Q: What's the law regarding electric bikes?
A: The law specifies that a electric bike is subject to the same rules as a normal bicycle, except that the rider must be at least 14 years old. However, the electric bike must have a motor of no more than 250w, it must have pedals and the motor must cut out at 25k/h, or 15.5 mph.
Q: Do they recharge while cycling?
A: There are some bikes that provide this facility, but in reality the increased range is probably no more than 10%. Bear in mind that the regeneration takes away momentum and increases the complexity and weight of the bike. Technology is moving on, however, so this may improve.
Q: What's the range of an electric bike?
A: That's a tough one to answer, as it depends on the bike, the battery, the rider and the terrain. Between 20 and 60 miles is a rough guide.
Q: How fast do they go?
A: Legally all electric bikes have to stop assisting at 15.5 mph. You can, of course, keep pedalling and can therefore go as fast as you can manage.
Q: Do they have throttles?
A: Some electric bikes have a throttle, though this is likely to change in the future when UK law comes into line with EU law. An electric bike with no throttle is called a Pedelec, and assists the rider's pedalling. Sensors determine when the rider is pedalling and switch on the motor to assist. Usually there are several levels of assistance that the rider can select.
Q: How long does it take to charge the battery?
A: This depends on the model, but quoted charge times, from a flat battery to full, range from 3 hours to 6 hours.
Q: How much does it cost to run an electric bike?
A: The only real running cost is the electricity required to charge the battery, and this ranges from 2p to 10p depending on electricity tariff and battery capacity.