An electric bicycle is a conventional bicycle that has been fitted with an electric motor. Converting an existing bicycle by retrofitting it with a "conversion kit" is the simplest and least expensive electric vehicle conversion option. Most often electric bicycles or "e-bikes" are powered by rechargeable batteries however some experimental electric bicycles run directly on or recharge their batteries via solar panels, fuel cells, gas generators or other alternative energy sources. Some experimenters have even used super capacitors to store energy. Using an on-board generator may impact the legal jurisdictional definition of an electric bicycle. A few types of electric bicycles are able to re-capture a small amount of energy from braking and can re-charge the batteries while braking or traveling down hills (regenerative braking).Some electric bikes have features where the motor can move the bicycle by itself (immediate start) if the rider chooses not to pedal with a button or throttle controller, while others require the rider to pedal at all times (pedal assist). This latter type may in some jurisdictions allow the vehicle to be used on bicycle trails that otherwise prohibit motorized vehicles of any kind (See motorized bicycle).
Many battery technologies are available for powering electric bikes. The most common and least expensive battery technology is sealed lead acid but LiFePO4 is fast becoming the battery of choice for the e-bike.
Converting one's bike to electric with a conversion kit is an easy and affordable solution for most people interested in learning more about electric vehicle conversion. E-Bikes are the cleanest, most affordable and most energy efficient form of transportation on the planet.
There may be some problems with the warranty however on the original bicycle being converted, if an electric bike conversion kit is added.