Is it strange for an automaker to invest in developing an e-bike? Not necessarily, considering that, in the future, more and more of the world’s people will be living in dense megacities, where a car is not the best way to get around, at least not for a whole journey.
An urban trip from home to work may include a car, a train, a bus, a bike, or any combination thereof. In the new world of multi-modal urban mobility, a car and bike that function smoothly together make an attractive combination.
Ford’s prototype MoDe e-bikes are designed for the modern urban driver. They fold up and fit into a rack that fits in the back of a vehicle, where they can charge their batteries and sync their integrated smart phones.
There are three models, each aimed at a different type of user. All are closely integrated with a smart phone, which mounts on the handlebars, and provides several handy features without requiring the rider to look at the screen. For example, a navigation app can tell you when to turn left or right by vibrating the appropriate handlebar.
All three models have a 200 W motor and a 9 Ah battery pack that uses 18650 cells, which are something of a standard for e-bikes (and also for a certain electric sedan). All have a top speed of 25 km/h. A rear-facing ultrasonic sensor alerts the rider when a vehicle approaches from behind.
The MoDe:Pro is aimed at professionals who need to get around in congested cities -couriers, delivery riders, or possibly even police and emergency personnel. One or more MoDe:Pros can be stowed in a Ford Transit van, using a handy rack that allows the bike to be quickly hoisted in and out. The bike can fold up in such a way that you can tow it along as you walk. Modular boxes fit on the tail rack.
The MoDe:Me is a compact model designed for general urban travel. The MoDe:Flex is the fun model, looking something like a mountain bike.