June 25, 2015 report
Ford unveils MoDe:Flex—an eBike that fits in a car trunk
Ford has announced via Twitter (and YouTube) the unveiling of a new electronic bike (eBike) it calls the MoDe:Flex—and its big draw, in addition to serving as a motor assisted pedal vehicle, is that it can be broken down and folded and put neatly into a Ford car trunk.
Where once there were simply bicycles and motorcycles, there now exists all manner of in-between two wheeled vehicles, e.g. mopeds, motor scooters, etc. More recently eBikes have appeared on the scene. They are regular bicycles with pedals but they also have an electric motor to help drivers move a little faster and to give some extra help when climbing hills. While they can be viewed as recreation bikes, more and more often they are being presented as commuter vehicles, and that is certainly the case with the MoDe:Flex—Ford is presenting it as a trip extender, or "multimodal" vehicle where a person would drive for a certain portion of their commute in their car (a Ford naturally), then park it somewhere and take out their eBike and use it for the remainder of the trip.
The eBike also comes with a smartwatch app that can track heart-rate, provide directions, offer weather and parking info, and perhaps most importantly, help decide when to turn on the electric motor to help with pedaling. It also does things like alert the driver (by vibrating the handle-bars) of upcoming potholes.
Notably, Ford points out that the bike will fit in Ford car trunks, as in, not in trunks of cars made by other car makers. Presumably, the company has plans for allowing for charging the bike while the car is in the trunk, though that would seem to preclude the use of the trunk for other purposes, such as for holding groceries. The company has not yet given specs on the bike, but others have noted that it appears similar to another concept eBike the company built, the MoDe:Pro—that one has a 200 watt motor and a top speed of 16 miles per hour. Ford has also not said whether it intends to actually market the MoDe:Flex, or whether it is just another of its test cases to see if there might be customer demand for such a vehicle.
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