Here at Shoppersbase we love the concept of an electric bike. E-bikes make cycling accessible to everyone and allow those who don’t have a car to be a little more mobile and independent.
The idea of e-bikes, in that there’s a battery to help power you over steep hills or to aid you in pedalling faster, is not a new premise. One Chinese company however, has taken it that one step further.
Chen Tengjiao, founder of Beijing-based company – Tsinova, was travelling on his daily commute to work when he came up with the idea for his e-bike:
“I lived near the Lufthansa Shopping Center and needed to go to the 798 Art District for work. It was a 6-kilometer journey. But I was stuck on the road for 40 or 50 minutes as I drove to work each day,” says Tengjiao to Tech in Asia.
He began thinking about how to create a better journey for commuters that did not involve cars or public transport:
“It started to dawn on me that the auto industry where I worked did not offer much value to society and that there was no way for it to create a better life for others.
“Later, I tried the bus and the bike, but the experience was very poor in both cases. I then started to wonder whether I could create a new kind of transport vehicle to provide an easy commute experience for urban white-collar workers,” he says.
The difference with Tengjiao’s e-bike is that it is not just appealing to those who do not have cars, but to those that do and want a fun way to get around the city.
The design is ultra-modern and uses a really clever system not seen in other electric bikes. The drivetrain actually reacts to what the rider is doing and automatically adjusts to compensate or compliment.
This is thanks to the VeloUp system which utilises a set of sensors to sense what the rider is doing and anticipate what he or she wants to do next.
If, for example, you are pedalling hard to get up a steep hill, the sensor will adjust to deliver more power. If you are pedalling at speed it will understand that you want to go faster and adjust itself accordingly.
The motor on the e-bike is fixed at a speed limit of 12 hours an hour, so you can never go faster than that.
The battery is lithium-ion based and will work for up to around 44 miles without needing to be recharged. There is a two-hour time for recharging and a smartphone app which shows you how much battery you have left, navigation tools, mileage and tons of other cool things.
The idea of an electric bike is not new in China, in fact, there are so common that you can easily buy them in supermarkets, however, Tengjiao believes that they were heavy and ugly and has made his bike lighter and more modern-looking.
Nowadays he says that many people are getting rid of their old e-bikes and are looking for something new to replace them.
“Traditional e-bikes are heavy, bad looking, and mainly made for people who can’t afford cars. Their users are couriers, security staff, and so on. [Our smart bike] is made for middle classes who usually already own cars in big cities. And people can bring it into the home or office easily,” he says.
The e-bike has proved to be so popular in China that it has received the most investment for any electrical bicycle company ever, coming in at just over $22 million.
The company are now hoping that its popularity will hold true outside of China and have plans to launch a version in the U.S., France, Singapore, South Korea and Norway.
Tsinova showcased the e-bike at CES 2016 where it received great feedback.
The e-bike costs around $540 to buy in China.