Just five houses away, in an old garage I found this bike.
Owner said that it is over 25 years old and probably came from Netherland...
So, circa 1985 some bright minds in Netherlands see all the bicycles on the roads, and start a business producing eBikes using hub motors and lead-acid batteries. Presumably not much later the business folds without having made much of an impression, despite a potential local market of 700million frequently biking Europeans.
Circa 2005 some bright minds in China see all the bicycles, and start businesses producing eBikes using hub motors and lead-acid batteries. Five years later 121million Chinese are eBiking, and China is starting to exploiting it as a new export product.
Congratulations to the Chinese, and slap in the face for us dumb Europeans. (In 1985 I was a teenager in Sweden in possession of a moped, but not much of a budget for gas. I also had both NiCd and lead acid batteries, bikes and motors. However somehow I never put them together.)