As E-Bikes Speed Up, a Policy Dilemma Looms

Earlier this month Dutch e-bike maker VanMoof unveiled its powerful new V model, which comes with two motors, a 700-watt engine, and a top speed of 37 miles per hour. With an expected price of $3,598 in the United States, the V is scheduled to hit the streets at the end of 2022.

For a bicycle, the V is fast — really fast. To offer a comparison, 37 mph exceeds the all-time record for average speed in a Tour de France time trial. Rather than call the V an e-bike, VanMoof describes it as a “hyperbike,” a term the company created. Cofounder Ties Carlier says that the V “will be the most efficient and comfortable way to get around cities like London, Tokyo and Los Angeles.”

VanMoof is not the only company pushing the envelope on a bike’s speed and power. A New Zealand company called Speedi offers a device that can supposedly hack an e-bike’s sensors to boost speed by 50%. Meanwhile, the Vintage Electric Roadster already goes 40 mph, and a vehicle called the Revolution X is advertised as reaching 60 mph. (Such bikes typically have a setting that can restrict speed.) These machines are blurring the already murky distinctions between electric bikes and faster, more powerful mopeds, motor scooters, and motorcycles.

Source: Bloomberg