27, 2010

Electrically-assisted bicycles are great: they’re green, emission-free, almost silent, and offer a super-low cost-per-mile. You can, in fact, go literally dozens of miles on pennies. For the average bicyclist, an E-Bike means expanding your “comfort-zone” from a radius of around three miles to no-sweat 6 miles -- no matter whether your terrain is hilly or flat.
They’re fun-to-drive, too. It only take a few yards to discover the pleasure of what one could call the “built-in tail-wind”. Anybody who's experienced the incredible lightness of movement a good E-Bike provides, will agree with the industry's mantra of "once driven, always smitten".
But in their present state, electrically-assisted bicycles are also, plainly, horrible: they’re ugly beasts, seen mostly in shades of drab grey or silver-grey and heavy, and look strictly like senior-citizen transport. Also, they suffer from the “why do they cost five times more than in China?” -- syndrome: at a price of often over €2,000, they are perceived as being expensive. Too expensive, in fact, for many people who have a car and a bicycle, and can’t put their mind around the idea of spending money on yet a third mode of getting around.
E-Bike industry guys will tell you that business is booming in places like China and the Netherlands, and that other countries are sure to follow. They’ve been saying this for the past five years. Any chance that the perpetual forecast will transform into reality? How likely, indeed, that E-Bikes will evolve from a senior-citizen’s toy to a desirable, fashionable, affordable must-have?
To find out, I visited Eurobike 2010, the world’s biggest bicycle trade show, in lovely Friedrichshafen, Germany. (Friedrichshafen, ironically, is the home of another century-old technology that for decades has been forecast to have its golden years yet coming: the Zeppelin. You can insert a Hindenburg joke here, but rest assured I didn’t when I interviewed E-Bike enthusiasts).
Bosch: We are Here to Conquer the World
At the moment, E-Bikes are often a garage business. Somebody takes a bike, gets a motor in China, procures some batteries from who knows where, adds somebody’s controller technology, and sells the package to enthusiasts. Branding is a semi-entity and minor details such as guarantees are left to the individual dealer who may or may not be happy to see you when your $1,000 batteries pack up and die after a year. To become ubiquitous, E-Bikes need the power of major brands.
Panasonic is a E-Bike technology brand that has done good, but the buzz at Friedrichshafen was about the world-premiere of Bosch’s E-Bike package.
Bosch is the world’s largest auto parts supplier, and their technology is pretty nifty. Cheaper E-Bikes have motors in the front or rear wheel hubs, and batteries located some which way, often (ungainly) on the rear luggage rack. In contrast, the Bosch package connects the motor to the pedal axle, which is an excellent location, being low and central. (High and peripheral make for an unstable driving experience). Bosch’s battery pack is located relatively low, too, on the bike’s frame. It’s not exactly light-weight stuff (battery: 2.3KG; motor: 4.25KG) but packs a strong punch: 250 Watts (500 peak) and 50 Nm torque.
The techno-German package has a lot of interesting details, such as a “HMI” (human-machine interface) controller offering twelve “speeds” tailored to terrain and the bicyclist’s individual ability. Bosch’s system uses not the usual one, but three sensors: to measure speed, torque and cycling cadence, apparently to provide a smooth and seamless drive. It’s quick-charging, too: the (removable) Li-Ion battery pack can be fully juiced in 2.5 hours.
Although the Bosch system is not a pinnacle of German industrial design (an opinion to which a PR guy loadly objected -- touchy, touchy!), it’s no eyesore either, it comes from a quality brand, is priced OK (at around €800,- for the end-user), and offers substantial durability guarantees. To wit, Bosch promises 500 full charging cycles, and a multiple of that of every-day, semi-complete charges.
(One hopes that Bosch knows that the chain is any bicycle's weak spot. Will a regular bike's chain be able to take peak loads of 500W on a daily basis? If you're worried about replacing your bike's chain every one or so years, then consider making do with a front-wheel or rear-wheel hub motor.)
Anyway: when a company like Bosch says that E-Bikes are ready for prime time, then people listen. Thirteen manufacturers are already using it for their E-Bikes, which is a major success when you consider this is a totally new system. But is it any good? Scroll down for test-drive reviews of two bikes equipped with the new Bosch system.
Toward a Triopoly in E-Bike Technology?
With Panasonic already in the market and Bosch now entering, life was getting hard enough for the smaller technology suppliers. The newest news from Friedrichshafen is that Shimano (the world’s number one bike components maker) will soon introduce an electric system as well. Does this indicate a oligarchical future where the Big Three make life for all the others miserable? My hope is that robust competition will forces prices down while increasing technical innovation. And that success in Europe and Asia will convince Bosch to offer its E-Bike technology in the U.S. as well, soon.
But What to Do With All the “Regular” Bikes?
New E-Bikes are good and fine, but are there really millions of people who have one or two thousand Dollars lying around to spend on a new mode of transport? On the other hand, who doesn’t have a bicycle in a garage that could benefit from some electric uplift? Several companies at Eurobike tried to address this issue with some pretty nifty add-on electric solutions.
I really liked the Japanese Sunstar system, starting with the fact that both the motor and battery are located centrally and low. It looked simple yet solid, takes only a few hours to install, and merely weighs a slender 3.2 KG. Sunstar’s Italian rep was so assured of their add-on E-Bike concept that he let me take a bike for a unguided spin though a packed convention hall, out to an open range. It drove beautifully, with linear power delivery, good meaty handling, and silent acceleration. In contrast to some other electrics, it felt lightweight, too. Retailing somewhere under €1,000, Sunstar might be suffering from the unadvantageous Yen exchange rate, but I think its value-for-money is quite good.


The Pedalix system is a Korean design which has been installed on thousands of Korean bicycles. The Swiss importers who displayed it at Eurobike describe it as “the first sexy E-Bike”, which is a bit of a boast: Cytronex about which I wrote last year, is probably more deserving of the “sexy” designation. Yet, Pedalix is an interesting approach, as it employs a friction-wheel to transfer power from motor to bicycle, just like Velosolexes of yore. Nice and simple, as add-on systems should be, and at 2.6 KG, certainly lightweight. The planned retail price, however, is oddly expensive, at €1,700.
Much cheaper, at around €800, is Ecobike's conversion kit Ecobike's conversion kit. It consists of a front-wheel motor, electronic controller, and a battery pack located (uniquely) on a bike’s seat-bar. Weighing in at 7 Kilos, its conceptual simplicity makes me itch for a test drive to find out how it fares in real life. (To happen soon, hopefully).
So, What’s New? And: Are the New E-Bikes Any Good?
(The answer is: plenty; yes!)
It is a pleasure to report that numerous new E-Bikes look good, drive well, and appear to have reassuring quality. Prices are reaching down to more realistic levels, too.
One of the nice things about Eurobike was that they had a testing course, on which most bikes could be taken for longish spins. Here are some selected bikes that caught my eye and looked worth testing.
The first of the Bosch-tech bikes I drove was a florescent-green model by Scott, a U.S.-based company. (Scott is equipping another five models with the Bosch system). As unlikely as it sounds, the combination of green frame, white wheels, white battery pack and black motor looked positively funky. Weighing in at a sturdy 20 KG, the Scott looked lighter than it is, but did not at all feel ungainly to drive. Quite on the contrary: driving it was a relevation. Zipping around Eurobike had the potential to be an uncomfortably edgy experience, with dozens of risk-prone young guys in close proximity, but the Scott felt reassuringly sturdy due to its low-center of gravity. Power delivery is meaty and muscular, with a well-oiled, Germanic, precise feel that turns into something athletic when you push the pedals. I'd love to ride the Scott on a daily basis -- if I could convince myself to muster the approximately €2,000 you’d need to buy one. On the other hand, the Scott-Bosch feels like a quality machine, has disc brakes and a great-feeling gearshift, and you get what you pay for.
For comparison’s sake, I also tried out a Centurion E-Fire, made in Germany. Slightly sportier than the Scott because of a more mountain-bike-ish outfit, it definitely felt like a member of the Bosch E-Bike family with its safe handling and good pedal feel. Actually, I couldn’t tell a major difference between the Scott and the Centurion, despite Bosch’s claims of easy customizability, but that may be a coincidence.
One noticeable thing at Eurobike was that the term “Pedelec” has become unfashionable. (Pedelec is the official European technical term for electrically-assisted bikes that shut the motor off at speeds above 25 km/h, or when no force is applied to the pedals. Pedelecs neither require insurance nor does the driver need to use a helmet). “Pedelec” sounds sensible-shoes and fogey, so the new hip expressions are either “E-Bike” or “hybrid” (the latter implying both electric and muscle-power).
As unhip as they might be, I wanted to try at least one classic Pedelec: the Gazelle, which is an electrified classic “Holland”-type bicycle. Fogeyish indeed, but not ugly, and somehow charmingly Dutch and old-fashioned, the Gazelle is a very comfortable bike to sit on. On a flat road, it was easy to hold the regulated speed of 25 km/h, and also braved the strong winds that were blowing in Friedrichshafen. The Gazelle ran out of puff on a steep uphill stretch, so it seems well-adapted to Dutch geography, but not so great for mountainous terrain. Front-wheel-drive, and a rear-rack-mounted battery is perfectly OK for an unambitious bike that doesn’t seduce you into hustling it. The charm of such a robust, upright, comfortable and simple Pedelec was still apparent enough. I can understand why such models are highly successful in the Netherlands.


Denmark’s Protanium may also be a member of the low-price cohort, but it is something altogether different. Protanium has been designing E-Bikes for other companies for several years, but recently also introduced their own line. The bike I drove had stylish white rims and frame, and a slender, removable Li-Ion battery. Like with other new E-Bikes, the electric elements were inconspicuous. Priced very reasonably at probably under €1,500, I was very keen on determining whether a bike with a low-tech (front-hub motor) layout can compete. Happily, it did. The thing with modern pedelecs is that you don’t really need electric assistance in flat terrain, and it turns off once you reach the 25 km/h limit anyway, so 250W is really quite enough if neither your bike nor you are obese. The Protanium didn’t exactly storm up the test-drive hill, but neither did it feel phlegmatic. For everyday use, the Protanium looks like a winner.
The Spanish-designed Ecobike is more of a hill-stormer. Their Adventure has unusual yet somehow appealing chic-Spanish looks, a large 36V-10Ah battery that provides a range of up to 100 km in eco mode, and -- as a unique usability proposition -- an iPhone app that records your trip and lets you tailor the motor’s energy output o your training needs. I really like the idea of knowing how many calories I am burning, how much electricity I am using, how my fitness is, and how much I can save by re-charging the battery downhill, using electric regeneration. The Ecobike is right in the intersection of electric assistance and sports, which makes for an intriguing, youthful product.
Conclusion: Never Mind the Pedelecs, E-Bikes are Coming
Some of these new machines are truly desirable. Prices are slowly but surely going down to levels where you can justify purchasing one just based on your savings in gasoline. We’re not quite there yet, but if technological (and marketing) advancements continue, E-Bikes have the potential to become ubiquitous.

Martin Schwoerer's Eurobike 2010 Photos

Sunstar electric bike
Sunstar E-Bike
Scott electric bike
Scott E-Bike


3 comments so far...


02-Oct-2010
100862
  You didn't say whether the E-bike can exceed the European standard of 25Kph but our American regulation of 20 miles per hour makes for a more useful range of boost. I own one of the rare Aerovironment built Charger E-bikes from the early nineties which helped to set the standard. Its design amplified the effort of the rider proportionally, which was a better system for improving ones cycling performance than just letting the motor turn the wheel while pushing on the pedals with just enough pressure to keep the electricity from stopping like most of the others. Still I tend to use my fully faired recumbent bike for the same speeds without having to worry about range. Of course hills are still a workout, but my average speeds are better with the fairing, and unlike the Charger E-bike, It keeps its speed for quite a while after I stop pedaling. I figure that with all the coasting I can do with that bike I do 1/3 fewer pedal strokes per mile average.
Posted by: Paul Gracey

30-Sep-2010
100379
  After visiting Eurobike and seeing all that is offered, I concur with most of the authors observations. Most of the products offered in Europe are ugly, underpowered and overpriced. Any one of these attributes are a formula for failure and most has all three, Pedego ares stylish, powerful and priced right which is why we have been overwhelmed with inquiries from all over Europe. http//:www.pedegoelectricbikes.com.
Posted by: Don Dicostanzo

28-Sep-2010
100070
  500 full charges for the Bosch is not overwhelming. The battery is rather light (and thus small), so you might not get great range. If this compounds by exhausting the battery every day (for instance), it only lasts 2 years - oops. Sounds like it needs a bigger battery, or one which can take more deep discharges. I welcome the competition by major players, if you are going to spend 2K on an ebike, you want it to be a good one. The only problem I have with ebikes is that they defeat one of the main benefits of p-bikes - namely that they give you exercise. If you have an ebike, you still have to go to the gym, with a p-bike, you should be fit enough without it. But they do provide excellent urban transport, particularly for people who do not have showers in the office.
Posted by: James Mahon




a d v e r t i s e r

Ebikes, sidewalks and cyclists...

Community Soapbox: Ebikes

         ebikes


   With the cool, wet weather returning, I’m noting the absence of a certain nifty little machine, out in the rainy traffic in front of my house today.  The first time I saw one, it was hurtling toward me, going the wrong way up a one-way street. The second time, it was wobbling along in the bike lane, looking like it would fall over at any moment, possibly struggling under the weight of its driver’s 2-4.  I’ve seen them on sidewalks, and on busy streets, their helmet-less drivers trying to keep up with traffic, at times in the middle of the lane.   I have even seen them carry passengers.   I speak of course of this summer’s hottest green item, the ebike.
What’s an Ebike?  An ebike is an electric bike, or as known to MTO, a power-assisted bicycle.  What this means exactly is defined in the Highway Traffic Act.  They can look like bikes, or like small scooters; however they must be equipped with pedals.

   Also appearing in greater numbers on the road are limited-speed motorcycles.  While they can look a lot like scooter-style ebikes, they are motorcycles. They cannot have an engine greater than 50cc, but they require a plate and a motorcycle license.

   Ebikes are legally defined as bikes rather than motorcycles under the Highway Traffic Act.  As such are subject to the same rules as bikes, except that they cannot be operated by someone under the age of 16:  you need to wear a helmet and have proper lighting, just like a bike; and like a bike, you cannot ride on the sidewalk and must observe the rules of the road. However you do not require a permit, insurance or even a written test to ride one.  You can be charged for failing to follow the rules as spelled out under the Highway Traffic Act; driving one while impaired will earn you a Criminal Code charge.  I was shocked by the hefty fines for particular offenses; riding in the crosswalk, $110; failure to wear a helmet, $85; careless driving, $325.  You can even be fined for not having a bell or horn.  And did you know that a cyclist or ebiker MUST yield the right of way to pedestrians, and MUST pull to the right to allow overtaking traffic to pass?
Is there a problem?  I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know when I say that, here in Kingston, we have a lot of cyclists who just do not know the rules. Or perhaps they do know, but find the condition of our streets so deplorable they choose to ride on the sidewalk for reasons of self-preservation.  I can’t pretend to know their motivations.  Now we have a fleet of ebikers, who may or may not have driving experience or permits, who may or may not in fact even be eligible for a driving permit, on machines that can weigh up to 120kg, who can reach a top speed of 32km/h.  In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit that, yes, I am someone’s mother.  The current situation scares me.

   It is very obvious to me that there is a whack of people out there riding these things who do not have a clue.  That said, I really don’t want to discourage people from riding ebikes.  They are clean and easy to park, two things we need badly here where per capita personal vehicle emissions are the highest of any Canadian city.  From a safety perspective, though, something that weighs 120kg and can travel at speeds of 30km/h is nothing like a human powered bike.  I would at least like to see those planning to purchase one pass a written test demonstrating that they understand the rules of the road; the Ministry could then issue a permit to purchase.  And I would like to see some mechanism put in place to prevent drivers who have lost their licenses for DWI from driving these vehicles; let’s not kid ourselves – they’re out there.  Your thoughts?
Deanna MacDonald



I have a problem when my tax dollars go towards treating injuries that could have been prevented. Not wearing a seat belt, stunt driving, jumping into the lion pit at the zoo etc... would all fall into that category. I too have noticed the e-bikes, usually as they're whizzing by and pushing me off of the sidewalk. There are a few folks in my neighbourhood who have them, and needless to say, they aren't the most respectful when it comes to giving way to pedestrians. They are fearless, and as you've pointed out, these bikes can do some pretty decent speeds, but fret not as the sturdy 1990's styrofoam bike helmet has riders covered. I have yet to see an accident involving an e-biker, but then again I would rather not have to deal with that mental image after the fact. Should they have licenses? Absolutely.
There are different classes of sidewalks. You can't generalize.

Downtown sidewalks are crowded. Everyone "gets" that.

But suburban sidewalks, especially along busy roads, are mostly deserted. You can drive for miles and not encounter anyone at all.

I can list many people I know who have either died or been seriously injured while cycling on Ontario streets and roads. I bet anyone over 40, or over 20 for that matter, can list victims they know.

So knock-it-off with the condescending and over-generalized pedestrians-exclusively-own-sidewalks talk. A free-and-clear sidewalk is exactly that.

Also: I'm certainly not about to recommend to any parent that their kids or teenagers should ride their bikes on the road instead of a free-and-clear sidewalk. That would be dumb. Ain't gonna happen. Get used to it. There's no fine big enough to ever change that.
1 reply · active 5 days ago
It's not condescending, and last time I checked sidewalks were meant for pedestrians. All of my negative encounters with ebikes have been on downtown sidewalks, not in the burbs. Regardless of location, it would be one thing if there was a bit of give on the part of ebike operators, but my experience has been with folks who think they own the sidewalk. They're coming through one way or another and pedestrians must get over onto the lawn or road in order to give way. I "get" that some of our streets/shoulders are in not so great shape for cycling, and that some drivers out there make it dangerous for cyclists (and vice versa), but that doesn't justify reckless e-biking on the sidewalk.

As for your comment about caring parents, I would be equally as concerned for a child's safety if they were walking on a sidewalk and having to deal with an ebiker who thinks they're the King of Kensington. I don't think I implied it, so you must have misunderstood, but to clarify I've no beef with kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk so long as they are respectful. In the end, I'd probably not have any issues with e-bikes on sidewalks if they were smart about it.
polyorchnid's avatar
polyorchnid · 5 days ago
I don't know about licenses... but I do think that this town really needs to have some attention paid to traffic law enforcement, to pretty much everyone on vehicles; the amount of crazy things I see every day downtown by people in cars, on bikes, or on ebikes, just makes me shiver. I really want to see bicyclists riding on sidewalks getting fined; you're talking about an ebike being something that can kill, but a bicycle can do it just as easily. While they're at it, we need to start seeing some tickets handed out to people in cars who pull crazy stunts all the time too.

Had out a few of those big fines to people and word will get around and people will smarten up.

While I'm at it, I'm curious... when I was a kid, they taught us about the rules of the road and how it applied to bicycles in public school. Does this still happen? I only ask because judging from the behaviour I see on the streets, I can't see how it can be happening....
Cameron Schaefer's avatar
Cameron Schaefer · 5 days ago
I frequently ask cyclists to please walk their bicycles, e-bikes, etc. if they are using the sidewalk when pedestrians are present. The request is ignored 99.9% of the time. They know that the law governing traffic on sidewalks is not enforced in Kingston, and apparently they are in too much of a hurry to consider the needs of others.

I have seen two serious cycling accidents on the sidewalk that slopes down from Barriefield towards the causeway bridge. In both cases they were trying to coast around me (a pedestrian) down the hill. In accident #1, I accompanied the guy to hospital by taxi. In case #2, I was told to "Get off the f***ing sidewalk".

Question: What's the second word within the compound word "sidewalk"?

Another question: What exactly is the big hurry?
I am all for sustainable transport. If I had to go out on a limb, I'd say the rest of the gang is as well. The ebike concept is great, but we need to rethink the rules governing these vehicles. Since I was the first to offer my thoughts on the post, I inadvertently steered the conversation up onto the sidewalk. That said, I echo the other safety concerns mentioned above. It comes down to poorly crafted rules, and folks fail to use common sense.
Any vehicle that is not 100% human powered should be subject to a moderately-priced test and licensing system.
Licensing for cyclists as well?
Maybe.
On the one hand, I don't want to discourage anyone from cycling, nor do I want the nanny-state echoing in the comments above, but on the other hand, it would be useful for bikes to have licenses when they cause accidents, injuries, etc. and just keep going.
I've seen it, been hit, etc., and it further proves this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/15...
Responsible biking - how to achieve it without being onerous?
We should be doing anything we can to promote alternative transportation and adding licensing and/or testing to these types of products will do nothing but drive people away from them.

I considered getting an ebike until I realized that I could ride my normal bicycle at the same speed, it wouldn't cost me $1000 to buy plus the electricity to charge it, and it provided me with physical exercise to stay fit.

The problems the author stated about ebikes on sidewalks and downtown are the exact same we see with bicycles and skateboards. Unless the author proposes that we include mandatory training/testing/licensing on bicycles and skateboards there is no reason we should require it for ebikes. Any move to increase the work involved in owning one of these products will simply lead to people going elsewhere for transportation and as most people already have cars (or a driver's licesnse) they will likely just keep driving their own car as they already have the means.
Cameron Schaefer's avatar
Cameron Schaefer · 4 days ago
Mandatory training/testing/licensing sounds onerous and counter-productive, as others have noted.

A $50 fine for riding anything but a wheelchair on sidewalks would fix the illegal sidewalk traffic problem quickly.
I like the idea of e-bikes, but I agree that sidewalks are no place for them. I too share in people's sighting of unsafe e-bike use, but I also see a whole variety of unsafe cyclists as well.

This problem is multifaceted though. For starters, e-bikes and bicycles are a fantastic way to move people in a city provided that the city has planned for their usage. Currently I would say that it can be quite dangerous riding on Kingston's streets lawfully (ie: on the road).

Secondly, there is a problem with a lack of education and enforcement of the Highway Traffic Act as it pertains to cyclists and the interaction of cyclists and vehicles. I see cyclists ride up to intersections then go through red lights, or see them suddenly become "pedestrians" and ride their bike through a crosswalk. I'm always concerned about what "hat" a cyclist may be wearing when I approach them in my car or on my bike: are they wearing the bicycle hat or a pedestrian hat now? and when is it going to suddenly switch? am I responsible if I hit a unpredictable cyclist? Also, vehicle drivers seem to be ignorant as to their responsibilities to share the road and understand cyclist signals.

The solution is for the city to plan street improvements to encourage safe bike (e-bike or otherwise) use and once that has been achieved to start an education and enforcement program. Sustainability aside, people's lives are at stake.

Green energy ideas spark plenty of interest

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Green energy ideas spark plenty of interest

Adaptation: Environmentalism good fit with rural lifestyle
Last Updated: September 23, 2010 9:52am

ST. THOMAS — A bad joke gone good — solar flashlights. Seriously.
With just a four-hour charge during daylight hours, the specifications say, its seven LED bulbs can pump out light continuously for up to eight hours.
These gadgets, for sale at a North American Solar Solutions booth, have illuminated a key trend in vendors at this year’s International Plowing Match in Elgin County: alternative energy.
By far the most numerous single­-themed displays at the giant agricultural fair have been those promoting environmentalism as a life choice, a career or an income supplement.
They include a gearless wind turbine for house or barn rooftops, battery-powered lawn­mowers, geothermal heating systems, wood-gasification boilers and pellet-powered furnaces.
There’s even a pellet-powered barbecue.
Solar companies here number at least a dozen, and public interest in them has been boosted by a provincial plan that guarantees a premium rate of return for those who hook into the energy grid.
It’s meant booming business for young companies such as Solar Solutions (nasolarsolutions.com).
“It’s big, it’s big,” said Raquel Mooner, of interest in the products of the company, which her son opened a year ago.
The flashlights are a sideline of the business, which focuses on heating water in homes and cottages with solar tubes.
Moonen said the systems are cost-efficient and flexible enough to be used anywhere.
Whether for profit or for pleasure, the green spirit energized visitors to the IPM.
Brent Gordon of Dragon Ebikes (dragonebikes.com) said the electric bicycles, scooters and trikes have been objects of keen interest.
“This industry has turned from a fad to a trend,” he said.
He noted e-bike users don’t need driver’s licences. The bikes weigh less than 120 kilograms and can travel at a maximum speed of 32 kilometres an hour. A cyclist can travel about 10 hours on a single battery charge, which costs pennies.
He said the e-bike movement is growing around the world, with a huge market and widespread acceptance in developing countries. Canada is lagging well behind other nations but there’s increasing support here, Gordon said.
“Is the environment not what everyone is trending toward? Green, green, green.”
E-mail deb.vanbrenk@sunmedia.ca, or follow Debatlfpress on Twitter.

Bike Europe - News: More and More Investors Eyeing Bike Industry

News

More and More Investors Eyeing Bike Industry

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands – Is it because of the e-Bike trend and the fact that with more electric bicycles sold more money is involved than ever before in the bike sector? Or has it to do with the ‘Green’ image of bicycles? Fact is that more investors than ever before are eyeing the bike sector nowadays.

The past years this trade journal occasionally got phone calls from people representing private equity firms. The past couple of weeks it’s been getting more serious as Wall Street-based financial consultants start calling. They represent not only institutional investors looking to take a stake in an established company, but also represent equity firms looking for takeovers.

Whether this interest will lead to significant shifts in the marketplace is not clear yet. But the fact that millions are available for investments tells something about the future of the bike sector.

21-09-2010





Bike Europe - News: More and More Investors Eyeing Bike Industry

Collingwood councillors ban eBikes, ignore mayor and city staff proposal

onteba: Ontario eBike Alliance

 Collingwood councillors ban eBikes, ignore mayor and city staff proposal

Collingwood council has banned eBikes from municipal bike paths, according to the Enterprise-Bulletin. The vote is contrary to the planning recommendations of the mayor, three council members and members of the municipal staff.

The newspaper reports that Mayor Chris Carrier and councillors Tim McNabb, Ian Chadwick and Dave Labelle, plus the community's Trail Committee, supported the use of all varieties of eBikes on bike paths and trails if the speed limit was kept to 20 km/h.

The council voted instead to take its advice from the Leisure Services Committee and the the Georgian Trail board of management, which both recommended blocking eBikes from trails.

No mention of imposing a speed limit on pedal bicycles.

Collingwood municipal council will be facing a general election in October, 2010.

E-bikers hold rally to get council to reverse trail decision

E-bikers hold rally to get council to reverse trail decision

News

By SAMANTHA VANDER KOOY

Posted 3 days ago

Sunday afternoon a rally was held Sunday afternoon to show support for Collingwood's e-bikers, and the efforts of two local men to convince town council to reverse a decision keeping e-bikes off the municipal trail system.
"I just wish they got a little more information before they made their decision," said Don Deacon, whose e-bike is his primary mode of transportation to the hospital and around town.

Deacon, as well as Dave Coulter, another local e-biker who attended the rally, testified that they use e-bikes because they have disabilities that do not allow them to get around otherwise."We're not allowed on the sidewalks and it's too dangerous for us to be on the main roads, so the trails are our only safe choice," said David Moore, one of the rally's organizers. "If safety were at stake I could see their point, but it's not."
"Many cyclist go faster than we do," said Coulter.
"We're respectful. I always honk my horn at blind corners to let people know I coming," said Deacon. "I don't think they'd know otherwise, these bikes are so quiet."
Currently, a petition is being circulated in and around Collingwood in the hope of getting council to change its mind with regards to this issue.

Windsor police probe e-bike collision

Windsor police probe e-bike collision

A man is stabilized by EMS paramedics and Windsor firefighters at the scene of a accident involving an electric scooter and car door.   The driver of the electric scooter struck a card door on Wyandotte Street west at Partington Avenue in Windsor, Ont., on Sept. 21, 2010.

A man is stabilized by EMS paramedics and Windsor firefighters at the scene of a accident involving an electric scooter and car door. The driver of the electric scooter struck a card door on Wyandotte Street west at Partington Avenue in Windsor, Ont., on Sept. 21, 2010.

Photograph by: Jason Kryk, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. — An e-bike rider landed in the hospital with unknown injuries Tuesday after colliding with the door of a parked vehicle on Wyandotte Street.

"I had just parked and opened the door and he just hit it," said the 24-year-old driver of the van that was struck by the motorcyclist.

The accident happened around 5 p.m. in the 2000 block of Wyandotte Street West near the intersection of Partington Avenue.

The cyclist, riding an orange electric bike, was thrown from the vehicle, landing on the pavement in the middle of the street.

"He was down, just lying there," said the driver of the parked Dodge Caravan.

"He was holding his ribs and said, 'Don't touch me.'"

Paramedics rushed to the scene, where they immobilized the cyclist on a backboard before loading him onto a stretcher and into a waiting ambulance.

Police said the man's injuries are not life-threatening.

The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet when he struck the van, the driver said.

Windsor police Staff Sgt. Edward Hickey said the driver of the parked van will face a charge of opening a vehicle door improperly.

"It's kind of like turning," Hickey explained. "You can't open your door in traffic without making sure there's nobody coming up behind you."



Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/Windsor+police+probe+bike+collision/3559491/story.html#ixzz11Go9s5nG




Windsor police probe e-bike collision

Bike Europe - News: German Ministry of Transport Sees e-Bike Potential

News

German Ministry of Transport Sees e-Bike Potential

BERLIN, Germany - In a meeting with ECF President Manfred Neun (l.), Rainer Bomba, State Secretary in the German Ministry for Transport, was positively surprised by the progress in the state of technological development of electrically assisted bicycles. “We consider the ongoing developments of all electronic means of transport as steps in the right direction”, said Rainer Bomba.

Manfred Neun expects the German Ministry of Transport to support the introduction of ten million e-Bikes within the next ten years. “The benefit of introducing 10 million e-Bikes would be much higher than the introducing a million electric cars”, said Manfred Neun. “Such a growth in the field of e-Bikes calls for an extension of recharging stations, rental systems and more public space for all cyclists.”

Rainer Bomba commended the cycling industry for its outstanding presentation at Eurobike. Manfred Neun encouraged Rainer Bomba to take advantage of the competitive nature of the European Union’s internal market in order to promote cycle mobility in the Union’s member states with a “sportsmanlike ambition.”

Caption: ECF President Manfred Neun, Dagmar Meyer, Building and Urban Development Division within the German Federal Ministry of Transport, and ADFC Executive Director Horst Hahn Klöckner (from left to right).

07-09-2010

Bike Europe - News: German Ministry of Transport Sees e-Bike Potential