Ebike Power limits, proposed legislation

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Ebike Power limits, proposed legislation

Post by aegidius » Sun, 02 May 2010, 02:30

FYI to a proposal for a change to the current 200 watt maximum power limit of e-bikes. It comes from the NSW RTA and is dated late 2009. I don't know any more about when/if it will be adopted and whether it will be consistent nationally.

http://www.bv.com.au/file/file/RTA%20May%2009.pdf

It replaces the 200W maximum power limit with:
- a 250W continuous power limit
- assistance to cut out after 25km/h
- assistance only available while pedaling (pedelec)

and is supposed to bring into line with EU and JP rules. There is also provision for a labelling scheme to identify complying systems. Note that they acknowledge continuous power limit is different from maximum power, so there's at least the chance of having some serious grunt at low speeds, but the 25km/h limit renders through-the-gears systems pretty useless. Personally I wish they'd just raise the power limit and stop meddling, but that's just me.
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Ebike Power limits, proposed legislation

Post by norm » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 01:12

That's fine for able bodied riders, not great for less able riders.

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Post by coulomb » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 05:42

I was at an EV seminar recently; one of the talks was on electric assisted bikes. I seem to recall that the author stated that Lance Armstrong could manage a peak of about 300 W for short bursts. So if you put in a lazy 50 W of your own power, plus 250 W of assist, you're up at elite racing bike levels. So maybe the new limit isn't as bad as it seems at first glance.

He gave rides after the talk on his Gazelle Innergy bike (AU$4000, made in Holland). Everyone who rode it was impressed. It has no throttle; you have to peddle and it assists. One rider, who recently bought a Chinese bike with throttle, remarked that it was very civilised by comparison; it (the Innergy) seems to work by body language, yet it was very easy to ride. Perhaps regulations like these will channel bike development in this direction.

The author stated that he used his bike almost daily, often riding over 10 km, and always arriving comfortable, as if he just had a brisk walk. I'm not sure what maximum power that particular bike was set for, however. I assume it would have been European regulations compatible, so 250 W maximum.

Others may care to comment on the 25 km/h limit; I'm not a regular rider. That may be the more significant limit.
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Post by Tritium_James » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 14:59

I agree entirely on the pedalling-only assistance. We did some work on the Swiss-made Dolphin e-bike several years ago (our colleages at Ultramotive designed the bike) and it used a system where the electric assistance depended on the pedalling effort. No throttle. It was entirely intuitive and fantastic to ride. It feels just like riding a normal bike, except you happen to go a lot quicker. Alternatively you could do a lot less work and get there in the same amount of time.

Coulomb, a moderately fit rider on a decent road bike can maintain 25km/h on the flat fairly easily for an hour or so. Start throwing in some hills and a 25km/h average becomes a bit more difficult though.

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Ebike Power limits, proposed legislation

Post by Gow864 » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 16:41

I have put 14 ebikes on the road in the last couple of years, only 2 of them were 200watt, the rest from 500 to 750. As a regular rider in a very hilly environment, I can tell you that 200w is useless! It will not encourage people to take up cycling.

I find to whole idea of limiting power to 200w a bit ridiculous (I now like to say "Rudd like"). Take our "P" platers, are they forced to drive cars with only 20hp? No, they can jump in daddys prosche if they want to.

Either impose speed limits on bicycles, or develop a new form of registration. Power limiting is yet another symptom of the nanny state. Or maybe our governments just want to make sure that we're nicely sat in our fossil fuel burning monsters sitting in a traffic jam.

coulomb and TJ, bring your 200w bikes to my place and have a ride, I'm sure the knowing grins would fall right off your faces.

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Post by Tritium_James » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 18:56

The dolphin e-bike that we worked on is almost 1500W peak power output - but only 250W continuous.

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Post by Tritium_James » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 18:58

Uh, guess I didn't get my point across there. I also think the 200W limit is stupid. But I think that it should be made so that you have to pedal to get assistance - otherwise you haven't got an electric pushbike, you've got a low-powered electric scooter, and it probably should be registered as such.

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Post by Simon » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 21:07

200W is better than nothing but should be more like 500W ( i have a 350W hub motor myself). But then more people would be on ebikes..
Why penalise ebikes even further by making pedal assistance bikes only?
Sure have it as an option that you can turn it on/off.
The ICEngines like Sachs and others have a throttle just like a motorbike!
Having a throttle is far better IMO because it means you can get assistance from a stop rather than having to start pedaling before any assistance kicks in.

I had a ride on a motorised mountain bike recently with a smelly little Sachs 2 stroke.
Wow ebikes are sooo much better!
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Post by Electrocycle » Sat, 12 Jun 2010, 21:52

coulomb wrote: I was at an EV seminar recently; one of the talks was on electric assisted bikes. I seem to recall that the author stated that Lance Armstrong could manage a peak of about 300 W for short bursts.
I have a dyno chart showing me making a peak of 1.3hp (nearly a kw) on a push bike. I am in no way a pro rider, or even a frequent rider (I did win the bicycle dyno comp though!)

The idea of the 200W limit was that it's about the amount of power an average rider can generator continuously (for an average length of ride)

Tritium_James wrote: But I think that it should be made so that you have to pedal to get assistance - otherwise you haven't got an electric pushbike, you've got a low-powered electric scooter, and it probably should be registered as such.
definitely.
Maybe higher powered e-bikes, even with pedal assistance, should have their own class of registration - and have indicators, brake lights, etc to make them safer to ride with other traffic.
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Ebike Power limits, proposed legislation

Post by aegidius » Sun, 13 Jun 2010, 14:55

coulomb wrote: I was at an EV seminar recently; one of the talks was on electric assisted bikes. I seem to recall that the author stated that Lance Armstrong could manage a peak of about 300 W for short bursts. So if you put in a lazy 50 W of your own power, plus 250 W of assist, you're up at elite racing bike levels. ...


That's WAY underestimated. Eddy Merckx, perhaps the Lance of his day (70's?) was clocked on an ergometer at 440W for 1 hour. Most riders, even occasional ones like me, can do 300-400W for a few seconds, but drop back to 150-180W if asked to put out for any more than 10-15 minutes. Elite racers are a whole different species from you and I, with all respect :-)

That said, a light 200W assist with Li batteries is like having a tandem stoker who never gets tired and weighs nothing, so it's not bad from a cyclist's perspective; just don't expect a motorcycle performance. A heavy 200W assist with lead batteries barely pays for its own weight in hilly country and is useless.

The problem I see with the proposed legislation is that, like the present situation, it is unenforceable. I reckon they should drop all power and speed limits and just have a weight limit. That would guarantee safe stopping with bicycle brakes, drive new technology, and all the cop on the street would need is a spring balance. But in practice, once authorities take an interest, they will choke it with legislation.
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Post by Electrocycle » Sun, 13 Jun 2010, 18:55

maybe unlicensed bicycles should be limited to pedal only, with a new class of licence and registration (very cheap) for power assisted bicycles - with a weight and / or power limit of at least a kw or two.
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Post by aegidius » Sun, 13 Jun 2010, 23:13

Gow864 wrote:Take our "P" platers, are they forced to drive cars with only 20hp? No, they can jump in daddys prosche if they want to.


Not on bikes they can't. But of course you can get killed just as dead on a learner-legal 250 or a postie bike.
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Ebike Power limits, proposed legislation

Post by 7circle » Mon, 14 Jun 2010, 08:22

After reading most of the linked document, I felt the issue for those making the law was limiting power and speed so a PAPC fits into the community the way a normal pedal bike does.

So many of the possible benifits of a PAPC are currently prohibited, I think, under the current laws of only 200W motor power.

I have had two electric push scooters and an e-bike kit.

I really would like to convert my full suspension bike with paniers to cruise at 40km/h. I'm 95kg and like to get A to B alive. I can ride at that speed without the motor for more than 2 minutes on the flat. So what extra risks would I be putting upon myself having a motor that could hold me at that speed on an incline. I can go much faster down hill.

http://www.bv.com.au/file/file/RTA%20May%2009.pdf

The report's reference to average riders speed capability doesn't mean the speed should only be 25 km/h. It continually suggests reduced risks with riding at higher speeds.

People riding inapproriately on the road or on the foot path is because there being stupid. Police have laws giving them powers to intervene in such cases.

I think the USA with 750W with no speed dependent assistance is the way to go at least unrestricted is better. The road rules for driving are enough to reduce accidents. One feature that could be included is seperate off switch acccesable while riding.

The only benifit of ADR design rule changes would be for people wanting to buy a safe bike that is built to suit the motor that is fitted. So if the manufacturer sticks a lable on it saying it meets ADR set of rules then the owner/rider may have some angle to sue the company if it breaks causing an accident.

I think the police should be able protect public safety and what a sticker says doesn't give the rider an excuse to ride unsafely.
I think an Optibike should be allowed in Australia.

What I need to know is when does a bike/trike need to be registered and have indicators and brake lights etc. Probably if it can go over 50km/h under its own power and my 40km/h desire fits under that.

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Post by Gow864 » Mon, 14 Jun 2010, 16:02

As far as I am aware you CANNOT register a bicycle as a motorcycle, there is no class for it.

My Personal opinion is that a bicycle is already subject to the road laws, and powered or not, that is the way it should stay. Trying to impose power limits on vehicles is plain idiotic. It isn't done where it really is needed (P platers), so why do it where it is not.

A bicycle travelling at 30-40kmh is (in my opinion) safer on public roads than one being pedaled at 15kmh, they pose less of an obstruction for cars, lets not forget that cars (electric or not) OWN the road.

My current bike cruises at 45kmh, and our local cop thinks it's great! "just watch your speed" was his only comment.

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Post by amnonholland » Mon, 14 Jun 2010, 21:23

whats a cop gonna do,
pull out his portable bike dynometer? Image
amptest your motor?

Im sure a tidy looking 200W sticker stuck on the motor would go along way unless the cop has any kind of mechanical or electrical background Image

I could understand him being a bit sus if you pull of the lights quicker than cars, do a mono without pedalling Image or a massive battery pack and motor barley fitting on the bike.
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Post by 7circle » Mon, 14 Jun 2010, 22:47

The report makes reference to Dyno's in every state and Police having scales to weigh bikes.

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Post by Tritium_James » Tue, 15 Jun 2010, 14:39

Looks like there's a market for controllers that do 1000W if *you* push the 'go' button, and 200W if someone else pushes it...

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Post by bga » Wed, 16 Jun 2010, 01:53

I was looking at the Yike Bike over here
and thought...
Does the legislation say anywhere that the pedals have to be connected to the wheel by a chain? (penny farthing)

So, does this mean that the pedals could turn a generator, making the bike a series hybrid?

Probably not as good as a chain, which is about 98% efficient, it was a passing thought.

It's not the end of the world, but I can see it from here.

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Post by Gow864 » Wed, 16 Jun 2010, 01:57

Tritium_James wrote: Looks like there's a market for controllers that do 1000W if *you* push the 'go' button, and 200W if someone else pushes it...


I believe that there is a mod for the Cycle Analyst that does exactly what you suggest James Image
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Post by electriker » Sun, 20 Jun 2010, 04:24

I don't see any necessity to have "pedal only assist". I've got two solar powered recumbent electrikes, and they've both got motorcycle style throttles, and in the four years I've been riding electric I find that there's no difficulty at all in controlling the motor's power. I usually ride under pedal power with the occasional electric assist, and I like to vary the power so that I can select instantly how much I use to get my optimum "range versus performance". But there are occasions when I find a nice flat stretch of road, I will go all electric and give myself a bit of a rest. I've just turned 60 and have arthritis of the feet, so it's good to have the break.

Image

Further I've been in a situation where I've had to accelerate very quickly from a potentially dangerous situation, and there was not enough time for me to move the pedals into the optimum position to get that quick acceleration. There are certain points in the pedalling action of a cyclist where there is less efficient muscle power available, just past top dead centre being the usual suspect. Twisting the throttle full open gives the instant take off that leg power can't.

I think 250 watts is adequate for an electric assist. More power takes the vehicle into the "moped" class, which needs to be insured etc.

Both of these trikes can reach 40 km/h without any need for electric power. Because the motors (Heinzemann) are governed to a max rev, the wheel size dictates (a) how quickly they accelerate and (b) how fast the trikes travel. I much prefer the quicker acceleration and hill climbing of the 16" wheel (16 km/h, good acceleration) to the 26" wheel (24 km/h but slow acceleration). Further, the 16" wheel is much better for towing a mono-track trailer with a 30kg payload.

Image


Even towing that much weight doesn't need more than 250 watts. I've ridden 50 km with the trailer and only used the motor to climb the last hill.

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Post by Tritium_James » Sun, 20 Jun 2010, 15:04

Hi Joe,

Are you sure that your motors aren't putting out a lot more than 250W when you gun it? I know the swiss velocity ebikes also used Heinzemann motors, and I'm pretty sure they had a 250W rating (it's been a while now and I can't remember exactly), but if you had the battery voltage and motor controller set up right they could put out almost 1500W for a short amount of time.

Just thought I should check, because otherwise your 'feel' for how much extra push 250W gives you might be a bit off.

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Post by electriker » Sun, 20 Jun 2010, 17:52

According to the literature they put out about 400 watts peak, and I'm sure they could be rejigged to put out more, except that they have a very good thermistor protection, and even at 400 w going unassisted flat out up a steep hill, they will shut off, especially ascending with the 26" wheel.

I'm currently using sealed lead acid batteries (cheap, reliable) so to use any extra power I'd need to get bigger capacity batteries, either physically heavier SLAs (which would just be extra weight to push for all but about 4-5 km of a 50 km round trip to Perth) or lighter, more expensive high tech ones. But that means that I'd need to go for more photovoltaics, and my current ones are as big as I can tote with me and not become a traffic hazard.

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Post by aegidius » Mon, 21 Jun 2010, 03:54

bga wrote:So, does this mean that the pedals could turn a generator, making the bike a series hybrid?


Andreas Fuchs in Germany has done this (google should find him). It's tricky to get right, and it will never be as efficient as a chain, but it's certainly do-able. But you could not get a free lunch - under the legislation the motor would only be able to add X* watts to your power input, making it even more unenforceable than now, if that's possible :-)

* where X = 200W peak (now) or 250W continuous (proposed)
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Post by bikeeze » Tue, 22 Jun 2010, 03:02

With the new proposed regulation for ebikes in Australia and the suggestion of making pedall assist will only limit the use and appeal to users.

I have tested many ebikes over the past 6 years and through experience pedalec or pedal assist can be dangerous in a new users control. In several trials I have conducted I have been left with the feeling of lack of control over the power and speed in certain areas, such as traffic when you take off behind a car and it brakes rapidly or stops, you now need to stop pedalling, apply brakes yet stay balanced and then start to pedal again to keep balanced and moving yet the take up of acceleration has been to fast and nearly made me run up the back of the car or on share path ways in busy areas the stop and go affect can be very dangerous.   

With the throttle control it responds immediatley and braking applied still allow the rider to pedal to help maintain balance and steering. For ederly or disabled pedal assist only,this would be a serious problem, yet would also limit the market and the benefits of using the electric bicycle as a serious transport option.

I suggest anyone who is looking into electric bicycles for transport to write to the appropriate authorities in each state to voice their views on the proposed new regulations. Even if increased to 300 watts it will still limit the market, please no pedal assist lets give the ebike a chance to be a great transport option for all. Hilly areas 300 watts and a 95-120kg rider will not cut the mustard and with pedal assist on an up hill run will see the start up wobbles in a whole new light. Throttle takes off eliminates the wobbles.
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Post by woody » Tue, 22 Jun 2010, 03:31

My reading of the RTA document is not that there is no throttle, just that you need to be "pedalling" for it to work.

The main concern the document has about bike power seems to be about pedestrian safety.

They do mention in Japan that there is extra power allowed up hills.

I would think a combination of accelleration and speed assistance limitation would allow high power up hills or with a heavy rider while not allowing massive speed, and also being easy to test.
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