International electric bike news round-up

Cannondale award, solar recharging, iconic inspiration

Cannondale’s E-Series has been named E-bike of the Year by the Dutch transport industry association Rai Vereniging. Electric bikes are now so popular in the Netherlands that more e-bikes were presented to the Bike of the Year panel than conventional bicycles, although the overall title went to the non-electric Koga World Traveller29.


The E-series uses the new Bosch crank motor and battery system combined with a bike that Cannondale say has been “designed from the ground up” to “seamlessly integrate” all aspects of the new technology. In practice this means a frame with an integrated pannier rack that also houses the 288Wh battery (not particularly large by current standards) and a modified bottom bracket area where the motor sits. 

The emphasis seems to be on combining practicality – for example, good quality lights and mudguards – with both comfort (Cannondale’s HeadShok suspension fork) and quite a sporty looking frame geometry, on the men’s model at least. All-in weight is claimed at 22kg (48.5lb).

Solar-powered bike storage

Europe‘s first public solar recharging station for electric bikes has opened at Meckenbeuren train station in southern Germany. The Biketower has been supplied by E-bike Mobility, who are based in nearby Markdorf.

Company boss Bernd Reutemann says: “Seventy-two bicycles, pedelecs and e-bikes can be parked safely here and if required, the batteries can be charged at the same time. The Biketower is available 24 hours per day for both day users and long-term users. The Biketower also offers commercial hirers an interesting alternative.”

E-bike Mobility have developed a range of other technologies for public recharging of electric bikes, including a solar powered ‘battery station’ where empty electric bike batteries can be exchanged for full ones charged with green energy.  

Solex and Voltitude e-bikes imitate iconic designs

EBCO are to bring Solex’s new e-bike range to the UK. The French company, known for their petrol-powered scooters, have three electrical offerings: the Velosolex (folding e-bike, £1,299), Solexity (low-step e-bike, £1,799) and e-Solex (e-scooter, £1,999).

Esolex: esolex

The e-Solex is an electric scooter based on the French company’s classic moped design 

Another e-bike that takes design cues from an iconic product is the Swiss Voltitude. It’s pretty clear from one quick glance at their website that the look of their folding bike-cum-scooter has been heavily influenced by a certain penknife. 

It was unveiled in April 2011 and the company say they’re now poised to go to ‘pre-series production’ using an external manufacturer. Commercial production of 50 bikes per week is touted for summer.

Top speed is the European legal limit of 25km/h, meaning no tax, helmet or insurance are required, despite its mopedy looks. Price is earmarked at CHF 5,000 (about €4,000/£3,350), with a Swiss launch due to be followed by other country roll-outs later in 2012.

Voltitude e-bike:

Voltitude’s folding e-bike has been dubbed the ‘Swiss Army Bike’

UK demo days proliferate

Raleigh will be hosting electric bike demo days around Britain this year, including several led rides over varied terrain along with in-depth demonstrations of their e-bikes. Dates are here.


Meanwhile, E4 is a new UK electric bike trade alliance made up of EBCStorck-RaddarHero-Eco (owners of Ultramotor) and Wisper that’s launched a series of events for potential dealers starting this February.