If you’ve test driven a Tesla or other electric vehicles, you know that the electric drive is only part of what sets them apart. Advanced electronic features, integrated into the very heart of the vehicle, make driving an EV easier than ever. This is especially true for its built-in Trip Planner capabilities, telling you how to get there and how long to charge at each charging stop. A new company, iWEECH, aims to do the same for eBikes with its “artificial intelligence” bike.
Normally, using an eBike takes some mental effort. For short rides that are well within the bike’s range, you really don’t need to worry about saving charge up for the big hills or other “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, captain!” moments. For longer rides, you have to think ahead about whether you use battery power or leg power so you’ll have the battery power when you really want or need it.
iWEECH wants to change all this with its hardware and software. The bike has sensors for GPS position, speed, tire inflation, and temperature (ambient and motor). It gets information on wind speed and anticipated temperatures from the internet. Finally, the software either predicts your route based on past rides or gets one that you manually put into your smartphone. Then, it automatically looks at all of the other variables, plus the terrain along your route, to determine how much assistance to give at what time to make the ride as easy as possible.
For short routes, it will give max assistance along the way and have power left over after. For longer routes, it will reduce how much power it gives and save the power for the hardest parts of the route.
There are two ways to control the route and see what the bike is doing. If you don’t want to use your smartphone, there’s a single-button interface that allows you to switch modes. The button lights in one of four colors to let you know what the bike is doing. For many riders, this information will probably be all they want or need.
For those of us who want more control, or who want to navigate while riding in unfamiliar areas, the app gives much more control and much more information. You can plan and follow routes like any GPS app, but the app talks to the bike to better optimize the route based on your preferences and plans. The app can also change a number of settings to control the everyday behavior of the bike, and it allows for multiple users to have different settings if they share a bike. Finally the app has advanced anti-theft features that allow you to track the bike’s location remotely and do other things to disable the bike or prevent theft.
While the bike started as a Kickstarter project, it has already achieved almost 5 times the funding needed to get the project off the ground. The company’s website has useful information, but you’ll have to pre-order the bike through its Kickstarter page for now. As of this writing, there are still a number of “early bird” and “late bird” options available to get the bike starting in May for as little as €2250, or just over US$2500.
We’re in touch with the company, and are hoping to get a demo bike soon. Keep checking back here on the CleanTechnica site, and hopefully we will have an in-depth review of the bike for our readers!
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