Electric Bicycles

Wow, while we sit and talk about electric cars and how they will save the environment, China is exploding with e-bikes (electric bicycles). I've always been interested in the idea of electric assisted bikes.
By some estimates there are 120 million e-bikes on China's roads—up from just 50,000 a decade ago, making it the fastest growing form of transportation in China.
I have done a lot of experimenting with recharging batteries for flashlights and emergency lighting for many years. Over the years my experiments covered several eras of recharging batteries.

My first experiments were with recharges for non-rechargeable batteries. They were horrible. I tried many different recharges not believing they could all be so bad. They were. The recharged battery lasted for 1/3 the time of a new one. You had to be sure they were charged in a contained area as they would occasionally burst open. They also tended to leak and ruin the device you were using them in. If you see these recharges in thrift stores avoid them like the plague.

Then came the NiCad and the NiMH rechargeable batteries. At first they weren't much better but they  eventually got to the point were they lasted 3 times longer than regular alkaline batteries.

Current rechargeable batteries and rechargeable battery packs for electric tools are amazingly good.

Check out the following articles from the Time, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post on the the benefits and curse of this great environmental solution of e-bikes.

On the Streets of China, Electric Bikes Are Swarming

Electric Bicycles Deadly on China's Streets - WSJ.com

Electric Bikes in China

As an exercise in getting the creative juices going check out this mini bike run by a battery powered drill.

PS. After reading the Department of Transportation information regarding e-bikes in Wisconsin I realize there are some big hurdles to overcome before e-bikes are allowed in the USA. Good thing I didn't get one of my energy saving e-bike inventions on the road. Could have been thrown in jail for it.