Powacycle Interview

UK electric bicycle company, Powacycle is heading the innovation in this newcomer sector. The introduction of lighter, efficient and more discreet batteries has led to an innovation explosion which is bringing the weight of Powacycles rigs close to on par with that of a modern machines.
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With the recent announcement that Powacycle are currently developing one of the worlds first multi terrain, off-road electric bikes, it's clear that this Harlow, UK, based company is heading the innovation in what has so far been a slow to take off market.

The days of the heavy Lead-Acid battery are slowly becoming nigh. Powacycle are putting pedal to the metal with a series of new technologies, while building an extensive list of stockists. In the three years since Powacycle began business, the electric cycle, like many other cycle sectors in the industry, has been on a strict diet in the hope of achieving full potential in what potentially could be a massive niche. The electric cycle has opened a door for retail to access the elderly who believe the days of endurance events into town are long gone.

To acquire a licence as an electric bicycle in the UK the bike must weigh in at sub 40kg and to emphasise the development in the Powacycle factory in the past three years, it's worth pointing out that since the launch of the companies first 38kg rig, many of the current catalogues models have slimmed down, on average, an astonishing 16kg and are almost inline with the (16-20kg) weight of the average bicycle.

Marketing Manager, Geoff Pick told BikeBiz: "We are already predicting to go below the average bicycle weight in the next year or two. We will soon see the introduction of a magnesium alloy metal to our range, that will weigh in at far under the weight of the same aluminium bicycle. Our aim is to reach 14kg in the future and we predict that the means to achieve this are there."

Currently, this is a sector, which according to Pick, has doubled in size year on year since the power assisted cycle revolution was born. He added: "Stock management has become a problem, we always inform dealers when shortages are looming and are generally always capable of keeping things consistent, but demand is increasing rapidly as word gets around."

Chief executive, Humayn A.Mughal, was extremely enthusiastic about the future and was keen to demonstrate the consistent developments in power assisted cycling. The latest Lithium Polymer batteries available on high end Powacycle bikes, far out perform lead asset batteries and comes at a fraction of the weight, from one four hour charge it is possible to achieve up to 27 hours of power assistance. Gradually the technology is branching out into different niches to create some hugely commuter beneficial cycles. For example, Powacycle has developed two electric folding bikes retailing at £599, of which the Puma LPX model weighs in at a record 18kg, the lightest electric bike currently available.

PowaCycle was the first UK supplier to bring Lithium Polymer batteries to the marketplace in early 2007, well ahead of other players.
“Lithium Polymer is a real winner as it does not require the conventional cylinder style battery form, and that’s the reason behind its greater power density. Lithium Polymer is 20% lighter than Lithium Ion, and less than half the weight of NiMH. A battery based on Lithium Polymer is also safer," said Mughal

"The customer demographic for Powacycle bikes is still broadly in the 50 plus age bracket, however with commuters needing the speed of a moped, yet convenience of a bicycle our two folding bikes are perfect. The power assisted cycle means the elderly can get the freedom of cycling back without the worry of over exerting themselves, the great thing about power bicycles is that you can decide how much exercise you put in before switching to semi or full power mode."

Of the Powacycle portfolio, commuter and folding bikes make up roughly a quarter of all sales, while the Windsor LPX is Powacycles best seller, retailing for £499 (NiMH 18-25 mile duration battery) or £599 (lithium polymer-27-37 mile duration battery). Every cycle in the catalogue comes with a two year frame warranty, as well as one year on all other main components and six months warranty on the battery.

For the customer on a budget, the Powacycle range begins at £199 for the 'Powablade' model, which features a Lead Acid battery, which will provide the cyclist with 8-12 miles of assisted or power only riding per charge.

So now Powacycles goal of bringing the weight of the power assisted cycle down to that of a typical bike is within reach, what new technologies are in the works?

For 2008 PowaCycle’s in-house design team have developed a new battery, new motor as well as electrical components for the new PowaCycle Extreme bikes. These will be the first of the new range to be launched in February 2008, said Mughal.

"The first model to be launched is a hybrid-style electric mountain bike. The MTB will be lightweight and powered by a new style Lithium Polymer battery.
The new 2008 range will see the introduction of the 3rd generation of motors, which are lighter, quieter, with higher efficiency and greater torque than the previous generation. The new range brings high power efficiencies of up to 82%.
The range will feature electric bikes that offer power assisted cycling with ranges of between 25 and an outstanding 100 miles on a single battery charge. That’s huge improvement on anything currently available, and the 2008 range is also extremely lightweight weighing between 16 to 20kg."

With the recent announcement that Powacycle are currently developing one of the worlds first multi terrain, off-road electric bikes, it's clear that this Harlow, UK, based company is heading the innovation in what has so far been a slow to take off market.

The days of the heavy Lead-Acid battery are slowly becoming nigh. Powacycle are putting pedal to the metal with a series of new technologies, while building an extensive list of stockists. In the three years since Powacycle began business, the electric cycle, like many other cycle sectors in the industry, has been on a strict diet in the hope of achieving full potential in what potentially could be a massive niche. The electric cycle has opened a door for retail to access the elderly who believe the days of endurance events into town are long gone.

To acquire a licence as an electric bicycle in the UK the bike must weigh in at sub 40kg and to emphasise the development in the Powacycle factory in the past three years, it's worth pointing out that since the launch of the companies first 38kg rig, many of the current catalogues models have slimmed down, on average, an astonishing 16kg and are almost inline with the (16-20kg) weight of the average bicycle.

Marketing Manager, Geoff Pick told BikeBiz: "We are already predicting to go below the average bicycle weight in the next year or two. We will soon see the introduction of a magnesium alloy metal to our range, that will weigh in at far under the weight of the same aluminium bicycle. Our aim is to reach 14kg in the future and we predict that the means to achieve this are there."

Currently, this is a sector, which according to Pick, has doubled in size year on year since the power assisted cycle revolution was born. He added: "Stock management has become a problem, we always inform dealers when shortages are looming and are generally always capable of keeping things consistent, but demand is increasing rapidly as word gets around."

Chief executive, Humayn A.Mughal, was extremely enthusiastic about the future and was keen to demonstrate the consistent developments in power assisted cycling. The latest Lithium Polymer batteries available on high end Powacycle bikes, far out perform lead asset batteries and comes at a fraction of the weight, from one four hour charge it is possible to achieve up to 27 hours of power assistance. Gradually the technology is branching out into different niches to create some hugely commuter beneficial cycles. For example, Powacycle has developed two electric folding bikes retailing at £599, of which the Puma LPX model weighs in at a record 18kg, the lightest electric bike currently available.

PowaCycle was the first UK supplier to bring Lithium Polymer batteries to the marketplace in early 2007, well ahead of other players.
“Lithium Polymer is a real winner as it does not require the conventional cylinder style battery form, and that’s the reason behind its greater power density. Lithium Polymer is 20% lighter than Lithium Ion, and less than half the weight of NiMH. A battery based on Lithium Polymer is also safer," said Mughal

"The customer demographic for Powacycle bikes is still broadly in the 50 plus age bracket, however with commuters needing the speed of a moped, yet convenience of a bicycle our two folding bikes are perfect. The power assisted cycle means the elderly can get the freedom of cycling back without the worry of over exerting themselves, the great thing about power bicycles is that you can decide how much exercise you put in before switching to semi or full power mode."

Of the Powacycle portfolio, commuter and folding bikes make up roughly a quarter of all sales, while the Windsor LPX is Powacycles best seller, retailing for £499 (NiMH 18-25 mile duration battery) or £599 (lithium polymer-27-37 mile duration battery). Every cycle in the catalogue comes with a two year frame warranty, as well as one year on all other main components and six months warranty on the battery.

For the customer on a budget, the Powacycle range begins at £199 for the 'Powablade' model, which features a Lead Acid battery, which will provide the cyclist with 8-12 miles of assisted or power only riding per charge.

So now Powacycles goal of bringing the weight of the power assisted cycle down to that of a typical bike is within reach, what new technologies are in the works?

For 2008 PowaCycle’s in-house design team have developed a new battery, new motor as well as electrical components for the new PowaCycle Extreme bikes. These will be the first of the new range to be launched in February 2008, said Mughal.

"The first model to be launched is a hybrid-style electric mountain bike. The MTB will be lightweight and powered by a new style Lithium Polymer battery.
The new 2008 range will see the introduction of the 3rd generation of motors, which are lighter, quieter, with higher efficiency and greater torque than the previous generation. The new range brings high power efficiencies of up to 82%.
The range will feature electric bikes that offer power assisted cycling with ranges of between 25 and an outstanding 100 miles on a single battery charge. That’s huge improvement on anything currently available, and the 2008 range is also extremely lightweight weighing between 16 to 20kg."

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