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Are electric bikes legal?

Are electric bikes legal? Do you need a licence to ride one? Do they need to be insured? Do ebikes get taxed? These are all valid and very common questions that we receive. Many people want to buy an electric bike, but they’re worried about the legality of them. Unfortunately, these aren’t simple “yes” or “no” questions, but in this article, we hope to clear up any uncertainty.

 

Most electric bikes, such as our eTura and Furo X, are officially classed as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) in the eyes of the government. EAPCs are legal to ride in England, Wales, and Scotland for anybody over the age of 14. Of course, being legal to use in public isn’t the same as being legal to ride without a licence or insurance – cars are legal to use on public highways for those over 17 years old, but you must have a licence, pay road tax, and be insured. In the case of EAPCs, however, you do not need a licence, to pay tax, or be insured.

 

You can ride electric bikes anywhere you would ride a regular pedal bike. This means they can be ridden on public highways but not pavements, and must follow driving customs and road signs at all times. Riders of EAPCs must also obey the highway code and use front and rear lights when riding between sunset and sunrise. Failure to follow these rules and customs can result in serious fines.

 

What qualifies as an EAPC?

In order for an electric bike to qualify as an EAPC, it must meet certain criteria. Unsurprisingly, it must have pedals and the pedals must be in use for the electric motor to activate and provide assistance. If the electric motor can be activated without pedalling, for example with a throttle or switch (often called “twist & go”), then the vehicle is not an EAPC.

 

EAPCs must clearly display either the maximum speed of the vehicle or the battery’s voltage, and they must also display either the power output or the manufacturer of the motor. The power output of the motor cannot exceed 250 watts, and must not provide assistance when the bike is travelling at more than 25kpm (15.5mph). EAPCs may have two or more wheels, so it’s possible to have an electronically-assisted tricycle. If an electric bike does not fit these criteria, then different rules may apply to it.

 

Electric Bikes that are not EAPCs

An electric bike that is faster than the above specifications, i.e. it provides assistance when travelling faster than 25kph (15.5mph) then it is classed as a moped or motorcycle in the eyes on the UK government. This means it must be registered, taxed, insured, and you must have a driving licence to ride one. You’re also legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding one on public roads.

 

If the electric bike’s motor can be activated without pedalling, it also fails to meet the EAPC standard. For instance, an electric scooter is classed as a Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV) and is therefore illegal for use on public highways and pavements in the UK. PLEVs are, however, legal in many other countries in Europe and some states in America (hence their popularity in Paris, Madrid, and San Francisco).

 

Exceptions to the rule

There are some bikes with a “twist & go” throttle that are exceptions to this rule. Some electric bikes, including our entire range, have a throttle that is limited to speeds of 6kph (3.7mph); the reason for this throttle is to help those who struggle to begin cycling – it helps them get going. Once 6kph is reached, the throttle will cut out unless the rider starts pedalling. These vehicles are classed as EAPCs and are fully legal to ride without a licence, tax, and insurance.

 

The laws surrounding personal transport can be confusing and are often changed to meet new demands and cater to new transport trends. We hope that the UK follows other countries around the world and legalises the use of PLEVs so that our electric scooter – the Fuze – can be enjoyed beyond just private land. The good news is that all of our electric bikes – the eTura, the Furo X, and the Sierra – are legal to use in the UK and Europe as if they were normal pedal bikes. Our electric bikes are capable of reaching higher speeds than the legal limit for public roads, and can be modified if you wish to ride on private land or in countries with more liberal restrictions.

How to get the most from your electric bicycle or scooter battery? – the best battery tips

Batteries are a fascinating thing. Electricity transformed our society for the better, opening the door to wonderful advances in science, technology, and making our every day lives much easier and comfortable in the process. A notable example being machines such as electric cars, electric bicycles and electric scooters which facilitate urban life and daily movements while lowering pollution and our detrimental impact on the environment. However, electricity is quite hard to store. Today, the best commercially available way we have to do this, the best meaning the way with the most optimal balance between volume, price and energy delivery is Lithium-ion cells. You can have a look at our previous article on ebike batteries to get a bettetr idea of how they work exactly.

Now, most of you will know that Lithium-ion batteries have a certain life span. Let me make this a bit clearer for you. As you store and extract power from your battery, the cells that constitute it do some work, heating up at the same time and slowly deteriorating, mainly due to an increased internal resistance. When you read the quoted manufacturer cycle life of your battery, it only tells you how many cycles (fully charged to fully discharged) your battery can go through before reaching 70% of its original capacity. It won’t die at this point though, its capacity will keep decreasing linearly until the cells inside of the battery eventually fail after an indeterminate amount of time which will depend largely on manufacturing quality, maintenance and intensity of use.

Most modern Lithium-ion cells will have a cycle life of 500 cycles. This means that after 500 complete charges and complete discharges of your electric bike or electric scooter at their standard charge and discharge rates, you will get about 70% of the capacity you had during your first use. Charging or discharging faster will significantly decrease this.

However, there is a trick to multiplying this cycle life significantly. First of all, there is the obvious more moderate use. You usually cannot do much about charging speed as this is provided by your electric vehicle manufacturer through their charger, but most of the time these are slow enough to preserve the integrity of your battery. On the other hand, you can make sure you reduce your average riding speed, and the intensity of your accelerations and electric decelerations. On top of giving you more range per charge this will also increase your cycle life by a non-negligible amount.

The optimal operational and storage temperature for modern Lithium-ion batteries, whether in electric cars, ebikes or escooters is 23°C. Storing it in cooler places will usually be better than in warmer places. However, using your battery in colder environments will reduce your immediate capacity much more than in warmer environments, based on the 23°C baseline mentioned above.

The absolute best thing you can do for your battery, and we are talking 10x improvements in cycle life, is to manage your charge and discharge levels. From our learnings at FuroSystems and my personal experience as an aerospace engineer specialising in advanced space systems, charging your battery in a way that keeps its cells at a maximum voltage of 3.9V and subsequently using only 50% of your battery capacity can take your cycle life from 500 cycles to 6000 cycles.

A practical example for our eTura and our Furo X which use a similar battery configuration, would be charging your battery to 39V or four bars (almost 5 bars) on the computer and discharging it to roughly two bars on the computer. For the Fuze, that would be a charge to 50.7V and a discharge to 39V (can be checked on computer, see user manual). If you are not a FuroSystems owner, you can usually divide the nominal voltage of your battery by 3.6 to get the number of cells in series in your battery and multiply that by 3.9 to get your recommended charge level. It is very important to note that every 10 to 15 cycles, you should conduct a full charge and full discharge of your battery to make sure that you do not lose any energy capacity due to memory phenomenons.

Eventually, it all depends on how you want to use your electric bike or scooter. You can either go full power all the time, make the most of if every day and have a lot of fun, keeping in mind that after 500 cycles you will be at roughly 70% of your original capacity. Or, you can pay attention to how you use your EV in order to maximise cycle life, which will also mean less range per charge.

In case you are part of the latter, here are our recommendations:

  • Store your battery in a cool and dry place between 15°C and 23°C.
  • Use your electric bicycle or electric scooter preferably between 15°C and 35°C rather than 0°C and 15°C.
  • Watch your average speed and the intensity of your acelerations and decelerations (when using battery regen).
  • Charge your battery to 3.9V per cell (roughly 75% capacity) and discharge down to roughly 25%, so a 50% discharge of your battery from 75% down to 25%. This could get you up to 6000 cycles of life. Of course charging higher and discharging further will decrease this progressively until you reach your quoted 500 cycles under normal use.
  • Always make sure that you have one full charge and full discharge cycle every 10 to 15 charge cycles.

We hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments!

New addition to the FuroSystems family: the lightest and most compact electric folding bike in the world

After a year of research, design and development effort, it is with great pleasure that we would like to announce the launch of the FuroSystems eTura.

Weighing in at 12kgs fully equipped, it is one of lightest electric bikes in the world with no compromise on power, range or fun. Its removable battery delivers over 315Wh of energy, while its motor is rated at a continuous 200W with a power boost of up to 400W when sensing the need for acceleration or climbing thanks to a clever integrated power controller.

Its onboard computer is seemless and intuitive while its low weight and small size make it perfect to disappear under your desk or in small cupboards.

We are proud of this one and invite you to have a look at its features and benefit from a significant 30% pre-order launch discount.

Discover the eTura here

Furo X Delivered Earlier than Planned!

After the delays encountered in delivering our previous Furo X batch, mainly due to a factory change and unexpected delays at customs, thank you Brexit, we worked very hard to make sure this wouldn’t happen again, and positively surprise our next customers. We are very happy to announce that this was a success and the following batch was delivered one month early and is now sold out. Next orders will be delivered early July, and as we re-enter this short pre-order phase, a 22% discount is now offered on the Furo X.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

How to Determine the Real Range of an Electric Scooter and its Battery

Before jumping into the Physics of it, you can access our online range calculator here.

Batteries are the lifeblood of any electric vehicle. They are not only their most expensive individual component of a vehicle, but they also define their range and performance. How are they characterised and what do their specifications mean for you, the rider?

Typically batteries are defined by 3 basic specifications, Voltage (V), Amp-hours (Ah) and Watt-hours (Wh).

Let us start by describing Voltage and Amps. Voltage and Amperage are characteristics of electric systems that can easily be understood by using the analogy of water flowing in a pipe. Voltage is akin to water pressure, the more voltage the more ‘pressure’ there is in the current. The Amperage is akin to the flow rate, or the amount of water that is flowing through the pipe. The more Amperage, the more current is ‘flowing’.

The Amps being akin to how much water is flowing, the Amp-hours (Ah) are therefore akin to how much water there is in the tank. 1 Ah is basically the ‘amount of electricity’ equal to 1 Amp of flow for 1 hour.

FuroSystems Battery Range Water Analogy

If a battery were simply a water tower, the Voltage is the water pressure (height of the tower) and the Amp-hours is the amount of water in the tank.

Now, how does all this relate to the range of an electric vehicle (electric bike, electric scooter)? The range is directly proportional to the amount of energy stored in the battery. The total energy capacity of a battery is defined in Watt-hours (Wh). Just like Amp-hours, a battery with 1 Wh capacity can provide 1 Watt of power for 1 hour.

You can easily calculate the Watt-hours (Wh) from the Voltage (V) and the Amp-hours (Ah):
Wh=V x Ah

And therefore, the range a battery can provide is directly linked to its Voltage and its Amp-hours. It is a common misconception that a battery’s capacity is measured with Ah. The capacity of a battery is actually measured by Wh which is equal to V x Ah. This means that a 48V battery with 8.8AH capacity (48×8.8 = 422Wh) is actually much larger and will provide longer autonomy than a 24V battery with 12AH (24×12 = 288Wh).

FuroSystems Battery Range Water Analogy Part 2

To sum up, whenever you want to compare batteries with regards to range, ensure you are not comparing Ah or V. You should be comparing Wh. And the Wh can easily be calculated from V x Ah.

FUZE – Live Tracking of 2nd Batch (Orders After 3rd of April) Now Available

The manufacturing of our 1st batch (orders on or before the 3rd of April) is now complete and is getting ready to ship. Thanks to a high volume of orders and factory upgrades we were able to improve the specs of the FUZE further, and free of charge, but at the expense of a few weeks delay. The manufacturing of the 2nd batch has now started and we are working our hardest to minimize the accumulated delay. Currently, delivery is planned for the end of June – beginning of July and our progress can be tracked through this page: 2nd Batch Live Tracker.

Our top priority is the delivery of an outstanding product in terms of quality and performance to price ratio. We are choosing to spend more time on detail manufacturing at the expense of a slight delay. We fully understand if at any point you decide that the pre-order route is taking too long for you and will therefore accept and process immediately any cancellation and refund requests.

We thank you for your support and your trust in our mission! Please don’t hesitate to contact us here shall you have any questions.

FUZE First Batch Delivery Update

We created the FUZE to bring you a truly high performance electric scooter at an affordable price. Towards this goal, once realizing economies of scale thanks to factory upgrades and a significant amount of orders, we decided to increase the power of the FUZE to 750W from its original 600W and its battery capacity to 422Wh from 315Wh without any increase in price. This translates to better acceleration, climbing, a higher top speed at full charge and 50% more range.

However, we underestimated some of the issues and delays we would encounter in ordering, manufacturing and retrofitting these new components to the FUZE. Similarly, this being our first batch and in order to ensure that all scooters are of impeccable quality we progressively upgraded their industrial finition as we built them.

Consequently, delivery of the first batch is currently delayed by about 3 weeks and we expect to deliver around the end of May / beginning of June. We would like to offer our most sincere apologies for this unforeseen delay and are truly working our hardest to reduce it as much as possible.

In a matter of transparency and optimal communication, we have created this live tracking page which will display the exact status of the FUZE batch until delivery.

In addition, in order to make sure that we reduce any inconvenience caused by this delay, the form at the end of the tracking page will allow you to notify us with new late delivery instructions. You are also free to require a cancellation and refund at any time (usually processed same day) shall your FUZE be now arriving too late.

What we can promise is that once we get it to you, you won’t regret the wait!

On behalf of the FuroSystems Team, we thank you for your patience and your trust in our mission.

SIERRA Electric Mountain Bike Now Road Legal

The SIERRA is now (finally) available in a 250W continuous – 500W peak power version. As a quick reminder continuous power is taken as an average over 30 seconds or more of the power expanded by the motor. 250W of continuous power is the legal limit imposed by authorities to be able to use an electric bike on public roads and properties. However, for short periods of time (< 10s) the SIERRA, when sensing the need for acceleration or inclines, will provide you with bursts of 500W to double performance when needed.

The 350W version is still available in small quantities on direct requests!



Enjoy!

Free FUZE Electric Scooter Upgrade to 750W and 422Wh on All Orders!

We just upgraded the specs of all FUZEs, those already pre-ordered and all the ones that we will produce in the future, without any increase in price. This sounds crazy but here is why:

First of all, we want to make you happy, and what better way to do this than over deliver and exceed your expectations.

Secondly, when we launch a product we first go through a lengthy design and testing phase which is based on prototypes mostly manufactured at our workshop in London. We then send these prototypes out for certifications and beta trials as you can see on our review page. Once everything is validated and we feel that we finally got that sweet spot, the one at peak performance and optimal pricing, we send designs, plans and prototypes to our factories. This allows us to set up the required assembly lines with them. At this point, sometimes we find some cost saving efficiencies in manufacturing, logistics or parts supply chain which allow us to further improve our product before delivery. This happened on the SIERRA, the FURO X and is now happening to an even greater extent with the FUZE.

Essentially, we stepped up our power system from 600W to 750W. We also changed our cell assembly to offer a 48V 8.8Ah battery instead of a 36V 8.8Ah, hence an energy increase of more than 105Wh to reach 422Wh instead of 315Wh. Practically, this means more acceleration, steeper inclines, more speed and more range at no extra costs!

We can’t wait to deliver this to you, you won’t be disappointed!

PS: The Fuze has had huge success with more than 450 sold over the last four weeks. As such the current batch is about to sell out! After which a new batch will be produced for delivery at the start of june!

New family member, the Fuze, a high performance electric scooter at 45% launch discount

After months of research and development, we are finally proud to announce the launch of the Fuze, our high performance electric scooter. We packed it with state-of-the-art technology while paying careful attention to details and ensuring world class manufacturing at very competitive costs.

It combines 600W of power, a top speed of 40km/h, more than 35km of range at a high pace, electronically assisted front and rear disk brakes, dual front and rear mechanical suspensions, wireless security keys and much more. It merges, power, range, comfort, functionality and affordability into a machine that is guaranteed to make your life easier and a lot more fun. Literally, an electric scooter you will want to keep for yourself.

The Fuze is now in full production, and to thank our early buyers for their trust we are offering a 45% pre-order discount until the 01/03.

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