E-bikes are the greenest vehicle of the year and, in a not far distant future, post-coronavirus, they could become one of the most highly appreciated means of transport in large towns.

But what really sets an e-bike apart from a car or public transport? Why shouldn’t we buy a moped or merely a conventional bicycle?

E-bikes, electric bikes, pedal-assisted bikes or pedelecs?

Before continuing we need to make a small clarification. The terms “electric bikes”, “e-bikes” and “pedal-assisted bikes” are often used in an interchangeable manner, giving rise to a certain degree of confusion.

In realty, it is important to pay attention to the term used, since the law which regulates these vehicles varies depending on the particular category.

E-bikes”, “pedal-assisted bicycles”or “pedelecs” are synonyms and indicate the same means of transport. In a European context they can also adopt the name of “EPAC-Electric Pedal Assisted Cycle”. Both Article 50 of the Italian Highway Code and EU Directive 2002/24 identify this type of vehicle in the category of “velocipedes”, the same as traditional bicycles. They are two-wheeled vehicles equipped with “an auxiliary electric motor having a nominal power of 0.25 kW the power supply of which is progressively reduced and lastly interrupted when the vehicle reaches 25 km/h or before this if the cyclist stops pedalling”.

On the other hand, the electric bicycle, which is also called “speed pedelec”, falls within the category of mopeds. In this case, its electric motor is not only used to provide a help and a thrust, but also to completely replace the pedalling if necessary. Since it is a moped, this vehicle does not fall within the above-mentioned directives (if necessary, we suggest that the regulations concerning the use of this vehicle be consulted). The auxiliary electric motor with a nominal power of between 1 kW and 4 kW reaches a maximum speed of 45 km/h.

In this series of articles the focus will be on the category of velocipedes, that of the e-bikes. We will dive into their numerous advantages, the different models of ebikes and the best way to protect them.

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