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Is the 45 km/h electric bike a real alternative for the car? Belgian politician does the test.

News published : 08.02.2016
Updated by : AVERE

Gent, 8 February, 2016 - The Belgian Green politician Björn Rzoska has recently entered quite a remarkable commuting experiment. In the next three months, he will travel from his home to the Flemish Parliament in Brussels on a 45 km/h electric bike. As a result, he will be riding around 100 km a day. 
 Mr Rzoska is a keen cyclist who spends quite a bit of his free time on a racing bike. He is one of the 15 test subjects who partake in scientific research carried out by the Energy & Automation research group of the Belgian University KU Leuven Campus Gent. The research focusses on the experience of users of so-called speed pedelecs, electric bikes offering pedal assistance up to 45 km/h. They are categorized as mopeds. Consequently, today, in Belgium, so-called speed pedelec users must wear a moped helmet and their vehicle must have a number plate. Nevertheless, the Belgian transport minister is still considering the terms of use for these vehicles. She has been advised to allow for the use of a cycling helmet on 45 km/h electric bikes. Her final decision is expected before the summer.

Is it feasible to commute by so-called speed pedelec, even if you live 50 km away from work? Does this means of transport offer a realistic alternative for the car? What about safety? What about comfort? How do people use these vehicles? Does it have an effect on health? Researcher Bram Rotthier is trying to formulate an answer to these questions in the framework of his PhD Research “Quantification of technical performances, cyclist experience and safety of speed pedelecs for commuter use".

Since the launch of its Light Electric Vehicle (LEV) Task Force last year, AVERE has developed a close relationship with this research group of KU Leuven Campus Gent, as well as with the Brussels university VUB. AVERE LEV Policy Manager Annick Roetynck is an assessor for Bram Rotthier’s thesis. AVERE believes there is a great need for scientific research in the field of LEVs and for a closer relationship between LEV companies and the academic world. Such research is also needed as a solid foundation for legislation governing LEVs. In that framework, AVERE is working intensively with KU Leuven and VUB on type-approval legislation.

The vehicle which Björn Rzoska  is using for the experiment is a Stromer bike. The Swiss company is part of the AVERE LEV-TF and has promised its full support and cooperation to the research carried out by the Energy & Automation research group in Gent. There will be regular reports on Mr Rzoska’s experiences on social media as well as on the website of the Flemish newspaper “Het  Laatste Nieuws”.

AVERE LEV-TF invites LEV companies that are interested in learning about or contributing to any scientific research on LEVs, as well as on preconditions for their use (helmets, infrastructure, …) to contact LEV policy manager, Annick Roetynck, tel. +32 9 233 60 05, email annick.roetynck@avere.org.