Date:14 May 2014
We’ve seen the electric bicycle in many shapes and configurations, and quite frankly, some of them are rather yawn-inducing. The Gi-Bike is different: it’s foldable, for a start, and it comes with an array of features that promise to revolutionise the daily commute. In the United States, anyway.
It’s the brainchild of a New York-based trio – Lucas Toledo, Agustin Agustinoy and Eric Sevillia – who set out to create a portable and affordable means of personal transportation for big cities, citing research that suggested the bicycle had changed very little since its creation in the 1800s (and possibly even further back, according to unverified sources). They explain: “We built the Gi-Bike in the pursuit of one big idea: to revolutionise and transform the commute of millions of people around the world.” Their solution: an electric bicycle with a difference; lots of differences, in fact.
“We all know that bicycles are the most efficient and eco-friendly way to commute throughout the city, but we found out that there is no bicycle with all the features that satisfy all the needs of the everyday commuter. That is why we invented the Gi-Bike – by carefully challenging every aspect and design of the traditional bike.”
Naturally, putting it into production isn’t simply a question of pressing a button, so the inventors have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the R4 million needed to get the process going (in the form of a limited-edition Gi-Bike).
Here are some of the more appealing features in this electric bicycle:
Electric assistance – knows when you need help and assists you by activating the electric motor.
Long range – the bike will reportedly run for 65 km on a single charge of the LifePo4 battery.
Light weight – it weighs a modest 17 kg.
Folds quickly – would you believe just one second?
Very cool tech – smartphone integration, GPS, social networking, integrated USB port, smart LED lights turn on automatically at night.
Easy to lock – integrated anti-theft lock has a feature that locks automatically once you walk 3 m away from your bike.
Mobile app – available both for Android and iOS, allows you to control all of the Gi-Bike’s features, including its electric assistance, wireless lights, anti-theft locking system (and a mode that allows you to share your bike with friends and family). The app also provides live statistics, measuring calories burned, speed, time, mileage, and more.
So you’d still prefer a bolt-on electric motor? In that case, you might be interested in the oddly named Copenhagen Wheel, developed by MIT’s Senseable City Lab and now reportedly available as a commercial product.