During the Thirties ebikes started to be something more than some bizarre creation of a visionary inventor. Many big European companies started producing proper ebikes. Technology at the time didn’t allow for light vehicles with a long range, so ebikes were the link between traditional bikes and the more reliable motorbikes with a combustion engine.
The more successful ebike among the ones we listed below was the Gazelle: still, only 117 of them were sold to the public.
Ironically, we have more info about the models from the previous decades (for example the Humber electric tandem bike or the Wall Auto-Wheel). We could only find a few photos and info about ebikes from the 1930s.
1932: The Philips Simplex Electric Bike
(see the picture above)
Philips was already a very popular company at the time, especially in the radio sets field: in 1932 they had already sold a million radios all over the world. That year they decided to expand their market into the ebikes field. They teamed up with Simplex (a company that produced regular bikes) to create this ebike. The only thing we know about it is that it had a 12V battery.
1933: The Juncker Ebike
The bike was 50kg without the battery. It took a whole day to recharge the battery and it only had a 40km range. This ebike could only reach 18km/h in speed and they only produced 100 samples.
1937: The Philips Gazelle Ebike
In 1937 Philips tried again. This time they teamed up with Gazelle, one of the most successful companies in the bike trade in the Netherlands and in Europe. Gazelle is still in business today, and it has produced more than 13 million bikes so far. Unfortunately, the electric Gazelle was a flop and they only produced 117 samples.
This is an interesting video from some years before the invention of the electric Gazelle. It’s a cartoon that shows the adventures of Peter on his Gazelle and some footage of the production process in Gazelle’s factory.