Ford has launched e-bikes at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), as part of its plans to extend its footprint beyond cars.
Increasingly car manufacturers are looking to new ways to make money with many developing so-called smart transportation systems.
Ford’s electric bicycles come in two versions – one for use by commuters, MoDe:Me, and one as a commercial bike for couriers, MoDe:Pro.
Both are linked to a smartphone app that provides step-by-step navigation.
The experiment with e-bikes is part of Ford’s smart mobility plan – it is keen to study how such bicycles integrate with cars and public transport.
“There are so many ways to get around a city, but what is really needed is a way to connect all of these transport options together,” said Ken Washington, vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering.
“Being able to seamlessly move between cars, buses, trains and e-bikes and react to changing traffic situations can make a big difference both for commuters and for those delivering goods, services and healthcare.”
Traffic problems and overly long commutes have been proved to have a significant economic and social impact on cities. According to the European Commission, congestion within the EU costs about 100 billion euros each year.
Both Ford’s e-bikes are equipped with a 200-watt motor with a 9-amp-hour battery that provides electric pedal assistance for speeds of up to 15mph. Both 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.
[youtube 47mwTXI3WUU 650]