Earlier this year, Ford announced its ongoing commitment to vehicle electrification.. The automaker will be sticking to expansions in four-wheel offerings, but, surprisingly they’re also also turning their attention to two-wheelers: E-bikes. While this change represents a radical departure from the company’s core offering, it’s a logical move nonetheless. Vehicle electrification might be the sort of technology that forces a paradigm shift in personal transportation. Although electric vehicles have been around for as long as those powered by internal combustion engines, advanced batteries, sophisticated software controllers and modern and compact electric motors have created new opportunities to reinvent traditional vehicle platforms — the lowly bicycle included.
Furthermore, despite the fact that most of the media buzz surrounds the new crop of electric cars hitting the market, projections suggest that E-bikes will sell in far higher numbers than will electric cars over the next decade. As such, Ford’s exploration into this space could prove to be a smart development for them.
Ford’s offering has much to excite both bicycle and EV aficionados alike. The frame is built from carbon fiber and aluminum, while magnetostrictive sensors — a technology more commonly found in Formula One motor racing — regulate precisely how the electric motor in the front wheel-hub, engages and assists the rider. A lithium-ion battery stores the electric power, while the rider provides pedal power via a carbon belt-drive system to a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub-gear — dispensing with the traditional bicycle chain. Ford gets into more detail here about their technology, but suffice to say, this is cutting edge stuff — providing the rider with a highly commute-friendly 52 mile range.
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