Digital integration, for more ‘intelligent’ e-bikes, will be a driving force in attracting more people away from other modes of transport, according to a study from a Leicestershire university.
The survey – Electric bicycles, next generation low carbon transport systems – sought to identify the integrated intelligent features most likely to encourage current cyclists and new users to adopt e-bikes over competing modes of mobility.
Automatic lighting and locking topped the list, along with blind spot warnings for nearby motorists.
Respondents to the survey – conducted by Loughborough University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering – expressed a desire for a more intelligent, secure and adaptive e-bikes.
Car and Motorbike Manufacturers are Further Advancing Development
The Loughborough University report, released in March, found car and motorbike manufacturers entering the e-bike business, with expanded technology and marketing options, were a key factor in the growth of the e-bike market.
Last month, German high-performance car manufacturer Porsche moved to increase its stake in Greyp Bikes, a Croatian company that claims to produce “the most connected and technologically advanced e-bikes on the market”.
The move, which is awaiting approval by regulatory bodies, continues an escalating trend in automotive companies buying into the bike industry, with a particular interest in the growth of e-bikes.
Greyp describes itself as a “tech company that just happens to make some of the best bikes in the world”, equipping its e-bikes with inbuilt GPS, widescreen cameras mounted front and rear and a Greyp app that provides a range of displays and assists with trip planning.
The promise of advanced technology such as collision avoidance had also played an important role, along with improvements in lithium battery technology, the involvement of major component suppliers such as Bosch and increased consumer awareness of the health and environmental benefits of cycling.
Most Desirable Intelligent Features
The survey was completed by people around the world and invited them to rank a number of ‘intelligent’ features that we were split into two groups: improvements to the comfort and ease of use of the vehicle (convenience features); and improvement to the safety of the vehicle usage on a road environment (safety features).
The top-ranked convenience features were:
- Automatic lighting – Light intensity sensor to turn on lights in the dark eg. in tunnels or at night.
- Automatic locking – Locking of the wheels using the electric motor to prevent theft when not in use.
- Gradient climb assistance for additional assistance when climbing hills.
- Heated hand areas on handlebars and brake levers for winter cycling.
- Regenerative braking to charge the battery.
- Standing start boost – A small boost of power when setting off from a standing start.
- Variety of effort modes – Selectable modes for different levels of assistance, eg. Workout Mode (little assistance); Commute Mode (some assistance).
Top-ranked safety features:
- Blind spot warning to drivers to alert them when a bike is close.
- Brake lights & indicators similar to a car, to give indication of intentions of braking and turning to nearby drivers or pedestrians.
- Built-in camera – Recording device useful in case of an incident.
- Horn to alert nearby road users of a rider’s presence via sound.
- Maintenance warnings for tyre pressures, brake wear and tyre wear
- Obstruction warning – A sensor to warn of ground-level obstructions such as potholes, speed bumps and uneven surfaces.
- Rear proximity sensor to warn when vehicles are approaching from behind.
Join the Conversation:
What integrated intelligent features do you think are most likely to attract people to e-bikes?