Electric vehicles are all over the media just lately, with all automakers struggling to take a lead in the market for reliability, quick charging and of course vehicle range.
Now for all of us off roaders most of us scoff at such ideas being suitable for leaving the black top and heading out for the day dealing with mud, dust and rocks … but wait, times are changing – enter the bomber. A two wheeled hard-core dirt rider, not 4×4 but certainly an off roader.
With its 4,000 watt motor and top assisted speed of 50 mph, the Stealth Bomber far exceeds the legal limits imposed on electric bicycles, but bypasses the need to be registered as a moped by being classified as an off-road vehicle.
The high-rate lithium cells are guaranteed for 1200 charges – enough juice to power the bike over 60,000 miles, with a charge time of 2 hours via a 240v household socket.
Regenerative braking prolong the life of the brake pads and allows greater range by converting braking energy into electrical energy fed back into the battery pack.
The law in Britain places a limit of 15.5 mph maximum assisted speed and 250 watts maximum power output on electric that allows them to be treated as conventional, non-electric cycle – that is, no requirement for a licence, helmet or cycle insurance.
Stealth by name, stealth by nature
The Stealth Bomber looks every inch a mountain bike, a very high-spec downhill model granted, but little about its appearance suggests its blistering and silent power. A button on the handlebars can limit the bike to 16 mph, a feature that has led to the bike being described by one dealer as a potential commuter.
Germany and Switzerland have established a separate class of electric bike. These bikes can travel at speeds of 30 mph and face less stringent requirements than mopeds.
This type of ‘super electric bicycle’ offers a cleaner, quieter and practical alternative to a traditional moped, but a proposal to extend this class of vehicle across the European Union was recently rejected by the EU government, but hey that’s not the UK, or soon won’t be.
Bicycles currently represent the most efficient and practical application for electric motor technology; battery-powered cars and motorcycles are heavy and troublesome to charge without widespread charging points, but e-bikes are light enough to be carried into a house to be re-charged. The electrically assisted bicycle (or the pedal-assisted electric moped) is the ultimate hybrid; if the battery runs flat, the rider can switch to leg power in an instant.
The main barrier to widespread uptake of exotic machines such as the Stealth Bomber is unlikely to be the law, it will be the price; at almost £10,000, it costs more than a good quality bicycle, scooter and Enduro motorcycle combined !!