They’re calling it a ‘hyper bike’ – an e-bike dedicated to higher speeds and longer distances. The VanMoof V will have a 50km/h (31mph) top speed and is being pitched as “a new default for city travel.”
It’s always a big crowd pleaser when you open an article with a bit of legislation. Sorry about this, but it feels a necessary starting point in this instance.
In the UK, what we commonly think of as an ‘e-bike’ is technically termed an ‘electrically-assisted pedal cycle’ or EAPC. This is the kind of electric bike you can ride without registration, a licence or insurance.
The three main requirements to qualify are:
- The bike must be fitted with pedals that are capable of propelling it
- The maximum continuous rated power of the electric motor must not exceed 250W
- The electrical assistance must cut-off when the vehicle reaches 15.5mph
Anything faster or more powerful than that is a speed pedelec. Here are the ins and outs of riding an S-pedelec in the UK – they’re essentially treated as mopeds, even though they have pedals.
The situation is much the same in most countries in Europe where there is a maximum speed limit of 25km/h for e-bikes you can ride without a licence and 45km/h for S-pedelecs.
So this new VanMoof then…
VanMoof is known for producing minimalist, low-hassle e-bikes where everything is integrated (we’ll have a review of their S3 in a couple of days), but up until now all of the firm’s EU bikes have been limited to 25km/h.
The VanMoof V will be capable of twice that speed, which you may have noticed is also above the current S-pedelec limit.
VanMoof says the V has been designed for a “bike-first future” and is calling for Europe’s e-bike speed limits to be updated.
Co-founder Ties Carlier commented: “We’re calling for policies designed around people, rethinking how public spaces can be used if not occupied by cars. I am getting very excited thinking about what a city could look like in the near future, and we are very proud to be part of the change by building the right tools for the transition.”
VanMoof says it intends to work with city governments to explore potential solutions, suggesting geofencing as one potential alternative to revised speed regulations.
This idea was recently mooted by BMW when it announced its ‘adaptive mobility’ e-bike, the i Vision AMBY.
This vehicle would be automatically limited to e-bike/EAPC speeds on cycle lanes but would have the capacity to do electric moped speeds on the road.
“In the future, classifications such as ‘car’, ‘bicycle’ and ‘motorcycle’ should not determine the nature of the products we think up, develop and offer,” commented Werner Haumayr, Vice President BMW Group Design Conception.
Does everyone agree new e-bike speed limits are needed?
Not exactly. The counter-argument is that any changes could potentially threaten the EAPC/pedelec sub-25km/h category and the right to ride these e-bikes without any kind of licence.
Bosch eBike Systems CEO Claus Fleischer recently said: “Of primary importance to the industry at large is the safeguarding of the pedelec designed to cut off at 25kmh; this must, at all costs, remain legislatively as a bicycle. That is our treasure.
“We know there are different influencers who have a view on changing this. In my view, they forget we may lose this status of the e-bike within the bicycle framework. We must remain without licence and insurance requirement, with bike path access.”
VanMoof V launch date
The VanMoof V is currently only at the engineering stage – albeit the firm is sufficiently committed to already be taking orders with a view to shipping before the end of next year.
It’ll feature many of the features seen on the firm’s existing bikes – turbo boost, keyless locking, automatic gear shifting, and a theft defence system – as well as a 700Wh battery and a motor of “up to 1kW depending on configuration.
The bike will be available in the Netherlands, Germany, France, the UK, the US, and Japan.
The expected price is listed as £2,998.