Ford has launched electric bikes equipped with a 200-watt motor with a 9-amp-hour battery that provides electric pedal assistance for speeds of up to 25km/h (15mph).
The e-bikes can also be folded. Rear-facing sensors offer riders an alert system that warns the cyclist when a vehicle is overtaking by vibrating both handlebars. Sensors also alert motorists to the presence of the e-bike by lighting up the handlebars.
An app – currently only available on the iPhone 6 – provides step-by-step navigation – it plans an entire route for commuters, from driving to a train station to taking a train and completing a journey via an e-bike. It also offers information about the routes – so if a train service in cancelled it may offer an alternative method of transport.
It also provides navigation for riders, via a Bluetooth headset that uses haptic touch technology to notify the rider of whether to turn left or right.
David Bailey, professor of industrial strategy at the Aston Business School believes that e-bikes are going to become popular in cities.
“A lot of city authorities are concerned about pollution so we will see more e-bikes around,” he said.
But he is less convinced that the e-bike revolution will be led by car manufacturers.
“There are a few companies already doing it. They are trying to show they are environmentally friendly but also, in some cities, it is no longer possible to drive to the centre of town in a car.”