A wide range of electric bicycles, or simply e-bikes, are now available from many manufacturers. When comparing different bikes an important specification is the range. Manufacturers’ specifications state a range but each manufacturer works it out differently. This means that it is not possible for the consumer to make an objective comparison. At least until now. The German vehicle association ZIV (Zweirad-Industrie-Verband) has now developed a standard method of testing the range of an e-bike, the ‘standardized range test R200‘. It has been devised in consultation with major manufacturers such as Bosch, Shimano Accell and Velotech.
In the absence of a standardized test, manufacturers are free to perform tests under the most favorable conditions. This may mean a professional cyclist riding on a perfectly flat road with a following wind. Another e-bike which actually has a greater range may have been tested under less ideal conditions and therefore appear to have an inferior range. The ZIV test procedure aims to provide reproducible and consistent results by considering factors such as the weather, road surface, bicycle weight and tire rolling resistance. It stipulates that during the test the e-bike should consistently provide a 200 percent power assist factor. This means that for every 100 W of power provided by the cyclist the electric motor should provide 200 W.
This standard will provide a reliable way of comparing bikes, provided the manufacturers apply it. It will not, however, tell you your actual range. That will, of course, depend on how much power assist you choose to use.
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