Humans have been riding bikes for more than a century, but recent technological developments have the potential to grow cycling like never before, making it cheap, green, and a more convenient as a mode of transportation. Longtime cycling enthusiast and writer Maria Ramos put together this list of five new tech innovations for electric bicycles that could be poised to revolutionize the cycling world.
Ramos is a big fan of this new technology in part because by making electric cycling a more economical and pleasant endeavor, these advances might entice more people into using bicycles as a mode of transportation. Since electric bikes, especially solar-powered ones, are a relatively green means of getting from place to place, this could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And no matter what you think about eBikes, that is certainly not a bad thing.
The Evelo Omni Wheel
By replacing the front wheel of your bicycle with the Evelo Omni Wheel, you can gain most of the advantages of an electric model. Riders will receive a boost of up to 20mph as they pedal. On a single charge, the Omni Wheel features a range of between 15 and 40 miles depending on which battery option is chosen. These conversion kits are expected to begin shipping in spring 2015 at prices ranging from $1,000-$1,300.
More information at www.omni.evelo.com.
The Copenhagen Wheel, despite its name, was developed at MIT and offers similar functionality to the Evelo Omni Wheel. It replaces the back wheel of your bicycle and employs an electric motor to multiply your pedaling power between three and 10 times. The Copenhagen Wheel comes with a mobile app allowing users to customize operational parameters, and an SDK was released to enable third-party developers to add extra software features. Would-be buyers can drop by MIT for a free demo. Units are expected to ship sometime in spring 2015, and the Wheel sells for $950.
More information at www.superpedestrian.com.
Visiobike was designed with both aesthetics and performance in mind. It is an electric bike that, at first glance, appears to be just an ordinary bike. In addition to a pedaling boost, the Visiobike contains features designed to keep users safe, such as required PIN entry and automatic recording in the event of an accident. While the prices, starting near $5,000, are by no means cheap, it’s possible that economies of scale will bring the price tag down as the Visiobike gains popularity through it’s IndieGogo campaign. The CEO has stated that he hopes to start shipping it in August.
More information at www.visiobike.com.
Dutch Solar Cycle
Solar Application Lab has come up with a way to power an electric bicycle using the sun’s rays. The wheels are covered in solar panels, which capture light from the sun and convert it to electricity stored in a battery. It’s perfect for users who want an electric bike but are wary due to high energy rates, or those concerned about their impact on the environment as it’s touts itself as having the lowest carbon footprint of all electric bikes. The firm has already implemented this technology using bikes from other manufacturers, but an in-house solar electric bike is likely around three years away. What makes this product especially interesting is that the modular solar cells can be configured in almost any arrangement and can so be used in a variety of products, not just bicycles.
More information at electricbikereport.com.
Bosch Mid Drive System
The Bosch drive system is already popular in Europe, but it only became available in the United States in 2014. A motor, gearbox, controllers and sensors work together to deliver a smooth, efficient ride while the battery provides up to 50 miles per charge. Rounding out the package is a console that allows users to view their current speed, adjust the level of assist, and get information on how much battery charge is left.
More information at newwheel.net.