Growing Pains Slow Growth, Frustrate E-Bike Dealers, Riders

Under Transport Canada's regulations, e-bikes must not go faster than 32 kilometres per hour or have a motor that exceeds a total output of 500 watts, and must be equipped with handlebars and pedals.

Published: 04-Aug-2008

TORONTO — While politicians and entrepreneurs complain that some governments have been too slow to act on allowing the use of emission-free, power-assisted bicycles, others say it's just a case of growing pains.

The use of power-assisted bicycles, widely referred to as "e-bikes," has risen exponentially since Transport Canada amended its regulations in 2001 to allow Canadians to have battery-powered motors on their bicycles.

John Stonier, spokesman for the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, said the popularity of the bicycles in British Columbia - one of the first provinces to allow their use - is skyrocketing, with an estimated 10,000 or more riders.


Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries and two 67bhp (50kW) electric motors to drive the front and rear axles, the Mixim is a four-wheel-drive car with a theoretical top speed of 112mph and a potential maximum range of 156 miles.

Dodge ZEO is 2+2 electric muscle car for the 21st century powered by 200kW electric drive with 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and range of 250 miles.

The Air Car may do better than fuel-cell cars, but experts say that using grid power to charge a battery-powered electric vehicle is much more efficient than using electricity to compress and store the same amount of energy in a tank.


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