Bikes Electrify Transportation Market

Five new models of electric bicycles from Revolve promise to be the transportation mode of choice for people who desire eco-friendliness and cost savings, as well as a pleasurable experience, when making short commutes. “It is about a way of life” said Tony Gasson, founder and CEO of Revolve.

The electric bikes are similar to those whose use has swelled in the last decade in cities all over the world. Each is comprised of an everyday bike plus a battery-powered electric motor.

“These bikes primarily target people who need to go a short distance—for instance, those who drive or walk to the train station,” says Gasson, who started working on this idea in late 2008 as a natural extension of his batteries business. “People will bike more because they don’t want to use as much fuel and incur parking costs, as well as for the pleasure of riding a bike.”

Although capable of pushing the riders along without their help, electric bikes perform noticeably better when one pedals. Average inactive people who normally ride at 10 miles per hour can ride at 15 to 20 miles per hour using the same effort or no effort. They can also expect a traveling range of 25 miles, with a recharge time of several hours.

There are two ways to power electric bikes: “power on demand,” activated by a throttle on the handlebar and requires no pedaling, or “ped-elec,” which takes energy from pedaling alone. Either source of power provides an immediate, nearly silent push. When riders release the throttle (or stop pedaling), the motor coasts or "freewheels," like stopping pedaling a regular bike. Electric bikes use the same standard hand brakes and gearing for controls.

Revolve bikes "power output to pedal pressure" ratio is often adjustable. Most people find 350-watt motors adequate for their needs, although people who ride steep hills may want more power. The bikes offer through-the-gearing power assist—i.e., the force of the motor goes through the bike’s gearing system—which provides better hill-climbing and top-end speed than direct drive systems with motors of the same wattage rating.

A New York Times article recently highlighted the benefits of electric bikes, including price point and ease of use, quoting two riders on opposite sides of the country.

“It’s miraculous—it takes the hills out of riding,” Roger Phillips, 78, told the Times of his travels around Manhattan. “The sensation is akin to a moving walkway at the airport.”

David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, told the Times he uses an electric bike to get to meetings without sweating through his suit. “Electric-assisted bicycles will change how people think about bikes in urban areas,” he said.

Commuting accounts for about 70 percent of Revolve’s business, with the remainder serving recreation, rentals and hotels. Gasson created the green company as a commitment to providing environmentally safe products that promise the least amount of negative impact on the environment. The company strives to ensure the highest level of quality at reasonable prices to ensure that “going green” is a cost-effective decision that everyone can enjoy.

Revolve bikes range in cost from $900 to $1,400, and the cost to recharge them is mere pennies. The bikes are available at bike stores and online at The bikes are fully guaranteed and come with a warranty.

Gasson says the e-bike business is blossoming all over the world. He has observed the industry in China alone go from zero to 120 million bikes in only six years. While he doesn’t expect that kind of growth in the United States, he does expect that his passion for e-bikes will translate into their catching on in this country.

“For anyone that enjoys the pleasure of riding,” he says, “it’s captivating, it’s addicting.”

Revolve Electric Vehicles is a company that manufactures an environmentally friendly diverse product line of electric bikes, vehicles, rickshaws, trucks and scooters. Founded in New York in 2008, it aims to provide low-cost and fuel-efficient, as well as pleasurable modes of transportation. Part of the company’s commitment is to ensure the highest level of quality at reasonable prices to ensure “going green” is a cost effective decision that everyone can enjoy. Models are hitting the market Summer 2010.