Quantcast

Go From Bike to eBike in Under a Minute With the GeoOrbital

Business

Electric bikes are a great way to get around with less pedal power and research shows that they make people cycle longer and more frequently. Still, e-bikes are a niche market, and many people don't want to buy a new ride when their standard pedal-bike works perfectly fine.

But now, thanks to a team of Cambridge, Massachusetts inventors, you can simply upgrade old faithful with the GeoOrbital wheel that turns your existing bicycle into an e-bike in less than 60 seconds and without any tools. A thumb-activated throttle is then clipped onto the bike's handlebars.

The Verge described how it works:

Instead of spokes, the wheel contains a sort of triangular housing with three smaller wheels that rest against the inside of the rim. Like a set of gears, those smaller wheels grab the rim and turn the bike wheel, propelling you forward by using the 500W motor and 36V battery found inside the housing.

The inventors, who used to work at Ford, SpaceX and helped build micro-businesses with the Peace Corps, say that their orbital, or spoke-less, wheel was inspired by the sci-fi flick TRON:

An Orbital wheel is a wheel with no center–it “orbits” around an empty area, rather than spinning as a result of being connected to a “hub.” For example have you seen the movie TRON? The wheels on those motorcycles are examples of Orbital Wheels (or Hubless wheels and Centerless wheels). The GeoOrbital wheel is an evolution of the Orbital wheel platform, where instead of orbiting around an empty space, the center of the wheel contains components that make the wheel function as an “all-in-one” vehicle propulsion system. We call this central mass a “Geo.”

Instead of the standard inflatable tube and tire, the GeoOrbital wheel has a solid foam tire, which acts the same as a regular tire and also means "you never have to worry about getting a flat or even checking tire pressure," the developers say.

Impressively, after many earlier prototypes and customer feedback, the latest version of the GeoOrbital wheel comes with a built-in USB port so you can charge your devices such as a smartphone or a speaker perhaps. It also has a removable and lockable lithium-ion battery that acts as a portable power bank.

All told, after installing the 20-pound wheel, a rider can achieve speeds of up to 20 miles per hour on flat surfaces with a 50 mile range.

"The more you choose to pedal the more range you can expect, and you can always take a spare battery with you for longer rides," the designers note.

In case you're wondering how it rides, Skip Ferderber at GeekWire gave the e-bike a test spin:

So how does it feel when riding it? I tested the bike wheel on the grounds of the Seattle Center. Because its power source is on the front, the bike initially felt slightly heavier and less flexible than a standard bike. Once I thumb-activated the throttle the bike felt both easy to navigate and powerful. It took less than two minutes to become accustomed to the bike powering me instead of me pedaling. In my final (but short test), I drove it up the short hill to the west of Key Arena and was pleasantly surprised at how easily it powered me up hill. I am not precisely a featherweight.

The patent pending product has easily zipped past its $75,000 Kickstarter goal with nearly 500 backers putting in more than $350,000. The market price will be roughly $900, which is less than many other e-bikes out there.

The GeoOrbital team.

The Verge noted that there are similar products on the market such as Evelo's Omni wheel and the Superpedestrian that is currently taking preorders.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Elon Musk: We Must Revolt Against the Unrelenting Propaganda of the Fossil Fuel Industry

Top 25 American Cities With the Best Public Transit

The Ultimate in Off-Grid Transportation: Mini-Fleet-in-a-Box

This Solar Road Will Provide Power to 5 Million People

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images

By Jennifer Molidor

One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.

Read More Show Less
Edwin Remsburg / VW Pics / Getty Images

Botswana, home to one third of Africa's elephants, announced Wednesday that it was lifting its ban on the hunting of the large mammals.

"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pxhere

By Richard Denison

Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).

Read More Show Less
De Molen windmill and nuclear power plant cooling tower in Doel, Belgium. Trougnouf / CC BY-SA 4.0

By Grant Smith

From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Brett Walton / Circle of Blue

By Brett Walton

When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gabriele Holtermann Gorden / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.

This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.

Read More Show Less
Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.

That's the conclusion of a new study from think tank Autonomy, which found that Germany, the UK and Sweden all needed to drastically reduce their workweeks to fight climate change.

"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."

The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.

The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.

The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.

"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."

Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.

"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."

Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.

"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice held a press conference after the annual shareholder meeting on May 22. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice

Amazon shareholders voted down an employee-backed resolution calling for more aggressive action on climate change at their annual meeting Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Read More Show Less