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Electric bikes are a great way to zip around town with less pedal power, but they have two problems. First, the machinery can make them heavy or bulky. Second, at some point, they will run out of juice.
But Austria-based VELLO BIKE has solved these two problems with its innovative VELLO Bike+, the world's first self-charging electric folding bike that gives cyclists ultimate freedom.
The lightest self-charging folding e-bike in the world.VELLO BIKE
The bike claims to be lighter than most folding e-bikes on the market—the titanium model weighs about 24 pounds, and the chromoly frame model weighs 26 pounds.
It can easily fold down to just 72 x 53 centimeters, or suitcase size, making it easy to store in tight spaces, such as under a desk or in the trunk of a car. You don't even have to carry it—once folded it can also stand on its own, meaning you can just wheel it around. The bike's patented magnetic release makes it quick and easy to fold.
"A self-locking magnet allows hands-free folding, which makes it very different from a typical folding bike with complicated hinges to open," company co-founder and designer Valentin Vodev said. "They don't tend to be very user-friendly as the folding process is lengthy and can be frustrating."
Vodev was given a Red Dot award, an international product design and communication design prize, for the bike's innovative design.
"I always try to take a novel, previously unexplored approach in my designs. This mostly results in unconventional solutions, which I can then turn into innovations. In my opinion, design is a mixture of logic, aesthetics and art," he said of his work after being given the award.
As for its self-charging feature, the bike's integrated lithium-ion battery can be completely recharged just by pedaling or braking, the developers claim. Using its Integrated Kinetic Energy Recovery System, the VELLO Bike+ converts mechanical energy into electricity to power a 250-watt motor.
"You can ride up to 15 miles per hour for unlimited mileage in 'self-charging mode,' or in 'turbo mode' up to 18-30 miles on a full charge without any effort," the company says. "As soon as you stop pedaling, the motor will stop pushing. The generated power depends on several factors including the bike speed, the pedaling speed, the road slope and the selected power mode."
The bike comes with its own smartphone app with features such as a custom dashboard (to see your speed, miles, battery, etc) and an option to lock the bike remotely.
"Riding performance was also essential to us in the development of the VELLO BIKE+, it feels and rides better than most of the existing folding bikes on the market," Vodev said.
The VELLO Bike+ has already blown past its €80,000 ($87,863)
Kickstarter goal with 18 days to go. Prices start at €1,599 ($1,756) on Kickstarter and will ship anywhere around the world.
Watch the bike in motion here: