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  • Flywheel: NY Banning the Sale of Used Ebike Batteries | Vehicles from Gocycle, Trek, Specialized, Engwe, & Pure Cycles

Flywheel: NY Banning the Sale of Used Ebike Batteries | Vehicles from Gocycle, Trek, Specialized, Engwe, & Pure Cycles

Exploring NY's proposed ban on selling used ebike batteries without UL certification & featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week


Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of owned and used micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight an observation of trends emerging in the industry and feature five of the most interesting vehicles/hardware in micromobility.

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The observation of the week explores the impacts of NY's proposed ban on selling used ebike batteries without UL certification. This week’s featured vehicles are an F1-inspired longtail cargo bike, two mid-market commuters, a budget fat-tire, and a lightweight neighborhood fixie.

Observation of the Week

NY's proposed ban on selling used ebike batteries without UL certification

New York’s attempts to mitigate ebike battery fires recently took on yet another complicated layer. During the week of March 4, 2024, the New York state assembly approved legislation A.4389C, which (if signed by the Governor) would “prohibit the manufacture, distribution, assembly, reconditioning or sale of a lithium-ion battery or second-use lithium-ion battery intended for use in a bicycle with electric assist, a moped, or other micro mobility device unless the lithium-ion battery is certified by an accredited testing laboratory [UL certified].”

On the one hand, buying used ebikes already comes with its fair share of concerns around reliability and remaining life of the vehicles, and concerns that the used batteries may actually be fire hazards is the last thing that potential buyers need. That being said, this legislation feels like an overcorrection that paints any used battery without UL certification as dangerous and effectively renders a majority of ebikes on the road today ineligible for resale in the secondary market. As Andrew Goodell, an Assemblyman that voted against the legislation, points out, “In New York City there are over 65,000 existing e-bikes just on the deliveries, just with delivery people. Sixty-five thousand. And the day this bill goes into effect those ebikes cannot be sold in New York state unless they have a UL certified battery. And these batteries cost upwards of $1,000 apiece.”

There’s already legislation in NYC that prohibits the sale of new ebikes that aren’t UL certified, but it’s unreasonable to mandate everyone that already owns an ebike without UL certification to purchase a new UL certified battery before they can resell their vehicle. And that’s if a UL certified battery replacement that is compatible with the ebike they have even exists. If it doesn’t, this legislation would prohibit the resale of such an ebike in the state altogether.

Looking closer at Flywheel’s data on NYC’s secondary market from the last ~2.5yrs paints a clear picture of the damaging impact A.4389C would have on the city’s used ebike market.

Only 16.7% of the ebikes in NYC’s secondary market are UL certified. This law would render 83.3% of the market obsolete, even though many of these ebikes are perfectly safe vehicles from reputable brands that just didn’t happen to meet battery standards that were set/became expectations over the past year.

A.4389C would also result in NYC’s secondary market becoming much more expensive and inaccessible, which ultimately would reduce ridership levels. Ebikes with UL certification are far more expensive than those without. At the moment, the average resale price of used ebikes without UL certification is $1,010.97, while the average resale rice of those with UL certification is $1,825.10.

Considering that the overall average resale price of all used ebikes in NYC is only $1,147.20, restricting the secondary market to only ebikes with UL certification would lead to a 59.1% spike in the average resale price.

In the current version of A.4389C, a 1st violation would result in a civil penalty of $500, and fines for subsequent violations made within two years of the first could be up to $1000. As Cycling Electric points out, “it’ll likely be cheaper for people to run the risk than comply.”

A.4389C is an imperfect bill, but it’s a start (I suppose) as the state explores other alternatives like 3rd-party testing options for uncertified batteries, Carfax-type reporting that keeps track of how batteries are used, and better on-pack BMSs with improved live monitoring of the battery health.

At the least, A.4389C should find ways to ensure that the costs to replace batteries with those that are compliant with the legislation don’t fall entirely on the reseller. To this effect, the NY state assembly also passed A.8611, which requires the creation of a program “to provide new lithium batteries at reduced cost or no cost to eligible individuals, which may include provision of new lithium batteries in exchange for used lithium-ion batteries.”

For more observations and resources on owned and used micromobility, check out rideflywheel.com/resources.

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MSRP: $6,999 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $0 more than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $6,999

Just announced this past February, the Gocycle CXi is an ultra-lightweight and portable premium class-1 cargo bike. Representing Gocycle’s first foray into the cargo segment, the CXi is an F1-inspired ebike that brings a stunning new design and custom high-performance components to what has traditionally been a fairly utilitarian form factor. The F1 inspiration starts with the CXi’s monocoque chassis, which combines an aluminum alloy front frame with a carbon fiber rear frame. This rear frame (the WingPillar) has a payload capacity of 420lbs and is compatible with several bespoke accessories developed by Gocycle, including the HaloCX protective handrail for the rear rack that is inspired by the Halo crash-protection system used on F1 cars. The F1 inspiration even goes as far as the winglets near the rear rack, which act as step ups for rear passengers. The CXi’s powertrain features an in-house developed 500W Gocycle front hub motor, which has traction control and is controlled by Torque sensor, and a 375Wh battery pack. Its drivetrain consists of a 5-speed Shimano Nexus hub and a Gates CDX carbon belt drive that are cleanly enclosed within the frame, and there’s even predictive software to automate/make shifting easier. The CXi remarkably only weighs 50lbs due to its carbon fiber frame, which is lighter than than most commuters. The CXi also folds into a very small footprint, and even has side-mounted wheels that are easy to remove. For those interested in an even more premium version of the CXi, Gocycle sells a sister cargo bike called the CX+. This variant costs ~$1K more and features Gocycle’s new Flofit, which is a highly adjustable handlebar with internally integrated touch controls, lighting, and other electronics. The Gocycle CXi is available for pre-order with a $499 deposit, and first deliveries are expected in September 2024. Listing can be found here.

The Trek FX+ 2 is a lightweight mid-market class-1 commuter designed to be a gateway for new riders into the world of commuting via ebike. Its powertrain, featuring a 40Nm Hyena rear hub motor with “Trek's proprietary pedal assist system” and a 250Wh battery pack, is so diminutive and stealthily integrated into the frame that it’s hard to even tell that the FX+ 2 is electrified. Notably, all of Trek and Electra’s new e-systems are UL 2849 certified. Added to the powertrain are a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain and strong hydraulic disc brakes, which make the 40lbs commuter agile and easy to use. There’s even built-in lighting, a rear rack, and fenders that come standard with the vehicle. These are rare inclusions on bikes from incumbent dealer-network brands and speak to Trek’s ambition to make this a ready-made city bike. The FX+ 2 is a good entry vehicle for people new to ebikes. Its simplicity makes it highly approachable, and its premium quality and serviceability that come with it being a Trek bike are excellent elements that significantly improve the ownership experience for first-time buyers. However, the FX+ 2 has a weak powertrain (particularly compared to today’s state-of-the-art commuters) that I believe many riders could quickly outgrow. Brand new FX+ 2s are currently on sale on Trek’s website for $500 off. Listing can be found here.

The Specialized Turbo Como 3.0 is a comfortable mid-market class-1 urban rider from Specialized. Its powertrain features a custom 50Nm Brose CB mid-drive motor tuned for Specialized and a 460.8Wh battery pack integrated into the downtube. This Brose mid-drive is a light, high-quality motor that is an impressive addition to what is supposed to be Specialized’s “entry-level” bike. The Como 3.0 also has an 11-speed Shimano transmission and hydraulic brakes to make it even smoother and more responsive to ride. One major downside to this vehicle is that it has no suspension or wide tires to cushion rides, but it does have several cruiser-style finishings (angled back seat tube, plush saddle, and swept back handlebars) that give users a relaxed and comfortable riding position. This listing has a mileage of 4459mi but is priced at ~$1.4K less than the model’s average resale price. It used to be part of a bike shop’s rental fleet, and was professionally serviced by the shop’s mechanics between each rental. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $999 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $0 more than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $999

Launched just earlier this month, the Engwe L20 2.0 is a budget class-2/class-3 folding fat-tire ebike. An upgrade to Engwe’s popular L20 model, the L20 2.0 manages to maintain the same price while featuring a higher torque motor, bigger battery, better suspension, lighter frame, and folding capabilities. Its powertrain consists of a 75Nm rear hub motor and a 676Wh battery pack, and is combined with a 7-speed Shimano transmission. The L20 2.0 is designed for maximum cushioning when riding, and its front fork suspension, suspension seat post, and 20”x3” fat tires help riders glide over bumpy roads. Lastly, the L20 2.0 is ready for high-utility riding right out of the box. All L20 2.0s come standard with integrated front and rear racks, lighting, and fenders. Ultimately, this vehicle is packed with an impressive amount of features and accessories despite the ultra-affordable price tag. The L20 2.0’s main drawback is that it only has mechanical disc brakes, which may not be the most confident inspiring brakes given the vehicle’s max payload capacity of 264lbs and its max speed of 28mph. Brand new L20 2.0s are currently on sale on Engwe’s website for $150 off. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $1,999 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $292 less than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $873

The Pure Cycles Volta is a lightweight, compact, and sleek class-1 neighborhood rider modeled after the ever-popular fixie single-speed pedal bikes. Its powertrain features a 250W (~50Nm) AIKEMA rear hub motor and a 243.6Wh battery pack. The pedal assistance is controlled by a torque sensor, which combines with the single-speed Gates carbon belt drive to make the Volta ultra smooth to ride. This vehicle is also incredibly agile and zippy. It only weighs 35 lbs, and has a compact 64.5” long frame and short 22” tires. There are no hydraulic brakes on the Volta, but smart electronic features like regenerative braking and motor inhibitors augment the mechanical disc brakes and give the Volta quick and responsive deceleration. Lastly, the Volta also comes with several urban-minded features like an internal GPS for location tracking and integrated lighting. The Volta’s powertrain is modest so it’s not neccesarily the best candidate for your daily commuter, but it’s nonetheless a smooth, fun, and high-quality vehicle for casual riding. This listing is in good condition with a Flywheel estimated mileage of 803.13mi. Listing can be found here.

That’s it for this edition. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!

- Puneeth Meruva

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