Comment fonctionne un vélo électrique ? - Elwing

How does an electric bike work?

, by ISAURE DUCROS, 3 min reading time

An electric bike: how does it work? Electric bicycles are hybrid vehicles that combine the energy delivered by a cyclist's pedaling and the power of a motor to move forward.

An electric bike: how does it work?

Electric bicycles are hybrid vehicles that combine the energy delivered by a cyclist's pedaling and the power of a motor to move forward.

Although very present in the urban landscape in recent years and representing a means of transport of the future, the very first patent for an electric bicycle was nevertheless filed in 1895.

Due to the low battery life of the time, it was long neglected in favor of mopeds or cars. We have observed a renewed interest since the 2000s with the improvement of batteries and it has recently exploded thanks to a combination of technological, environmental, economic and societal factors: the development of soft mobility, city congestion, ecological issues, government promotions…

But what is an electric bike and how does it work?

What is an VAE (electrically assisted bicycle)?

The NF EN 15194 standard governs the design of bicycles and the application of a safety check on them. It also defines the main criteria which make it possible to make a clear distinction between an electrically assisted bicycle and a moped.

3 essential criteria to identify an electrically assisted bicycle:

  • the electric assistance is triggered when pedaling;
  • the electric assistance cuts off as soon as the bike exceeds a speed of 25 km/h;
  • motor power should not exceed 250 watts.

How does an electric bike work?

How does an VAE (electrically assisted bicycle) progress? What is its function ?

The elements of an VAE

Electric bike models are varied but they have the following operating elements in common: a battery, a controller, a motor, a console (screen) and a sensor.

  • Engine

The motor is the heart of the electric bike. There are different types of engines. The motor can be located in the front or rear wheel (wheel or hub motor) or in the crankset.

The support of a pedal motor is more progressive, where the wheel motor is more direct. The wheel motor is more suitable for use in town.

  • Battery

The battery (lithium for the Yuvy) powers the motor of the electric bikes. The batteries are rechargeable, recyclable and their level of autonomy may vary depending on the battery model chosen. Long distance batteries have a greater level of autonomy.

  • The sensors

The sensor, which can be a pedaling or torque sensor, is a system that triggers and determines the level of assistance.

It is this sensor which sends the signal to the controller and the motor that the bike is moving forward.

  • The controller

The controller processes the information sent by the sensors and transmits it to the motor to trigger it if the bike is equipped with a pedaling sensor in the crankset or adapt its power according to the effort provided if the bike is equipped with a torque sensor.

  • The screen

The screen allows you to find information such as the battery level, speed or the desired level of assistance.

Position of these elements on the Elwing Yuvy (electric bike diagram):

Yuvy electric bike components


  1. Should you pedal an electric bike? The assistance of an VAE is triggered when pedaling. Unless it has a trigger.
  2. Is it complicated to use? An eBike is very easy to use and does not require a license or special skills or to be a particularly experienced cyclist.
  3. Can we go faster than 25km/h? The assistance of electric bikes cuts off at a speed of 25km/h. However, it is entirely possible that you will be required to exceed this speed with a good pedal stroke and the wind at your back.

Continue reading

See all articles 

See all articles 


Forgot your password?

Don't have an account yet?
Create account