Electric Motorcycles and Bicycles

A History Including Scooters, Tricycles, Segways and Monocycles


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About the Book

Beginning in 1881, isolated prototypes of electric tricycles and bicycles were patented and sometimes tested. Limited editions followed in the 1940s, but it was not until the lithium-ion battery became available in the first decade of this century that urban pedelecs and more powerful open-road motorcycles—sometimes with speeds of over 200 mph—became possible and increasingly popular.
Today’s ever-growing fleets of one-wheel, two-wheel and three-wheel light electric vehicles can now be counted in the hundreds of millions. In this third installment of his electric transport history series, the author covers the lives of the innovative engineers who have developed these e-wheelers.

About the Author(s)

Kevin Desmond, a technology historian and biographer, lives near Bordeaux in southern France. Since 1976, he has published 33 books and 300-plus articles on the men and women innovators, often forgotten, behind the progress of transport and related subjects.

Bibliographic Details

Kevin Desmond
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 254
Bibliographic Info: 77 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7289-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3466-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Foreword by Ed Benjamin 1
Preface 3
1. Pioneers 5
2. The Early 1900s 41
3. From Socovels to Spacelanders 53
4. 1950s–1980s 63
5. The 1990s 79
6. Urban ­E-Bikes Worldwide 96
7. EM Hotshots 112
8. China: Almost 300 Million ­E-Bike Riders 140
9. Marathons 148
10. Speed Records 157
11. Variations on a Theme 176
12. Return of the Electric ­Three-Wheeler 193
13. Secret Weapon? 203
14. Riding into the Future 206
Appendix: Electric Motorcycle and Battery Builders (Past and Present) 231
Chapter Notes 233
Selected Bibliography 237
Index 239