Going Green with Hybrid Electric Motor Bicycles
USE OF HYBRID TECHNOLOGY IN CARS AND BICYCLES
Because of the energy crisis, hybrid is the buzzword of the day. With respect to cars, hybrid usually refers to engines that uses electricity and gasoline. The combination of both gets you more gas mileage. For example the 2008 Toyota Prius, a well-known hybrid car, gets 48 miles per gallon as oppose to a comparable 4-cylinder non-hybrid car, say a Honda Civic, that gets 36 miles per gallon. By the way, Honda also has a hybrid version of the Civic and it gets 45 miles per gallon. The point is hybrid technology allows you to cover more grounds for a given set of resources, gasoline in this case.
In the cycling world, the term hybrid is refers to bicycles with electric motors. Yep, that's traditional push pedaling made easy with electricity. Instead of more gas mileage, you get more pedal power.
Additionally, an electric bicycle does not use gas. In the midst of the energy crisis is also the concern for the environment. As you know, burning gasoline emits pollutants that are harmful to both the ecosystem and our health. Transportation that uses less gas (hybrid cars) and no gas (electric car, hybrid bikes, electric scooters) are getting a lot of attention among consumers.
Keep in mind that the price of a hybrid bike may set you back anywhere from $500 to $1500 USD. But that should pay for itself within a year if you can save on $50-$70 a month on gas and/or $20-$30 on gym membership expenses.
THE CHOICES OF HYBRID ELECTRIC BICYCLES
Though there are quite a few manufacturers of electric motor bike in existence, none of them are quite household names yet. But below are some of the models I could find from Amazon, eBay, Shop.com and other online retailers:
iZIP Enlightened Hybrid Electric Street Bicycles
From Currie Technologies, the iZIP is one of the more popular electric hybrid bikes. In one battery charge, it can travel up to 23-30 miles depending on the cycler's weight. Top speed on this 8-gear street bike can be up to 18 mph.
As you can see from the video above and picture, the motor and battery pack are cleverly integrated within the bike's frame. So unlike most electric bicycles, these components are not visually obtusive. The geared hub motor is a brushless DC type encased in an alloy shell. The battery pack is made of NiMH EV Rated Batteries Down Tube Concealed 24V / 9AH Pack (20) 1.2V Rechargeable Cells. There are men's and women's models for the iZIP.
The Euro Electric Bicycle
Designed for urban commuting, the Euro gives you the impression that you're gliding to your destination. The rear storage rack makes it easy to run errands such as groceries.
The Euro is powered by a 24V 10Ah Li-ion battery with 6 speed Shimano derailleur and a high speed 350W motor. Since the battery is Lithium-ion, it can be recharged over 1,000 times, making it more durable than a typical NiMH battery and SLA (sealed lead acid) battery. Another plus is that Li-ion batteries are recyclable making this electric bike completely eco-friendly.
Electrec Electric Bicycle
From Ideation Taiwan, the Electrec electric bicycle allows for non-pedal cruising for an 8-12 mile ride using only the motor. Of course, the actual range depends on the terrain and weight of the cycler. This seven speed electric bike comes with a 600-watt high-torque brushless motor powered by a 24-volt, 12 amp-hour battery pack.
Electric Bikes in China
One thing of note from the above video, the grad student who created it observed that governments of up-and-coming industrial nations such as China, do not view bicycles as a characteristic of a modern city. Hence, they're encouraging cars over bicycles. That's an indication of stronger global demand for oil that can only lead to higher gas prices.