The world of pedelecs

24 12 2009

The figures are exciting – 25,000,000 or more electric bikes were sold in China this year. And a lot of manufacturers of bikes are located in China so I figured that parts of electric bikes sold in the rest of the world, if not all of an electric bike was getting manufactured in China. So I figure that at 25,000,000 units in one year they must be relatively inexpensive. So I thought of the idea of finding the price out, and maybe go to China and buy one over there and then bring it back to NZ. The savings maybe would pay for an airfare and I could see one of the world’s oldest nation’s full of history and culture.

The average price is 2000 Renminbi, which is only like NZ$400 (under US$300). Xinri is a major manufacturer and they have Jackie Chan promoting them (He’s cool – when travelling by bus through Mexico there’s always an action movie playing. Claude Van Damme movies are not so good, so it was always with relief when it was a Jackie Chan film)

I think that they are maybe made for the local market. Selling 25,000,000 units they must be doing a whole lot right for Chinese conditions. They are heavy too, with Sealed Lead Acid batteries. That explains the low price tags. Do you like the styling?

How about this one?

I like the look of next year’s Alpino’s from Wisper in the UK. here it is with the city styling. It has a hub in the front now, and the back hub is one of those internal 8 gear Shimano hubs. Very nice. Probably about NZ $2,500 next year.

And I remember that Sanyo makes bikes for the Japanese market so I thought I’d find out about them. I’ve an invite to Himeji for the new year and what a souvenir it would be to come home with one of them. You’ll have to use Google translate to read about the top of their range Eneloop Bike website and it looks good too:

It has a front wheel motor with regenerative braking recharge, plus there is a motor in the crank near the pedals, and the back hub is the same type of internal 8 gear Shimano hub. Both the new Wispers and this Sanyo bike have in built headlights that run off the main battery, and this Sanyo bike has a carbon fibre frame, so with the battery the whole bike is only 19kg, which is 3 to 5 kilos lighter than the Wisper. Then again the price I think turned into over NZ$9000.

2010 models are getting very, very nice. It still seems like we’re on the cusp of a revolution in bicycles, and the technology is getting there. Now all we need is for those batteries to drop in price, and maybe also become standardised in electrical specs and sizes so spare batteries could be bought from multiple manufacturers. More grunty motors allowed by changing the various laws  in each country will also let the industry blossom.

And Sanyo please start exporting your bikes to the world.




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