These days there seems to be an endless supply of new e-bikes being announced every week. From inexpensive e-bikes with just 7.5 mi (12 km) of range to specialty e-bikes with 400 mi (643 km) of range.
But consumers have always had to take these range estimates with a grain of salt due to the various and sometimes unscrupulous methods some retailers use to achieve more impressive results. So far, that is, a new standard for measuring e-bike range has finally been developed.
The German automobile association ZIV (Zweirad-Industrie-Verband) has just announced that it has developed a standard intended to measure the range of e-bikes in such a way that all e-bikes can be compared on a footing. equality.
Leading e-bike brands provided advice during the development of the standard, including Accell Group, Bosch E-Bike Systems, Shimano and Velotech.
Known as the R200 standardized range test, the new standard aims to not only help manufacturers come up with more realistic range estimates, but also to help e-bike shops help customers better compare different brands and models of electric bicycles.
More importantly, the new standard is designed to achieve repeatable results, which is unfortunately rare when it comes to estimating range in the e-bike industry.
Many manufacturers, especially those of low-cost, pedal-assist bicycles, use testing methods that include professional riders, groomed bike paths, or other advantages to get the best possible range on a single battery charge. of electric bike. This impressive range is then listed as the e-bike’s maximum range, often with a small caveat to warn customers that e-bike ranges vary depending on factors such as terrain, weather and the individual rider.
The new ZIV standard is described in this report, although you need a fairly good German to understand it.
Essentially, the new test procedure uses a qualified test rig to standardize all e-bikes to a uniform 200% assist factor. This means that the test simulates the e-bike providing twice as much assistance as the rider himself. So, if the rider provides 100W of power, a typical amount for a casual rider, the e-bike would provide 200W of assist for a total combined man/e-bike hybrid power of 300W.
Factors considered by the test standard include everything from road surface and weather conditions to weight of the bike and type of tires used.
Unrealistic e-bike ranges have long been one of my biggest EV-related pet peeves. It has always frustrated me to see companies that take advantage of consumer ignorance with unrealistic claims that no one will ever realize in real life.
So I think a standard like this is long overdue.
Of course, that doesn’t mean all e-bike manufacturers are going to use the new standard or that adoption will even happen quickly, but hopefully the big players will come on board in an effort to demonstrate their credibility with consumers. . This could help motivate other small manufacturers to start using the standard. Finally, not using an industry standard to gauge the range could be taken as a sure sign that something suspicious is going on and cause consumers to walk away.
My biggest remaining question is how well does this standard compare between pedal-assist e-bikes and e-bikes that only operate with a hand throttle.
From what I understand from the standard (which admittedly reads them with the help of an online translator), the test should also be able to apply to throttle e-bikes by applying 70W of pedal power and engaging the throttle to a certain point which would apply 140W of engine power. However, I can understand German about as well as I can breathe underwater, so if any German speakers would like to help me check this out, I’d appreciate it!
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