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Old 08-20-2014   #1
Firn
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Default Pedalcycling into war - might (e)Bikes be back?

Bicycles have been popular vehicles after quick technological progress in the decades before 1900. Military forces adopted it to give infantry a relative cheap way to move quickly over longer distances. The rise of the motor vehicles in all forms in ever richer countries replaced them almost entirely. Last were the Swiss which hopped off the saddle a decade ago.

Overall, if so few armed forces around the world use them there should be rather good reasons why it is so. Even 2WD eBikes with serious money behind didn't seem to go far. At best it might make some sense in niches like urban operations in (very) low intensity conflicts. I will leave that to wiser heads.

So why I'm opening this topic apart from personal research for a new eBike? I think there have been and are some interesting trends which could make electric bicycles considerably more attractive for those niches.

1) Bicycles profited greatly in the last decade from considerable progress in practically every relevant performance area from suspension to brakes with ever lighter weight. High quality is found at good prices thanks to massive economies of scale. Expensive full suspension bikes are now approaching ten kilos.

2) Electric bikes have made huge strides in the last five years with pretty much every big name in the industry pushing them into every sector of the market. Big companies like Bosch and Yamaha became key suppliers. eBikes profit of course strongly from the overall developments concerning that key element, the battery. In some European countries more then 1 in 10 new bikes is already electric. Lots of additional power and speed in difficult terrain. Still quite silent.

3) Fatbikes are also a huge trend, capturing a wider share of the market. With fat tyres and low pressures down under 0.5 bar they have a far lower ground pressure. Sandy areas and snowy ones become more accessible.

The whole two-wheel scene is in movement with the big player KTM launching their Freeride E. A hybrid ICE-electric bike seems to get developed for testing for the US military. Personally I think there will be new types moving into the markets between the enduro/all-mountain bicycle and the classic ICE enduros. For example where would a electric full-suspension fatbike enduro-style with two wheel hub motors and a powerful battery fit? In some cases a very light, cheap and simple folding bike might be the better choice then the fancy new stuff. So all in all lots of things happening right now.

I will leave it at that for now. If a moderator thinks there is a better place to put this topic he should move it there.
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Old 08-24-2014   #2
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1) So why might electric-assisted bikes be a good idea for some niches?

It is of course difficult to imagine a whole company of light infantry biking from A to B as happened a hundred years ago. As stated before there are several interesting, if restricted uses:

a) Possibly the most interesting use of such an ebike might be as a light additional vehicle to support various little tasks like reconnaissance, observation, communication and traffic control. With around 25 kg it is light, if unwieldy, it could be easily slapped on various vehicles from trucks to scout cars. A relative cheap price means that losing it/leaving it behind for various reasons is far from a big deal.

For example an ebiker could quickly and silently reach a point of interest like the vicinity an potential OP or LP over a narrow trail.* He may rapidly distribute a couple of small sensors like mini-cameras at various locations. Or quickly reach a section of a road to direct traffic, bypassing it with little problems. With a push-assist it might be quite useful in quite difficult terrain to support a squad over a not-so short distance.

2) Why wouldn't mature ICE bikes be the better choice in those?

Compared to proper motorcycles like enduros it might have some big advantages:

a) Lightness
b) Silent operation
c) Ease of use
d) Lower price
e) Development potential

Of course there should be big disavantages as well:

a) Range
b) Refueling/Recharging
c) Speed
d) Load capacity
e) Maturity

Obviously both approaches can co-exist and most of the mentioned points are tendencies.

I will continue later on those and try to go into more details. So far for most applications something around an Macina freeze or Macina Lycon 27.5 GP+ with push-assist and a more powerful engine is in my mind. 2WD might be an option.°


*The bike battery might be used to recharge various others in stuff from micro-drones to communication gear.

°Right now the weight seems to be spend better for something else like more battery power. Compared to ICE motorcycle it is far easier and less cumbersome to add.
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Old 08-25-2014   #3
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Mountain bikes are a bit of an obsession of mine, though I've never used a bike with motor assist.

One problem likely to be encountered with military use is that the bicycle has limited adaptability to carrying weight, and troops these days carry a lot of that. A load on the rider's back is very unstable at speed and not healthy for the rider: a standing or walking position allows you to carry a load primarily on you hips; a natural cycling position does not, and any load on the back tends to put a lot of stress on the rider's lower back, especially on uneven terrain. The traditional solutions, panniers and handlebar bags, have limited capacity.

There would likely be some application for quick quiet movement over relatively friendly terrain with minimal load, but on a large scale, I don't know. I would be curious to see how much the US military could manage to spend on a bicycle, though!
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Old 08-25-2014   #4
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Question #1: Do the bikes necessarily need to be ridden, or is it enough to strap a load to them and walk alongside? I'm thinking of PAVN troops on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, not so much mounted Swiss troops. Perhaps a bike or two per section or squad might take a significant portion of the load off the backs of some of the dismounts patrolling in Afghanistan.

Question #2: Would an e-bike be capable of charging batteries like the BB-2590/U in a practical manner?
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Old 08-25-2014   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
Mountain bikes are a bit of an obsession of mine, though I've never used a bike with motor assist.
I had my fair share of fun over the last months with a 29er hardtail with a Bosch 250w crank drive motor. Usually it is said to be 'ganzo' or somewhat of a 'tractor'. It is rather impressive how it climbs on steep stuff, feels safe if not nimble and is easy to use. The mighty increase in torque* means that on soft, loose ground traction and flotation are far more often the limiting factor for that ebike than power. This is why an electric fatbike interests me so much that I will certainly test the macina freeze by KTM.

Quote:
One problem likely to be encountered with military use is that the bicycle has limited adaptability to carrying weight, and troops these days carry a lot of that. A load on the rider's back is very unstable at speed and not healthy for the rider: a standing or walking position allows you to carry a load primarily on you hips; a natural cycling position does not, and any load on the back tends to put a lot of stress on the rider's lower back, especially on uneven terrain. The traditional solutions, panniers and handlebar bags, have limited capacity.
The touring bike market seems to have come up with more and more solutions to carry loads in a practical manner, but bikes are still rather limited as you rightly point out. The latest Swiss military bike 12 shows that a full-suspension bike makes some methods quite complicated. I have no experience with bike touring so I will leave it there for now.

While I see such ebikes more in support and recce troops then combat the potentially very heavy burden of soldier plus load compared to a fit biker with his light gear is indeed a big problem. Full-supension, engine and fat tyres should help a great deal to increase the ride comfort and mobility and make it easier to drive in more challenging terrain. While it will be far harder to haul/carry over obstacles the relative new 'push-assist' makes it rather easy to push so equipped ebikes up steep slopes. Adjustable regen breaking is also a plus. This is of course relevant to the question raised by Biggus:

Quote:
Question #1: Do the bikes necessarily need to be ridden, or is it enough to strap a load to them and walk alongside? I'm thinking of PAVN troops on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, not so much mounted Swiss troops. Perhaps a bike or two per section or squad might take a significant portion of the load off the backs of some of the dismounts patrolling in Afghanistan.
I'm a bit sceptical on that, but military forces with low budgets and low personal costs might make a good of cheap Chinese ebikes or eScooters. About question 2, it should be quite possible to design a bike battery which right now have mostly 400W from which you can recharge other gear.


*Torque is of course a big strenght of electric engines. It is important to point out the following about pedelecs:

Quote:
The most influential definition which defines which e-bikes are pedelecs and which are not, comes from the EU and as such is valid across the whole of Europe. From the EU directive (EN15194 standard) for motor vehicles, a bicycle is considered a pedelec if:

i) the pedal-assist, i.e. the motorised assistance that only engages when the rider is pedalling, cuts out once 25 km/h is reached, and
ii) when the motor produces maximum continuous rated power of not more than 250 watts (n.b. the motor can produce more power for short periods, such as when the rider is struggling to get up a steep hill).

An e-bike conforming to these conditions is considered to be a pedelec and is legally classed as a bicycle
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Old 08-26-2014   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firn View Post
I had my fair share of fun over the last months with a 29er hardtail with a Bosch 250w crank drive motor. Usually it is said to be 'ganzo' or somewhat of a 'tractor'. It is rather impressive how it climbs on steep stuff, feels safe if not nimble and is easy to use. The mighty increase in torque* means that on soft, loose ground traction and flotation are far more often the limiting factor for that ebike than power. This is why an electric fatbike interests me so much that I will certainly test the macina freeze by KTM.
I confess that I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to cycling innovation: I think most of what passes for "innovation" lately is just the industry trying to come up with new stuff for cyclists to buy, and a lot of the supposed innovations mean very little in terms of performance. I still use 26" wheels (I ride technical trails and big wheels just feel clumsy) and a 2x9 drivetrain. A few years ago the industry was saying everyone has to be on 2x10, now they all want us to go 1x11. I think they are just trying to sell stuff.

I don't get the whole fatbike thing at all, unless you ride a lot on snow, which most people don't. In mud they will be a liability: you'll sink in anyway and have to plow all that tire through.

I can see how motor assist would be useful to people who use a bike as a tool, as would be the case in any military scenario. No interest in using it myself: the whole point is to do it myself! I have to wonder about the durability and maintenance issues, though, another consideration for military use: you'd have to have bike mechanics along wherever there are bikes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firn View Post
The touring bike market seems to have come up with more and more solutions to carry loads in a practical manner, but bikes are still rather limited as you rightly point out. The latest Swiss military bike 12 shows that a full-suspension bike makes some methods quite complicated. I have no experience with bike touring so I will leave it there for now.
Putting a rack over the rear wheel is complicated with a full suspension bike, because the rear triangle is not static relative to the front triangle, making it complicated to fix the rack to both. With any bike, putting any significant weight over the rear wheel produces a strong tendency for the front to lift while climbing steep hills. A bag under the top tube can work but it has to be very narrow to avoid chafing on the legs. My solution on multiday rides is to put high bulk/low weight items (extra clothing) on the back, high weight/low bulk items like tools, spares, camera in a handlebar bag, and food/water in a small backpack. The key is to keep weight very minimal (10kg absolute max, usually less) and distribute it around the bike. Too much weight in the front, the rear, or high up is dangerously unstable at any speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firn View Post
Full-supension, engine and fat tyres should help a great deal to increase the ride comfort and mobility and make it easier to drive in more challenging terrain. While it will be far harder to haul/carry over obstacles the relative new 'push-assist' makes it rather easy to push so equipped ebikes up steep slopes. Adjustable regen breaking is also a plus.
Suspension, tires, and bakes have some impact but do not change the fundamental problem of trying to carry a large load on your back while riding a bicycle. A backpack works while standing straight up by shifting the load to the hips. On a bike you're leaning forward, so the load goes onto your lower back, not the best place for it to be. Plus at any speed inertia comes into play, which means that when you turn the bike that load wants to keep going in a straight line. The consequences are not always pleasant.

It's also true that while a skilled rider on a mt bike can move fast over quite difficult terrain, this requires skill and a great deal of practice. If less skilled people try to do it, especially under large loads, accidents and injuries will result. Adding mt biking to a training rotation would probably be fun, but I'm not sure how practical it would be!
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Old 08-26-2014   #7
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Old 08-26-2014   #8
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That picture is precisely what I had in mind.

I would imagine that achieving a low weight whilst also being sufficiently durable and cheap would be somewhat difficult, although I acknowledge that many riders are as tough on their bikes as an infantryman would be.

Where I can foresee a practical use for an electric bike is in small unit reconnaissance, as a quieter alternative to motorbikes and possibly even ATVs. I understand that one US unit has evaluated electric Polaris ATVs in a similar role.
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Old 08-26-2014   #9
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@Biggus and WGEwald:

Chinese eBikes might not be as sophisticated as some of the Western stuff shown earlier even if it's components are largely produced there and other Asian countries. However at those prices I could imagine that not so wealthy countries could employ them in a number of roles, mostly those discussed here. What truly fascinates me is the sheer production capability of 1000000 Unit/Units per Year declared by the company.

I wouldn't love to wade through deep water with those but with a (remote) push-assist and cheap portage labour they could bring quite a bit of stuff over narrow trails.
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Old 08-26-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
Suspension, tires, and bakes have some impact but do not change the fundamental problem of trying to carry a large load on your back while riding a bicycle. A backpack works while standing straight up by shifting the load to the hips. On a bike you're leaning forward, so the load goes onto your lower back, not the best place for it to be. Plus at any speed inertia comes into play, which means that when you turn the bike that load wants to keep going in a straight line. The consequences are not always pleasant.

It's also true that while a skilled rider on a mt bike can move fast over quite difficult terrain, this requires skill and a great deal of practice. If less skilled people try to do it, especially under large loads, accidents and injuries will result. Adding mt biking to a training rotation would probably be fun, but I'm not sure how practical it would be!
I think that you are rightly pointing out the biggest problem for the use of bicycles by the Western infantry: the heavy load carried by the soldiers. Bikers of all sorts are well-known to be often fanatical about weight, especially if slopes have to be conquered.

This is one of the reasons why I hardly see even a niche role for most combat operations for Western forces. This leaves for them those roles:

i) Quick and agile short-distance (>15 km) rides for troops at or around military bases. No need for a mother vehicle.

ii) The same for support troops or rotated other forces in theatre if the situation allows. A standard vehicle might work as mother for one or two, a support truck for a couple.

iii) Motorized recce operations might get supported by one or two ebikes strapped to the specific vehicle. Once again it is about relative short distances over terrain which poses difficulties for larger vehicles. Could be forests with narrow trails or urbanized areas.

iv) Infiltrations by various means, for example like those coastline raids by Commandos in WWII in which 'borrowed' bicycles were used. Surprisingly distant targets might be approached that way rather quickly and silently.

v) Patrolling in mostly old urban areas during (very) low-intensity conflicts or stability operations for example by Carabinieri-like troops.


Other armed forces might use them also for:

vi) Portage or 'Pushage' in rather difficult terrain with narrow paths

For most of those niches a powerful engine and batteries are attractive. The ability to fold the bike would also be often highly valuable but has still some considerable downsides. While in some cases like not so deep mud fat tyres might be at a disadvantage overall they should make, at least powered by an electric motor, most tasks quicker, easier and safer. This goes also for full suspension. Overall my personal point of view that in cases like those it is a good maxim to spend more and have a - still cheap - piece of equipment which might be too performant for some activities instead of ending up with stuff not up to some tasks. Obviously there is a good case for two, maybe three types of ebikes.

Your other points are also of interest, I will write about them later.
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Old 08-27-2014   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
I confess that I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to cycling innovation: I think most of what passes for "innovation" lately is just the industry trying to come up with new stuff for cyclists to buy, and a lot of the supposed innovations mean very little in terms of performance. I still use 26" wheels (I ride technical trails and big wheels just feel clumsy) and a 2x9 drivetrain. A few years ago the industry was saying everyone has to be on 2x10, now they all want us to go 1x11. I think they are just trying to sell stuff.
They certainly want to. Praise capitalism and the (mostly) free market economy.

After that long period monopolized by the 26", which saw (very) considerable progress in pretty much all the relevant (and other) areas of cycling all those new tyre size options came as a big suprise to me. In my experience as a rather tall (1.88), broad and heavy (87 kg) biker 29ers do climb better if you have gravel, bigger stones and roots on your way up. I love a big gear range so I'm not planning to go 1x11 for bikes only powered by myself, which might be great for specific competitions.

Quote:
I don't get the whole fatbike thing at all, unless you ride a lot on snow, which most people don't. In mud they will be a liability: you'll sink in anyway and have to plow all that tire through.
On today's short tour, only 567 m of altitude I came across deep mud on a varying bewteen flat and short slopes where a tractor had drawn timber out of the forest. With some roots it is an interesting trail to climb but today I was forces to push in quite a few places as the tyres on the hardtail have hard time to clean themselves and in other places the resitence was too big. A somewhat lower pressure would have helped but the profile, good as it is on fast gravel sections, is just poor for mud.

I will try to get my hands as soon as possible on a electric fatbike with tyres biased towards soft ground. It has to face off against a 27,5" electric fully, which might fit overall my cycling better.

Quote:
I can see how motor assist would be useful to people who use a bike as a tool, as would be the case in any military scenario. No interest in using it myself: the whole point is to do it myself! I have to wonder about the durability and maintenance issues, though, another consideration for military use: you'd have to have bike mechanics along wherever there are bikes.
Indeed.

Overall I would buy more then enough ebike for military applications and one that is as easy to use as possible.

P.S: A brief history of fatbikes
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Old 09-01-2014   #12
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As discussed the electric bicycle undergoes rapid developments but has already become a mature technology used around the world with a strong industrial base. The rise of the ebike used for trail fun has caused Bosch to come up with the 'Travel Charger', likely for all those Germans planning to bring their new 'hybrid rides' on their VW multivans for the trails around the lago di Garda.*

This is just one example of how much easier and cheaper it becomes to integrate motorized bicycles into the armed forces, if it makes sense to do so. Hybrid military vehicles or those fitted with generators are of course the most suited for charging apart from the grid, if the latter is both possible and sensible. Hybrid bikes might thus become one of the factors in an increasing demand for electric power on the battlefield and benefit from the longer term drive to secure it.


*A blast from the past:

Quote:
ISO 4165 is a standard adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that describes a double-pole DC connector to supply between 12 and 24 V DC at up to 12 amps to appliances in vehicles. Although roughly similar in design to an automotive accessory receptacle, the ISO 4165 connector is shorter and smaller in diameter. It was originally a standard fitting on all the German military vehicles during World War II.
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Old 09-04-2014   #13
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To sum it up for now:

Technological advances could make bicycles in new forms attractive for some armed forces for some niches in some conflicts - or not.
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Old 02-12-2015   #14
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Last year I was mostly switching between a 29er fully with rather wide 2.4 tubeless tyres and my older 29er hardtail with a bit narrower ones with one or two rides with an older 26er ht thrown in. The difference between a full suspension bike with larger, wider tubeless tyres with considerable less pressure compared to the old-style one is surprisingly large indeed. It is quite amazing how different they behave in the more technical stuff on our trails, especially over those big knotty roots. I became quickly a coward with my older bike in some of the rougher patches and was glad to switch back.

The amount of experimentation going on right now in the bike industry is crazy, especially when it comes to tyres. Not long ago, even if it seems now ages, everybody just biked on his mountain bike. I did experiment a bit with air pressure but only switched tyres once the profile was gone - never thought I about tyre size or something like that. Now there are three diameters with a third width, the plus, coming up after the normal one and the 'fat' 26er. Big industry player Schwalbe sells now it's Procore system which was praised by bicilive. I will likely try it out this year. New lighter tubeless tyres plus procore could allow for even lower pressures with a lot of safety margin and not too much additional weight.

It rode only a couple of times on an pedelec this year as I trained a bit for mountaineering for my little African trip in various mountains but things move certainly swiftly there. That model comes actually pretty close to what I had in mind for an easy-to-ride electric bike with full suspension, low ground pressure and not too much weight. Obviously for military use it would need be heavier for the additional weight, storage and other stuff.



Actually this one attracts me as a 'hunting' bike as one can legally ride on a lot of roads closed for car and motorcycle traffic. I know of quite a few professional mountain guides which now use electric bikes as their second stage 'approach' transport. Instead of hiking or biking up long and tedious gravel roads they reach thus quickly the interesting areas to meet for example their clients.
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Old 02-12-2015   #15
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I did some additional research before the second run in Vail. Personally I still think that those guys have the best way to descend on snow but there are some interesting fatbike tests from Norway. On the trail biking seems to be faster then cross-country skiing..

An electric approach from California. All-wheel drive with two hub engines reported to have lots of watts.
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Old 09-01-2015   #16
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A year on and with a considerable amount of miles helped in part by an electric engine I it is time to look at the bigger economic picture.

1) In the EU, the key driver of high-end market, e-bikes are now outselling petrol bikes!

Quote:
With regard to e-bikes the Federation states that sales in this category grew with 25.6% to 1,139,000 units. This total is a low estimate. In its June/July edition, which contained a 2014 Market Report for EU e-bike imports and sales, this trade journal concluded that the 2014 volume of the e-bike, e-MTB and speed e-bike market in Europe stood at 1,325,000 units.
v.s

Quote:
According to the latest data available, in 2014 a total of 1,099,000 PTWs were registered in the EU and 57,550 PTWs were registered in EFTA countries. The year 2014 was the first year since 2007 in which the number of PTW registrations remained stable on a year-on-year basis.
In short after an amazing growth in the last couple of years the demand is strong.

2) The demand increases in years past has greatly driven industrial investment into the high-end electric bike market from the smallish Mittelstand to big players like Panasonic, Yamaha, Bosch, Shimano, Continental with engines and batteries or just the latter like Samsung.

This competition will continue to drive innovation, especially in conjunction with rather wild development race in (mountain) biking. Prices per performance will come down.

3) This investment and interest has led to an ever growing amount of electric bikes of all sorts for almost every niche. In the new ones the prices are of course still very high but there will be cheaper alternatives in the next years.

From DH bikes,



to full-suspension fatbikes



to all-wheel ones you have the broadest choice yet for your low-level transport vehicle.

4) For military applications it is of course important to keep Dahuyan's point in mind:

Quote:
It's also true that while a skilled rider on a mt bike can move fast over quite difficult terrain, this requires skill and a great deal of practice. If less skilled people try to do it, especially under large loads, accidents and injuries will result. Adding mt biking to a training rotation would probably be fun, but I'm not sure how practical it would be!
In general I would now put less weight on rather difficult terrain and trails and more one the general ability to get rather quickly and silently on a short trip from A to B in which most military vehicles have a harder time to traverse or are not needed. I think in some cases those electric bikes would fit Sven's neat idea of parasitic vehicles. Serious trail training should not be worth it's opportunity costs in practically every case.

As before I would pick at least a high-end speed pedelec if not a 'race' spec one, with wide tyres and top-end suspensions or a light e-motorcycle like the KTM Freeride E. Such decisions need obviously proper reviews and testing and not just speculations.
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Old 02-04-2016   #17
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Default Another year one

It is now 2016 and from my limited perspective I see several trends:

1) The arguably trend-setting and most high-end European market is still growing a great pace, roughly 25%.

2) Speed pedelecs with their generally more powerful engines and electric support up to 45 km/h seem to take off in more mature and leading markets like the Dutch one.

3) The growing market does also rapidly diversify, pushing the trend of the last two years. Now you can get pretty much every type of bike properly designed around the driver and the engine...

4) More and more competition comes into the electronic part of the market, from the engines to batteries and information technology.

5) Prices seem to have come indeed down in many segments, as was to be expected with a more mature technology, a bigger market and more competition...

Overall you get at a fast clip more and more for your money. In the next post I will take a look at light electric vehicles in a more general and futuristic perspective...
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Old 02-04-2016   #18
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The big big drawback of every battery-powered electric vehicle is well, the fact that it is battery-powered. A battery has a dismal energy density compared to gasoline, which makes it in general terrible for long ranges and ties it to an operational grid. Far flung operations in a war zone with them are just not possible today. The ebike and other light electric vehicles are in my opinion only feasible in specific, limited, short-range support roles. Will that change in, let us say 50 years?

1) On the vehicle side it largely depends on battery technology. Even a factor four in energy density (coupled with a similar drop in price) will keep energy density magnitudes below gasoline. It will enlarge their role and make hybrids more attractive but will not substitute the combustion engine. Short tactical moves with silent and less heat-intensive electric motors should make surprise easier.

2) The grid or energy supply side is arguably more interesting. Why? If more and more renewables, especially solar and local storage comes online distributed and electric cars become common the military will profit at least in party from local and (very) fast charging.

This means that plug-in hybrids with fairly large batteries can tap into an additional source of energy reducing to some extent in developed countries the logistical tail. The dimension of this impact depends obviously on many factors, put it should increase with time.

Anyway a highly realistic LEV urban application.
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Old 02-05-2016   #19
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Originally Posted by Firn View Post
The big big drawback of every battery-powered electric vehicle is well, the fact that it is battery-powered. A battery has a dismal energy density compared to gasoline, which makes it in general terrible for long ranges and ties it to an operational grid. Far flung operations in a war zone with them are just not possible today. The ebike and other light electric vehicles are in my opinion only feasible in specific, limited, short-range support roles. Will that change in, let us say 50 years?

1) On the vehicle side it largely depends on battery technology. Even a factor four in energy density (coupled with a similar drop in price) will keep energy density magnitudes below gasoline. It will enlarge their role and make hybrids more attractive but will not substitute the combustion engine. Short tactical moves with silent and less heat-intensive electric motors should make surprise easier.

2) The grid or energy supply side is arguably more interesting. Why? If more and more renewables, especially solar and local storage comes online distributed and electric cars become common the military will profit at least in party from local and (very) fast charging.

This means that plug-in hybrids with fairly large batteries can tap into an additional source of energy reducing to some extent in developed countries the logistical tail. The dimension of this impact depends obviously on many factors, put it should increase with time.

Anyway a highly realistic LEV urban application.

Sorry, the energy density argument is to a certain extend bogus: 80% of the energy in diesel is lost as heat - Carnot cycle is a bitch. :-)

Therefore, with 1/5 of the energy density you would have a battery with the same amount of usable energy, and batteries allow recuperation of kinetic energy, the ICE not, these two aspects give you one order of magnitude.

Hence, for me the affair is not so clear. :-)

But I concur that batteries will play in other fields important role in future, they can replace power plants for auxillary services and flatten the production profile of PV.

The obvious solution is to use millions of civilian EVs as storage, as they have a huge battery which is underused for most of the time. Stationary battery systems at home are IMHO a waste in Europe.
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Old 02-05-2016   #20
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Sorry, the energy density argument is to a certain extend bogus: 80% of the energy in diesel is lost as heat - Carnot cycle is a bitch. :-)

Therefore, with 1/5 of the energy density you would have a battery with the same amount of usable energy, and batteries allow recuperation of kinetic energy, the ICE not, these two aspects give you one order of magnitude.

Hence, for me the affair is not so clear. :-)
Bogus is rather a strong word.

I generally try to keep it short for time reasons and out of want to avoid tedious repetition. Sometime that makes it less clear than it could be.

The superior efficiency of the process from battery to wheel is quite well known and does indeed narrow the gap. A good way to picture the advantages of electronic drive compared to combustion one is to compare the three big component weights.

m = a + b + c

Overall mass is composed of engine + drive-train + energy storage. Per a given x of performance the electric approach is generally (far) lighter when it comes to engine and drive-train however much heavier in energy storage.

This is actually one of the big reasons why electric power and bikes or short ranged LEV fit so well. If the battery doesn't have to be that large the overall package will be lighter then the combustion option.

Long range ( and energy-intensive) vehicles suffer that they need a large and thus very heavy energy storage and in generally faster charging. Many military vehicles fall into that category.





My key point was that rechargeable batteries in vehicles (pure electric, hybrid) and off them will become much more attractive if 1) and 2) work out. An increasing share of military vehicles should profit from the ability to plug in, using distributed energy and more available faster charging from private and public sources.

This is a bit of a change from the generator theme seen in recent years largely due to conflicts in underdeveloped countries. Both views are obviously not mutually exclusive...
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