E-bikes are on the up and up, as it would seem. Everyone from small start-ups to big car brands are coming up with new, cool designs to get more people into bicycle commuting. The next big car brand (following Audi) to release its very own e-bike is fellow German luxury car company BMW.
This bike, made to fit in the trunk of the new BMW i3 electric car that is slated for commercial release in 2013, is meant to be "a complement" to the car to make urban mobility has easy and earth-friendly as possible. If you park somewhere, and don't want to move your car, but have to go somewhere ele nearby, take out one of the two bikes that fit perfectly in the car and be on your way.
Called the BMW i Pedelec (Pedal Electric Cycle) Concept, the bike is fit with an electric motor that gives that extra boost to a rider, and some added torque. The motor--the main appeal of e-bikes in general--is ideal for people who want to commute to work via bike (like me) but don't want to get all sweaty and have to change clothes or work in their sweat for the rest of the day.
Once back at the car, or at your destination, the bike can be easily folded up, and the battery charged while you drive or while they are not in use. Like the car, the bike is compact and made for urban convenience. Cities are getting more and more crowded, and commuters are looking for ways to be more environmentally responsible, despite this.
The i Pedelec has disc brakes at the front and back, a three-speed gear hub that is integrated into the motor, and an extremely lightweight frame made from aluminum and carbon fiber, just like it's car cousin the i3. The electric motor has an electronic management system and high-performance battery. It can also be be converted into pushing mode, which allows the bike to be rolled and steered, an idea included specifically to make it easier to take onto public transit without having to be carried.
The motor only assists the rider's pedaling up to 16 MPH, but because of this it does not need to be insured, registered or licensed (a helmet is not required either, though always recommended!)
The battery, depending on the route, weight of the rider and degree of motor assistance, can stay charged for a range of 16-25 miles. When braking and riding down hills, the motor acts as a generator and supplies the battery with more energy, according to BMW. And when you get home, the battery just takes 1.5 to four hours to fully recharge from regular plug socket, or from the trunk of the car.
The bike's release was planned to coincide with the opening of the BMW i Store in London this summer.