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Bicycles keb-21

Published on March 12th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

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Kia E-Bike Debuts Alongside Kia Soul EV

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March 12th, 2014 by
 

Originally published on Gas 2.
By Zachary Coffey.

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Getting back to the basics, Kia is showing off two new electric bike prototypes built with an innovative new manufacturing process that harkens back to its days as a bicycle builder.

Back in 1944, Kia (known then as Kyungsung Precision Industries) was a burgeoning manufacturer of bicycle parts and steel tubing. During the next three decades they would grow their facilities to build finished bicycles then motorcycles, cars, and trucks. Things have certainly come a long way since 1974.

The two “pedelec” prototypes, named the KEB City and KEB Mountain Bike, were introduced at the Geneva Auto Show accompanying the Soul EV, Kia’s first globally-available electric vehicle. Both versions can be powered by either human might or the 250-watt electric motor coupled to a removable 36 volt/10 amp lithium-ion battery. With both models weighing in at around 44 lb and topping out at 15.5 mph, the KEB’s are capable of a 25 mile range on a 4 hour charge.

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Kia is also using these bikes to show off its new manufacturing process. Pairing a new metal stamping technology with their robotic welding process will allow additional flexibility in metal choices, as well as a higher level of control while lowering the overall cost of production. As an additional bonus, the new process will also allow for a greater level of design detail.

While there is no guarantee when or if production will begin, these methods have been developed exclusively, at the moment, for the KEB’s frame, which puts the production of these “pedelec” bikes into the more-than-likely category.

As the price of gas continues to rise and our carbon emissions become increasingly concerning, these bikes may help provide a nice sunny day alternative to traditional transportation, and could one day dominate our roads.

Sources: Kia

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  • SirSparks

    The City is a truly beautiful bike but I sincerely doubt that 360 watt hours of power will propel it and rider 25 miles at 15 mph unless some serious pedal assist is done.

    • Benjamin Nead

      These do look nice. Very pretty looking frame designed on these new KIAs. I do note, though, that almost all off-the-shelf turn-key ebikes are always WAY more expensive than do-it-yourself conversions.

      If you look around on Craigslist in most medium to large sized US cities, dehydratedpaani, you can often find some really nice used bicycles that would make excellent donors for a serious ebike project . . . for pennies on the dollar in regards to what they cost new. It’s amazing what 2 or 3 hundred dollars will buy you . . . bikes that might have cost $700 to $1200 new.

      The next part is more complex and that is choosing one of many ways to electrify it. As with anything, you get what you pay for. But the low end purchase of hub (already laced onto a 26″ or 700c wheel,) battery pack, controller, and throttle might set you back around $500. More robust and better built stuff, obvious, get more expensive. But – factoring in the cost of a well chosen used donor bike – it’s realistic to assume that about $1000 to $1200 could get you a pretty custom-made good ebike . . . which is certainly better than $2500 or so.

      And . . . if you look at the actual parts on some of these $2500 turn-key e-bikes, you’ll note that they are often the same ones as provided in the under $1000 do-it-yourself kits. What you’re buying is the expertise of someone to tighten the bolts and connect the wires for you . . . and, perhaps, a more polished-looking finished package.

      The other wild card in this do-it-yourself approach might end up being the all-in-one hubs that contain everything in a single package, such as the up-and-coming Copenhagen Wheel . . .

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S10GMfG2NMY

      The first production examples of this one should start showing up very soon for folks who paid for them late last year. I’m very curious to hear how well they do. If it works as advertised, then it will certainly shake up the under $1000 ebike conversion market.

      As for the 250W hub motor setup with 36V/10A battery, SirSpark, you are correct in that this most certainly puts you in the category of “serious pedal assist.” But I suppose that’s the whole point of an electrically-assist bicycle (ie: ebike,) as opposed to an electric scooter or electric motorcycle.

      Those require the same sort of licensing/registration/expense as conventional gasoline 2-wheel vehicles. The appeal of ebikes – especially the lower powered ones – is that they are still essentially bicycles, but simply give you a little extra help on hill climbs or slightly longer distances.

  • dehydratedpaani

    Please be reasonably priced…please please…

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