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Old 01-24-17, 10:14 AM   #1
KD5NRH
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Texas law and gas/electric

Might actually become relevant at some point...I have a neighbor selling a hub motor cheap, and I have a small 32cc two-stroke engine already.

In Texas, if the bike is powered by an internal combustion engine but still has pedals, it's a moped, regardless of anything else, so subject to registration and insurance requirements. (No pedals would make it a scooter or motorcycle with the same requirements.) Not sure if any other states look at it the same way.

But what if it uses a gas engine to provide electricity for an electric drive? (Assume it's still limited to 25mph when operated entirely under its own power.) Batteries ain't cheap, (the reason the neighbor hasn't done anything with the motor himself) and I'd like the extra range of being able to charge and run from the gas motor when necessary.

Anybody dealt with this before?
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Old 01-24-17, 11:24 AM   #2
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I am also a bit interested in Texas E-Bike law. Over Spring Break I am planing a test ride that will take me to Rita Blanca national Grasslands in NW Texas.

No bother, I found the Texas Bicycle statutes that I am interested in here. I am Ok for what I want to do. It does look like I need to be sure that my route does not take me through New Mexico.

Quote:
Sec. 551.106. REGULATION OF ELECTRIC BICYCLES. (a) The department or a local authority may not prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway that is used primarily by motor vehicles. The department or a local authority may prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway used primarily by pedestrians.
Here are some Texas definitions (we really need a "what is an Ebike in your state" sticky)

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(10) "Motor-driven cycle" means a motorcycle equipped with a motor that has an engine piston displacement of 250 cubic centimeters or less. The term does not include an electric bicycle.
(11) "Motor vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle or a vehicle that is propelled by electric power from overhead trolley wires. The term does not include an electric bicycle or an electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined by Section 551.201.
Quote:
(24) "Electric bicycle" means a bicycle that:
(A) is designed to be propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with the application of human power;
(B) cannot attain a speed of more than 20 miles per hour without the application of human power; and
(C) does not exceed a weight of 100 pounds.
Bike Austin also has a good bicycle law page.

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Old 01-24-17, 11:53 AM   #3
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Back to your question, INAL, I see nothing that says how the electricity will be generated.

You seem to be saying max speed of 25. Looking at the law, max speed is 20mph when solely under electric power.

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Old 01-24-17, 11:54 AM   #4
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Good stuff. Thanks for posting Robert.

-SP
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Old 01-31-17, 03:05 PM   #5
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Irrelevant now; I traded the busted old scooter with the engine on it for the 48V 1000W front hub motor, controller, throttle and wiring harness. Now to figure out the spoke length to put a 700c rim on it and then start on a battery pack. Thinking 52 or 65 18650s, (13s, 4 or 5p) is more than enough for the 9 mile round trip commute, since I mainly just want it for the ~1/2 mile of steep climb each way, but I wouldn't mind having a bigger pack, or several that could be paralleled for longer trips.
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Old 01-31-17, 07:45 PM   #6
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Talking about TEXAS "LAW"... Since the question has become "irrelevant|"... Isn't it the only state in which a Tesla (an Electric only vehicle) cannot be bought/sold in? By Law? Maybe I am mistaken, but that is the way I seem to remember it...

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Old 02-01-17, 08:02 AM   #7
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I sure hope not, there is a huge Tesla dealership next to my apartment. I've also seen about twenty of them floating around Austin.
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Old 02-01-17, 08:55 AM   #8
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Talking about TEXAS "LAW"... Since the question has become "irrelevant|"... Isn't it the only state in which a Tesla (an Electric only vehicle) cannot be bought/sold in? By Law? Maybe I am mistaken, but that is the way I seem to remember it...
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I sure hope not, there is a huge Tesla dealership next to my apartment. I've also seen about twenty of them floating around Austin.
As I recall, and I am no expert on this, I think it had to do with distribution model.

Again, as I recall, Tesla, initially, wanted to operate without conventional dealerships. Texas law required that new cars be sold through dealerships (with service facilities). It makes a bit of sense, otherwise someone could import a boatload of Trabants (prior to modern national auto importation laws) and not be there to provide the warranty service and parts.

Again, this is all vague recollection.
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Old 02-01-17, 09:21 AM   #9
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Teslas are so thick on the ground here in the NE Metroplex you can get where you're going stepping from one to the other. You go to the showroom, commit to buy one, sit down at their computer and order it from California, where, technically, the sale takes place. It arrives with a packet of paperwork you take to the Texas title office and transfer the California title to Texas.

Now that we have that out of the way...

OP, your hybrid drive motorbike idea has a 32cc piston engine. In Texas it's a moped. To be legal it will need to be registered, have an annual tag, need to carry insurance, you will need to have an operator's license, and the moped will need lights, mirrors, a horn and turn signals.

In actual practice, there's not one Texas cop in 50,000 that would pay attention to a non-compliant home brew hybrid drive moped as long as you ride safely after the fashion of a bicycle. The only problem is getting into an accident - even if it's not your fault, you're operating an illegal vehicle on the public roadway and you're going to take one in the shorts.
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Old 02-01-17, 09:33 AM   #10
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Now, if there were a battery in between that petrol powered generator and the motor?????
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Old 02-01-17, 09:40 AM   #11
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OP, your hybrid drive motorbike idea has a 32cc piston engine. In Texas it's a moped.
I am not trying to be too argumentative here; after all, the OP has abandoned the project (probably the best course of action). However, to return to your point, are you sure?

If you are sure? What laws, or decisions, do you base your certainty on?

As I read the law, it clearly said:
Quote:
(24) "Electric bicycle" means a bicycle that:
(A) is designed to be propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with the application of human power;
It focuses on the means of propulsion, not generation. To use an analogy, if a Tesla is charged using power that comes from a nuclear power-plant, it is still not a nuclear powered automobile.

If you are aware of any rulings that say otherwise, I would be interested.
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Old 02-01-17, 10:24 AM   #12
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More like, is the chevy volt a gas vehicle or hybrid vehicle or electric vehicle?

It uses an electric engine for 50 miles, and after that a gas engine to charge the electric engine. It never runs on gas alone.

Purists for some reason were initially saying "its not an electric vehicle, its a hybrid" even though most people use it in electric only mode. Initially in California I thought it couldn't go in the lanes for electric some strange reason, but I think they clarified the law to make more sense. For ebikes, I don't think they have thought that far. But what is the point of having a noisy 2 stroke motor power an electric motor that powers a bike?
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Old 02-01-17, 10:40 AM   #13
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More like, is the chevy volt a gas vehicle or hybrid vehicle or electric vehicle?

It uses an electric engine for 50 miles, and after that a gas engine to charge the electric engine. It never runs on gas alone.

Purists for some reason were initially saying "its not an electric vehicle, its a hybrid" even though most people use it in electric only mode. Initially in California I thought it couldn't go in the lanes for electric some strange reason, but I think they clarified the law to make more sense. For ebikes, I don't think they have thought that far. But what is the point of having a noisy 2 stroke motor power an electric motor that powers a bike?
Extend the range of the e-bike, analogously to the Volt. It's an attractive idea in that respect - you'd get the energy density of gasoline for extended range, but enjoy the all-electric drive otherwise. That would be a lot of stuff to bolt onto a bicycle though, which I guess is the big downside.

It looks to me, just from what's posted here by Robert and the Volt analogy, that it would be an e-bike in Texas even with the generator. An old idea I've mused about, what if you built the generator into a small trailer to pull it along for longer trips, and had a pure e-bike otherwise?
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Old 02-01-17, 11:10 AM   #14
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Extend the range of the e-bike, analogously to the Volt. It's an attractive idea in that respect - you'd get the energy density of gasoline for extended range, but enjoy the all-electric drive otherwise. That would be a lot of stuff to bolt onto a bicycle though, which I guess is the big downside.

It looks to me, just from what's posted here by Robert and the Volt analogy, that it would be an e-bike in Texas even with the generator. An old idea I've mused about, what if you built the generator into a small trailer to pull it along for longer trips, and had a pure e-bike otherwise?
That would of course work quite well, technically... In real life there's the noise, the smell, the weight, the cost... I would rather go with a solar panel as the cover for the trailer. It of course has some problems too (rainy, cloudy, cost) but generally would work just fine.
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Old 02-01-17, 11:24 AM   #15
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First off, I agree with everyone that having a 2-stroke engine, running a generator, sort of defeats the purpose of having an e-bike. There are 4-stroke conversion engines that would be a bit quieter; but there is another problem, the conversion losses are terrible.

The small generators don't put out much. This is the reason I am working on solar. However, it means that my normal (mean) power draw needs to be at or below 200W. There is no real problem with that, it just means that my normal cruse speed will be between 12-15mph (remember, this is with a trike and a touring load). The current status is that I am putting together a wheel with a NuVinci hub for it.
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Old 02-01-17, 01:28 PM   #16
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That would of course work quite well, technically... In real life there's the noise, the smell, the weight, the cost... I would rather go with a solar panel as the cover for the trailer. It of course has some problems too (rainy, cloudy, cost) but generally would work just fine.
Those are the reasons why I've only mused about it, plus I've yet to do any bike tours and bike camping which is the main use case I imagined. I'm more attracted to the solar panel idea myself. But still ... I think cost would be considerably less, and the specific energy of gasoline is hard to beat. And having said "A", having a trailer with a generator or solar charging on it, maybe you could put the batteries in there also and even the motor. Disconnect at the base camp, and the bike is just a bike again. Just ideas that strike me sometimes.
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Old 02-01-17, 01:59 PM   #17
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Hopefully have an extended solar ride report after spring break. In the meantime, there is this report over on endless sphere.

I don't spend much time on ES because the focus there is on power, which isn't my interest.
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Old 02-01-17, 02:16 PM   #18
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Those are the reasons why I've only mused about it, plus I've yet to do any bike tours and bike camping which is the main use case I imagined. I'm more attracted to the solar panel idea myself. But still ... I think cost would be considerably less, and the specific energy of gasoline is hard to beat. And having said "A", having a trailer with a generator or solar charging on it, maybe you could put the batteries in there also and even the motor. Disconnect at the base camp, and the bike is just a bike again. Just ideas that strike me sometimes.
There actually are trailers designed to "push" a regular bicycle out there, with everything in the trailer just the throttle on the bicycle.
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Old 02-01-17, 02:40 PM   #19
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How would a powered trailer work? Seems like having drive wheels behind a pivot point would cause all kinds of handling issues. Tail wagging the dog, as it were.
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Old 02-01-17, 02:42 PM   #20
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Extend the range of the e-bike, analogously to the Volt. It's an attractive idea in that respect - you'd get the energy density of gasoline for extended range, but enjoy the all-electric drive otherwise.
More important than the energy density would be simple ready availability; lack of standardization makes it pretty much impossible to even consider a battery swap-out station, while gas stations are everywhere, and even switching the 750ml tank on one of those scooter motors to a full gallon means you can fill up in about a minute for a couple bucks compared to plugging in for several hours, in addition to the simple proliferation of gas stations meaning there's likely to be one within 20-30 miles of anywhere.

(Somebody want to develop an ultra-fast e-bike charger that plugs into a Tesla fast charge port for a 10 second top up? I'll just hide behind a blast barrier while you dump that much current to those Chinese 18650s.)

As for solar charging, a decent wattage panel is a huge sail compared to normal bike trailer sizes, whereas a 32cc motor is pretty small.
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Old 02-01-17, 03:14 PM   #21
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More important than the energy density would be simple ready availability; lack of standardization makes it pretty much impossible to even consider a battery swap-out station
Right, I suspect that the manufacturers will standardize on a battery design that can be installed, by a robot, from the bottom of that car. At that point the owner will not actually own the battery pack.

The other issue with ready availability is part of what made fuel cells nothing but a dream. You cant "fill 'er up" with liquid sodium. . .or whatever flavor your furl cell likes. Even Bushes attempt to standardize on Hydrogen ignored the safety concerns that arise when handling liquid Hydrogen, it makes gasoline seem friendly in comparison.
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Old 02-01-17, 03:16 PM   #22
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There actually are trailers designed to "push" a regular bicycle out there, with everything in the trailer just the throttle on the bicycle.
Just add a generator, or solar charging, some cargo capacity if it doesn't have it, and we'd be there.
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Old 02-01-17, 03:17 PM   #23
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How would a powered trailer work? Seems like having drive wheels behind a pivot point would cause all kinds of handling issues. Tail wagging the dog, as it were.
I'm sure it would not be like riding an E-Assist bike, but most push trailers don't have huge power so mostly it negates the load carried and I suspect not much "real" push... JMO never having tried one.
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Old 02-01-17, 03:23 PM   #24
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Just add a generator, or solar charging, some cargo capacity if it doesn't have it, and we'd be there.
The trouble is that the small pusher trailers are far too small to carry the surface area of solar panels that is needed.
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Old 02-01-17, 03:33 PM   #25
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The trouble is that the small pusher trailers are far too small to carry the surface area of solar panels that is needed.
I imagine with that implementation you'd want to do the heavy charging while stationary at a destination, telescoping the solar panels. There was a panel-trailer shown in your link in the other thread, with (similar to) one of your large panels but it did look awkward.
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