Audi, known globally for performance oriented cars and chic designs, revealed a two wheel model at the Worthersee Autonews 2012 show, a meet-up of Audi, Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda (and their fans) in Carinthia, Austria.
The new bike, called the Audi e-bike Worthersee, is a lithium-ion-battery powered e-bike that according to Audi, explores technological limits on the basis of Audi's core competences: design, connect, ultra, and e-tron to make a unique and innovative sport bike.
Neither a straight electric nor a normal bicycle, the company describes the prototype as "high-end pedelec" that's made specifically for "sport, fun and tricks." The design is super-futuristic, probably for the reason of steering away from other bike concepts. Audi wants us to know that this bike, like their cars, is performance, speed and flash-driven.
The e-bike is very light, the carbon-fiber frame weighing in at only 3.53 pounds, and the 26-inch wheels (made from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer) weigh only 1.32 pounds each. The swinging arm for the rear wheel is also made of CFRP, making all of the main components very, very light-- 46 pounds with the motor.
The electric motor, according to Audi, "is a permanent magnet synchronous machine; it is located at the lowest point on the frame and drives the bottom bracket shaft directly."
The e-bike has three different levels of power. You can either just pedal or the electric motor can take some of the pressure off, or you can sit back, relax and let the electric motor do all the grunt work.
Also-- there are "wheelie" modes, where if you tip the bike back on the rear wheel and ride it upright, with the motor taking care of balance issues. Maybe not totally practical, but this is an interesting take on the different ways a bike can be ridden. Plus, it doesn't seem like Audi was going for "practical."
To top it all off, it has an awesomely fast top speed at 50 miles per hour.