The History of Electric Bikes
At E-Lux Electric Bikes, we think that e-bikes are the pinnacle of transportation. They are quick, convenient and kind to the environment. Electric bikes have evolved significantly since they were first imagined. You may be surprised to learn that they are over a century old. Below is a brief history of the electric bike.
The first known design of an electric bike dates all the way back to the 1890s. Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted a patent in December 1895 for an electric bike with a direct current motor hub on the rear wheel. Naturally, this was a fairly underpowered design, and it did not feature any gears. Nonetheless, it is incredible that e-bikes have been around for over 120 years.
Two years later, Hosea W. Libbey invented a different electric bike design. This had a “double electric motor” and powered the bike from the crankset axle. An updated version of this design was reintroduced in the 1990s by Giant Lafree Electric Bicycles.
Another two e-bike designs were patented in the 1890s. Each featured a slightly different take on the drivetrain. These early designs set the tone for innovation in the electric bike space.
The 20th century was characterized by rapid technological advancement and people looking to the future. In 1932, a collaboration between Philips and Simplex led to the aptly named Philips Simplex Electric Bike. In 1969, G.A. Wood Jr. patented a design with four fractional horsepower motors. Later, in 1975, Panasonic created an electric bike followed by Sanyo Enacle in 1989.
That same year, a major step forward was achieved. The first design of a pedal-assisted electric bike (then called “Pedelec”) was created. In 1992, Michael Kutter and Velocity City made the Dolphin Electric Bike, the first pedal-assisted e-bike to achieve major market adoption.
Although the general concept and shape have persisted, modern electric bikes are a far cry from the early designs. They have more efficient motors, larger but lighter batteries and all manner of features. Nonetheless, they preserve the spirit of those early innovators.
Electric bikes have enjoyed wide adoption. This has led to further innovation, not just in technology but also in applications. E-Lux Electric Bikes, for example, offers comfortable bikes for commuting, cruising and adventuring. However, there are also e-bike manufacturers making rides for delivery people, some even including enclosed cargo compartments.
They represent a possibility for a cleaner future. In the time between the first e-bike patent and today, internal combustion engines have achieved worldwide usage but also caused substantial pollution. Electric vehicles are an opportunity to clean up transportation. E-bikes are perhaps the best of the best thanks to their compactness, low weight and incredible convenience.
Find Your E-Bike Today
E-Lux Electric Bikes offers a large selection of high-quality electric bikes. If you want to see how far e-bikes have come, hop on one of our models and experience all the comfort, convenience and speed of modern design. Explore our catalog today to find the right model for your needs. When you are ready, schedule a test ride to experience it all first-hand.