Ford Motor Company introduced two electric bikes at Mobile World Congress 2015. Currently, both e-bikes are at the concept stage and resulted from an internal effort to design an intelligent e-bike. The two concepts can connect to an Apple iPhone 6, presumably to download travel data and analyze it. Bruce Southey and Paul Wraith are the Ford designers that came up with the concept bikes.
Other intelligent features are a feedback mechanism that alerts riders when and where to turn based on navigational information coming from the iPhone. Also, a rear sensor could identify a car approaching too rapidly, and warn a bike rider while flashing a rear signal to the vehicle’s driver to bring attention to the fact a cyclist is near. This detection and signalling might sound like something trivial, but distracted drivers kill thousands of people each year in America.
Also, there are several hundred thousand injuries each year, so any kind of effective safety system for e-bikes that make them more visible to motorists might be very helpful.
One of the Ford concept bikes was made for commercial use, like delivering small packages and documents. You can imagine how beneficial it could be to have an electric motor if you work as a courier in an urban setting, rather than only relying on pedal power.
The other one was designed for urban commuters. It folds into a size and shape that can be carried on a bus or placed in the trunk of a car. Both have 200-watt electric motors.
Portability is a key for commuter bikes, because many people use them to travel between bus stops, train stations and their destinations. In other words, if you can bike two miles to a train station, and put your bike on a train, it makes it much easier to commute, rather than having to drive and find a parking space at a lot that might be crowded. It also saves some gas money, and the exercise is better for one’s health. Many workers today spend most of the day sitting.
Ford also showed an open-source software and hardware kit for bikes to collect user data for riders so they can document their activities.
Image Credit: Ford Motor Company
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.