The United States is Ready for an Electric Bike Explosion?
Ever since the Storm eBike hit Indiegogo on February 1st there has been a ton of news around the Storm and the electronic bikes in the United States. There have been several “news” stories written on the topic of the Storm eBike, just a day after the Indiegogo launch Yahoo! posted a story touting the Storm as the “Answer to Gridlock“.
Of course in the new journalism landscape they turned around the next day and published a story saying they may be wrong and the Storm eBike campaign might be a scam, based on feedback and comments from readers based on the crowdfunding price of $499 for the bike. Note on the campaign page, they clearly state the $499 price point is in initial offering (like the $99 early bird perk for the Pebble Smartwatch on Kickstarter a few years ago, when the watch hit retail shelves for a $150 price tag.), and there will be a $599 price point after the initial run. And the final price of the bike will be around $1300 (very much inline with other entry level electric bikes).
Now, is this Indiegogo campaign a scam? I don’t know. Have a backed the campaign? Not yet, but I’m considering doing so. As of writing this post, I’m not a backer and there has not been any definitive proof this is a something where you are flushing your $500 down the tubes. BUT, if this is a real offer that works as advertised the eBike culture in the United States is about to change. Basically, Electric Bikes Are the New Black.
From the 2013 NPR story 3 Charts (And A Few Words) On The Rise Of Electric Bikes you can see the popularity of the electronic bike has taken off in Europe over the past few years. And if this growth can hop across the atlantic to the U.S., the electric bike will be welcome in most urban and suburban settings for sure.
Click on each chart to zoom:
I don’t want to turn this post into a he said/she said about the Storm eBike… what I’m really excited about the how this “controversy” has brought this burgeoning industry some much needed spotlight. My obsession with the electronic bike started with the discovery of the Faraday Bike.
Faraday Bicycles™ is a new company dedicated to revolutionary bicycle innovation and design. We are engineers, designers, and industry veterans who passionately believe that better bikes make a better world. FaradayBikes.com
As you can see Faraday’s bike has a classic look, adding to it the front basket makes this bike super useful. Looking at the Faraday, you are probably wondering about the location of the battery… this is the amazing thing about this bike the batter is actually housed within the frame. This bike can go just about anywhere, in style, and give you as much or as little of a workout as the rider desires. Basically, the Faraday is made for those who want to get the most of out of a car free existence, but at a premium cost. The Faraday Porteur comes in 3 sized (small, medium, and large) and will set you back $3,500. That is a lot of money for a quality bike, but you can choose an easy financing option, email email@example.com, or call 415-834-5860 to learn more.
Designed, built and quality controlled right here in the USA, ProdecoTech e-bikes are now considered among the finest in their class. We regularly elicit better reviews than e-bikes costing two and sometimes three times as much as our product lines.ProdecoTech.com
The Faraday is not the only electric bike I’ve had my eye on. The yet to be released ProdecoTech Rebel X is a single speed electric fat bike with 4″ wide tires. This makes riding on snow, sand, and rough terrain a lot of fun. The top speed for the Rebel X is is 20 mph with a range of 20-25 miles, powdered by a 600 watt direct drive read hub motor.
The improvements don’t just stop with the battery capacity and features. The new lithium battery is a high capacity 36V 14.5ah which has the highest grade Samsung cells utilizing NCA chemistry. Incase you didn’t know, NCA chemistry is most notably found in Tesla vehicle batteries. Another notable feature of the new battery is a USB port for charging smartphones, tablets, LED lights, etc. while out and about. How charging your smartphone will effect the battery life is yet to be seen, but it is still an innovative and welcome addition.
The Rebel line of bikes comes in 3 models and are priced starting at $1,999 with the Rebel X, Rebel X S and Rebel X 9 models respectively.
Last on this list is the Big Cat Fat Cat 2, which is touted as:
The ultimate Electric Bicycle for the ultimate adventurer… that won’t break the bank! Are you an avid rider? Do you love to ride all year round, but hate when its snows? No Worries, The Big Cat® Fat Cat is Designed to take on almost any terrain you throw at it. Snow, Dirt, Light Mud, Sand, Hills etc…e-bykes.com
The Fat Cat 2 is an electric bike I came across while I was researching this blog post and I instantly fell in love with the look and aesthetic of the bike, saying nothing of the $1495 price tag on e-bykes.com (the MSRP is still reasonable at $1795).
Like the Storm eBike and the Rebel X, the Fat Cat 2 grabbed my attention because it is an all-terrain option. While it does not have the same classical/urban flair of the Faraday, the Big Cat bike is still a beauty. With specs similar to the Storm eBike, perhaps the price point of the controversial crowdfunding campaign is not that far off.
I know this post started with the controversy of the Storm eBike’s Indiegogo campaign (who at the time of posting has gathered $2,936,698 as of posting), what I want you to take a way from this posting, is this… electric bikes are huge in other countries and they are starting to build up steam in the United States. While I do not have and electric bike yet, I have been keeping my eye on the industry for a little over a year and as soon as my work commute is not a 35 mile 40+ minute drive I plan on added at least one of these beauties as a means of transportation. Until then, keep you eyes on the roads and let me know if you notice more of these bikes out and about.
What are your thoughts on electric bikes? Is the Storm eBike a scam (I’ll let that get argued out in the comments)? Will electric bikes ever grab hold in the U.S. or will it be a European thing with some penetration in hyper-urban locations (i.e. NYC, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago)?