VanMoof Releasing Electric Bicycle Designed Specifically For Tokyo

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The electric bicycle firm VanMoof has designed and is releasing a new offering designed specifically for the Tokyo market, according to recent reports.

The new model — dubbed the “Electrified X” — is a more compact version of the earlier Electrified S, and is intended to make bike travel within the often crowded and highly compact city easier than with one of the much larger and more popular mamachari-style (“mom’s bike”) bicycles, which feature 26-inch wheels.

“Everything here is more compact,” commented VanMoof CEO and co-founder Ties Carlier. “Apartments are smaller, cars are smaller, even the roads are tinier. So with that in mind, we thought we’d need a bike that’s also more compact. I just knew there had to be a way to get that same technology and that same VanMoof feeling we have into a new design that will fit a city like Tokyo.”

With regard to the top speed and range of the new Electrified X offering, the range is up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) and the top-speed is 24 km/h (~15 mph). So, the offering should meet most people’s daily needs without much trouble.

“Actually electric bikes are already very big here — people love to ride them,” Carlier continued. “But I think the big difference there, and what’s super interesting to me, is that they’re used for very short distances. It’s usually a mamachari used within the same neighborhood — it’s very rare that someone rides it outside the neighbourhood to work or further away. That’s a bit of a shame, I think, and that’s what our bike is perfect for. That 5- or 10-kilometer ride a day, you’re faster than a car or any other transportation, basically, and it makes it so much more fun. The fun part is the most important thing, I think. With my commute in Taipei or Tokyo or Amsterdam, this bike is the best part of my day.”

It should probably be noted here that the lack of long-distance bike use within the city is at least partly down to the fact that bike lanes are a rare thing — forcing bicyclists to either ride on the sidewalk or directly on the road with the cars.

The Verge provides more: “That might sound hyperbolic, but after taking the Electrified X for an hour-long spin around Tokyo yesterday, I can believe it. The bike is just a total blast to ride. With a top speed of 24 kph (15 mph) it’s a little slower than the Electrified S, but I didn’t mind. The 250-350-watt front-wheel motor makes pedaling up inclines effortless, and there’s a boost button that gives you an extra burst of speed and feels like using a mushroom power-up in Mario Kart. Before I knew it I was approaching Takadanobaba, way north of Shinjuku, and I hadn’t even thought to check where I was going.

“VanMoof is taking orders for the Electrified X in Japan from Tuesday next week. It’ll cost 370,000 yen (about $3,320), though preorders will be available for 270,000 yen ($2,420) for a limited time. This price includes a two-year warranty along with VanMoof’s ‘bike hunter’ service, which promises to either track down or replace your stolen bike within two weeks.”

So, it’s certainly not a cheap transportation option — not as far as upfront costs go, anyways.

Those in the US or Europe who are interested, take note: there are currently no plans to release the model outside of Japan.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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