It looks like European law is finally about to catch up with a new breed of faster electric bicycle. And it’s about time, too. While the uptake of electric cars remains painfully slow, the popularity of the 30 mph speed pedelec is soaring. Sales in Holland increased by over 30 per cent last year alone.
One such speed pedelec is the Stromer ST2, a 30 mph- bicycle that allows you to control three levels of assistance from the electric motor as well as the degree of regenerative braking. Thanks to an efficient motor and a battery capacity of 983 watt-hours, the ST2 can cover up to 180 kilometres before it needs to be recharged.
With a price tag of around £6,000 the Swiss-made Stromer ST2 is the Rolex of the fast pedelecs world.
As the speed pedelecs market grows, so too does the range of bike styles on offer. High-speed electric bikes are now available as town bikes, MTBs, folders and adventure tourers. The Riese & Müller Charger GX offers assistance of up to 275 per cent at a speed of up to 45 km/h. And even when walking the bike when its racks are laden with panniers, the Charger GX helps with an assisted ‘pushing mode’.
How is European law on speed pedelecs changing?
There are two categories of electric bicycle in type-approval L1e-A is for powered cycles with a maximum speed of 25 km/h and maximum 1 kW of power. L1e-B includes speed pedelecs with maximum 45 km/h and 4 kW.
It is not yet clear which conditions for use of these vehicles will be imposed by individual European member states. According to reports, the German and Dutch transport ministries are in favour of making motorcycle helmets mandatory when using speed pedelecs moped helmet. By contrast, the Belgian minister has been advised that a bicycle helmet should be adequate.
Cycle insurance for electric bicycles
Should the law in Britain change in line with Europe to accommodate the speed pedelec, the insurance industry will be quick to offer cover. For the time being, electric bicycle insurance is limited to those with a 250 W motor and an assisted top speed of 15.5 mph. Such cover is available from the ETA, recently voted to be an ethical company by The Good Shopping Guide.
The policy covers electric bicycles as standard and includes a breakdown service for your bike and you that will take you up to 25 miles if you suffer a mechanical problem or puncture. Your battery is covered against theft as standard. ETA cycle insurance has a low standard excess of 5% (minimum £25) and prides itself on a genuine new-for-old policy. Unlike other providers who devalue bikes, however old your bicycle, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model.
Every cycle insurance policy you buy helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future.