Whether you’re looking for a cost effective way to commute, avoid traffic, or just enjoy a cool breeze while you bomb around town, cycling is one of the best options available. It’s not without its setbacks however. A five to ten mile bike ride can cost you between 30 and 60 minutes, and when you have a day of work ahead, it’s not necessarily the best (or the most odor-friendly) use of your energy. And that’s why people invited the glorious hybrid, eBikes.
Specifically, Leaos Solar, winner of a 2015 Red Dot Product Design Award, and the first self-sufficient eBike with solar panels built into its frame.
While electric bikes and aftermarket motors have made it easier for people to get around, batteries are bulky and are a pain to charge. When you’re worried about getting from A to B and back, you don’t want to be constantly plugging in your bike. With its integrated solar panels, the Leaos Solar charges both while resting and while in motion and with that self-generated power, can drive a rider (read:passenger) around for over 12 miles – no peddling required.
The bike can of course be juiced up through direct charging as well.
At the core of the Leaos is an MPF Drive motor which comes in 250 and 500 watt versions. The MPF motor uses three independent sensors to record the crank torque, crank speed, and bicycle speed so that the engine is always generating the right speeds regardless of terrain.
The bike also uses a maintenance-free Harmony transmission which supports both automatic and manual transmission. Riders simply choose the desired speed, and the system maintains that speed independent of the motor, power from cyclist, and topography of the route. After the bike has stopped, the Harmony chooses the proper settings to ensure that acceleration is smooth, seamless, and silent.
The standard Leaos models are engineered to go at 25-km/h which doesn’t require a license or insurance. There’s also a moped version which goes up to 45-km/h – depending on where you live, there might be restrictions on riding the speed-demon.
Despite high performance design, Leaos bikes are relatively simple to maintain. The chain needs to be oiled every 2-3 months and they use special balloon tires to eliminate the need for a suspension system.
Available add-ons include options such as anti-theft GPS tracking, a rear view mirror, hybrid manual/automatic gear hubs, and a seat post dampening system.
The Leaos Solar eBike isn’t brand new – they’ve actually done a few laps around the track. Their Indigogo campaign from 2014 only raised $376 from six backers, a slight dent in their $190,000 goal. But after winning the design award and building some buzz, things are starting to pick up speed.
Spoiler though: the eBike is currently available for custom configuration and order/delivery on the Leaos website for approximately $8,600, but they are currently only shipping to EU locations. Hopefully, they float and can find their way to North America some time soon.
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