Car manufacturer Ford has become the latest to make the switch to two wheels, as it unveils its E-Bike concept at the Frankfurt motor show this week.
The futuristic looking bike uses a trapezoidal aluminium and carbon fibre frame with a motor capable of powering the rider up to speeds of 25mph concealed in the front hub. A lithium-ion battery is hidden inside the seat tube and is claimed to deliver an 85km range on a full charge. Frame weight is 2.5kg
“The E-Bike market is growing very, very rapidly, with some 30 million units sold globally last year,” said Axel Wilke, director, vehicle personalisation, Ford Customer Service Division Europe. “We see E-Bikes as an important element of urban electric mobility. More and more people are using E‑Bikes for short distance commuting and they are becoming comfortable with the concept of electric mobility.”
A Ford Design team led by Executive Design Director Martin Smith, in partnership with cyber-Wear, the German brand behind Ford’s Lifestyle Collection products, created the E-Bike Concept to appeal to both men and women.
It’s making the most of cutting-edge technology. Magnetostriction sensor technology has been borrowed from the world of Formula One and is used to convert magnetic energy into kinetic energy, and vice versa. In Formula One, these sensors help handle high engine revolutions in combination with intense thermal strains. They need no physical contact with other parts of the engine, are temperature-independent and are completely maintenance-free.
These sensors read the revolutions in the inner bearing and relay this information to the control unit within a hundredth of a second. The control unit then instantly activates or deactivates the electric motor, providing a seamless integration of the power of the legs with the power of the motor. A handlebar-mounted display provides trip information and allows the rider to select from three support modes – Economy, Comfort and Sport. All very clever stuff, we think you’ll agree.
“With its cutting edge design, cross-gender appeal, robust build quality and high performance drive package, we believe the Ford E-Bike Concept would be the perfect addition to the e‑mobility solutions we will offer,” added Wilke.
Although it’s not due to hit the market anytime soon, so you can put your credit cards away, it does show an interesting departure from the car giant, and a possible new diversification going forwards. Do the top brass at Ford see the bicycle as the future? We don’t know, but it’s interesting to see a company like Ford showing an interest in the humble bicycle.
What do you think?