Electric bicycles are more popular than ever before, helping drivers become riders and replacing car trips along the way. I’m proud to have helped build Electrek into the No. 1 source for electric bike news, and so now it’s time to take look back at the biggest e-bike news stories of 2022. These stories garnered millions of views from around the world, helping to spread e-bike awareness along the way.
Ukraine is now using these 200-mile-range electric bikes with NLAW rockets to take out Russian tanks
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine was sure to be one of the leading stories of 2022. We never thought that would spill over into the e-bike world, but that just means we underestimated Ukrainian ingenuity.
The brave fighters in Ukraine’s defense forces teamed up with Ukrainian electric bike manufacturer Delfast to create battle-ready e-bikes that could out-maneuver the Russians.
Not only were these fast and powerful electric bikes capable of covering rugged terrain in near silent operation, but they were also outfitted with tank-destroying NLAW rockets (Next Generation Light Anti-Armor Weapons). Those rockets are specially designed to allow a single operator to destroy an enemy tank.
The weapons are intended to be human-portable and carried by infantry, but the 28-lb. (12.5 kg) rocket is much easier to haul over long distances when carried on the back of an electric bike.
Such portable anti-tank weapons proved to be a game-changer in Ukraine’s fight to defend its sovereign territory from a Russian takeover, but their use isn’t without significant risk. They expose the operator’s position and make them vulnerable to immediate return fire. But when outfitted with a 50 mph (80 km/h) motor, the soldier can quickly fire the weapon and then exfiltrate, significantly reducing the risk.
E-bikes are normally tools for good, helping riders get exercise, fresh air, and avoid traffic. But when called upon to face evil, they answered that call in Ukraine.
Bolt Mobility abandoned electric bikes all over US cities. Here’s what’s happening to them
Of course not all news is good news, as was the case with Bolt’s abandonment of thousands upon thousands of shared electric bicycles and scooters in cities around the US.
The shared micromobility provider used a model similar to Lime and Bird, where free-floating e-bikes and e-scooters could be rented by the minute using a smartphone application.
The idea is solid, though the economics have proven tougher to crack — especially with so many competitors in the field.
When Bolt Mobility folded operations in most of cities seemingly overnight, these vehicles were left abandoned. We caught up with the original manufacturer that supplied the e-bikes to Bolt Mobility to hear how they were trying to help. Element LEV, the e-bikes’ manufacturer, was seeking out municipalities in each area where Bolt abandoned its equipment.
The manufacturer, which was able to unlock the vehicles, began working with each city individually to find a solution, whether that was through taking the e-bikes public as part of a city-owned program or finding alternative solutions.
Indian Motorcycle and Super73 release a fast e-bike that won’t need a motorcycle license
The iconic motorcycle company Indian teamed up with the equally iconic electric bike manufacturer Super73 back in the spring of 2022 to build an Indian-themed e-bike known as the eFTR Hooligan 1.2.
No motorcycle license necessary, since this new electric two-wheeler was legally classified as an electric bicycle.
The eFTR Hooligan was largely based on Super73’s well-known S2 electric bike. Electrek’s publisher Seth Weintraub and I had the chance to put some serious miles on that bike when we Eurotripped it across Germany last autumn.
We haven’t had a chance to test the Indian version in the eFTR Hooligan 1.2, but that’s high up on our list.
As Indian explained, the bike was modified by adding an inverted front fork, mid-height moto-style handlebars, a unique LED headlight with an FTR-inspired wind deflector, and more aggressive tires.
The eFTR Hooligan 1.2 also ditched the stock front and rear fenders, lowered the battery to the downtube (which likely resulted in improved balance), and added a gold chain to give it that authentic Indian Motorcycle look.
Another US state adds electric bike subsidy, this time with up to $1,700 rebate
That proposed national e-bike tax credit might have faltered before the finish line, but Oregon stepped up to the plate with its own statewide e-bike rebate.
A new bill known as Legislative Concept (LC) 1994 was proposed by outgoing Oregon State Representative Karin Power to help provide rebates to e-bike buyers. It was recently passed off to Representative Dacia Grayber to sponsor the bill in the upcoming session.
We don’t know for sure yet whether the rebate will make it into law. But if it does, it will offer up to $1,200 off most electric bikes and up to $1,700 off cargo electric bikes.
There are a few other small rules for qualification, such as that the bikes have to cost at least $950, but there aren’t any income restrictions or other major hurdles to access.
Oregon could soon join other states such as Vermont and New York that have either implemented or are in the process of creating their own statewide electric bicycle rebate programs.
Chinese electric moped giant NIU’s radical new e-bike is set to shakeup the US, EU markets
NIU is better known for its wildly popular smart electric scooters, which have taken off in Asia and continue to post strong sales in the European and North American markets. But the company’s tech has also been making its way into a wider range of lighter electric vehicles. Earlier this year NIU launched an electric bicycle that turned heads in the e-bike industry.
The NIU BQi used a step-through design, though it did so without falling back on a Dutch bike design or something that looks like a classic “women’s bike.”
The U-shaped frame made the bike easier to mount and easier to handle when the rear rack gets loaded down with heavy cargo or kids.
Another advantage of that unique frame was a unique way to store batteries. Yes, “batteries” as in plural. While the vast majority of all e-bikes use a single removable battery, NIU’s unique frame design made it easy to fit two batteries. And it managed to stuff in dual batteries without looking bulky or disproportioned.
The bike eventually launched at a price of $1,999, putting it in the higher end of the value e-bike category.
What’s in store for next year?
Those were the five biggest e-bike news stories of the year for 2022, but who knows what we’ll see next year.
As the electric bicycle industry continues to grow, we could have a whole host of new designs, new technology, or even new scandals awaiting next year. Here’s hoping for more of the first two!
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