Drive On – E-Bikes Shift into High Gear

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If the five childhood friends and co-founders of electric bicycle developer FAZUA GmbH in Munich, Germany have their way, Europe’s fast-growing e-bike market soon will shift into an even higher gear.

Venture-funded FAZUA is using HP Zbook 15 mobile workstations, powered by Intel® Core™ processors, and SolidWorks 3D modeling software to develop an innovative drive system for pedelecs, which are bicycles where the rider's pedaling is assisted by a low-power electric motor that shuts off when the rider stops pedaling.

The vast majority of electric bicycles are pedelecs, and Europe has taken to them with great enthusiasm. For example, in 2013 there were some 410,000 electric bicycles on the road in Germany – more than twice as many as in 2010 – and 1.2 million in use throughout Europe, according to the German Bicycle Industry Association (the Zweirad-Industrie-Verband).

Pedelecs are increasingly used for everyday commuting as well as for sport riding and leisure touring. They enable commuters to expend less effort and to show up at work fresh, and they allow people who lack strength and endurance – such as older people or those recovering from injures – to enjoy the health and recreational benefits cycling can provide.

Pedelecs differ from higher-powered pedalassist bicycles and fully electric units in that they are regarded as conventional bicycles and not mopeds, which may require a driver’s license, registration, and insurance.