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Presentation of light electric vehicles

Vehicle classes under the consideration of the CESLA project are:

  • EPAC (Electric Power Assisted Cycle) – PEDELEC (PEDal ELECtric bicycle)
  • Electric moped – scooter (L1e)
  • Electric three wheel moped (L2e)
  • Electric motorcycle and motorcycle with side car (L3e and L4e)
  • Electric motor tricycle (L5e)
  • Light electric quadricycle (L6e)
  • Heavy electric quadricycle (L7e)
  • Off road and racing light electric vehicles
Exemplary pictures of the described vehicle types and their main target usage are indicated in the figure below.


The most important groups for the project CESLA are EPAC-PEDELECs, electric mopeds (L1e) and electric quadricycles (L6e, L7e). Those vehicles seem to be identified as most significant by producers and importers too, because they exhibit the strongest market presence - also in the target regions of CESLA.

An EPAC (Electric Power Assisted Cycle) – PEDELEC (PEDal ELECtric bicycle) is the most efficient among electric vehicles. It combines human muscle power with electric motor assistance. The electric motor power assistance is equal to the pedalling power until a certain travelling speed is reached (e.g. 15 km/h). The ratio between motor power assistance and pedal power gets smaller at higher speeds; and the motor assistance ceases at 24 km/h. From this speed on the EPAC/PEDELEC is propelled only by the driver’s muscle power. Therefore, EPAC/PEDELECs enable people to remain physically active (pedalling) while maintaining the travelling speed and climbing hills by the support of an electric motor. An EPAC-PEDELEC can have two or three wheels, whereby a variety of different constructions are applied. The most popular and most widely used EPACs have a form of a common two wheel bicycle. Also, foldable two wheel EPACs are available on the market. Most EPACs do not provide any weather protection. For a vehicle to be classified as an EPAC, the continuous motor power must not be greater than 250 W. The battery for an EPAC has to have a high energy density, fair lifetime and must not be prone to thermal runaway even in the case of abuse. Typical battery voltages are between 24 V and 36 V, and capacities are in range from 5 Ah to 20 Ah. The battery charger is usually sold together with the EPAC with the charging characteristics adjusted to a particular battery type. Typical charging times are from 4 to 6 hours. Since the energy consumption is about 10 Wh/km, ranges vary between 40 km and 150 km. EPACs will gradually further improve with new developments on batteries (energy density, safety, number of cycles, and price).


Electric mopeds – scooters (L1e) usually have a motor scooter construction with a characteristic step-thru frame. The rider has a more comfortable position because he/she sits on a saddle and his/her feet can rest on a flat floor. Although vehicles with foldable construction do exist, they are virtually not present on the market. For a vehicle to be classified as L1e its speed has to be limited to 45 km/h and the maximal motor power has to be 4 kW. In practice, the vehicles’ motor power ranges from 1.5 kW to 3 kW. Almost all electric scooters use gearless hub motors driving the rear wheel. Under the seat there is usually a luggage compartment, and under it there is the battery compartment. Battery types in available vehicles range from sealed lead acid and AGM to lithium polymer and lithium iron phosphate. The latter batteries need a Battery Management System (BMS) for improved safety and better lifetime. Energy consumption is about 30 Wh/km. Typical travel distances with full battery are between 30 km and 70 km, but with bigger Lithium-Ion batteries some companies claim to have ranges up to 160 km. The biggest improvements are desired on batteries (price, number of cycles, safety, and energy density).




Electric three wheel mopeds (L2e), el. motorcycles (L3e), el. motorcycles with side car (L4e) and el. motor tricycles (L5e) are less important vehicles for the CESLA project. These types are hardly present on the market in the target regions of CESLA. But from the technical aspect especially motorcycles seem to be interesting because some new prototypes use state of the art technology and offer equal or better performance than vehicles with gasoline motors.


Light electric quadricycles (L6e) are 4 wheel vehicles whose unladen mass is less than 350 kg, not including the mass of batteries in case of electric vehicles. Furthermore, its maximum design speed is limited to 45 km/h and its maximum continuous motor power does not exceed 4 kW. Vehicles of that kind usually serve as utility vehicles or free-time vehicles for on-road and off-road driving. In some cases they have one seat, but more often they can carry one additional passenger. Payload of the vehicle is in the range from 275 kg to 450 kg. Power and voltage level of those vehicles are equal to industrial vehicles like electric forklifts, because of that we can find similar motors and motor controllers in both. Normally the battery voltage is 48 V. Usual batteries in such vehicles are Lead Acid (flooded, gel, AGM – none of these uses BMS) and Li-Ion with BMS.



Heavy electric quadricycles (L7e) are 4 wheel vehicles whose unloaded mass is not more than 400 kg (550 kg for vehicles intended for carrying goods), not including the mass of batteries in the case of electric vehicles, and whose maximum engine power does not exceed 15 kW. Usually vehicles have 2 seats, but many times there is an additional seat for the third passenger. In some rare cases this kind of vehicles can carry up to five passengers. Payload of the vehicle varies between 170 kg and 570 kg. The range of the vehicle in case of L7e type is between 45 km and 80 km (lead-acid batteries, in some cases 180 km are claimed), between 80 km and 100 km (Ni-MH batteries) or between 100 km and 150 km (using Li-ion batteries).



Special attention should be given to safety issues, as the passengers of L6e and L7e vehicles are highly exposed in the case of traffic accidents.

Off road and racing electric vehicles {insert Figure link} are also an important group of electric vehicles. Mostly they use state of the art technology that results in very high performance vehicles which may greatly contribute to the popularization of electric vehicles and the opening of new market niches in general.

The needed driving licence categories (valid at 12th of February, 2010) for the usage of the individual vehicle classes under the consideration of the CESLA project are summarized in the following table.


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