MIT engineers have been developing and are now testing an upgrade to the old bicycle that can be easily installed and that can transform your foot-powered 2-wheeler into a full-electric vehicle (or hybrid, if you use your own force).
The add-on is called “GreenWheel”, and it gives you 25 miles of riding without touching a pedal. If you also want to have some fun, and want to contribute by using the pedals, you’re likely to get 50 miles on one charge.
“Just take the wheel off, put a GreenWheel equipped wheel on in its place, plug it in and it should work just fine,” said Ryan Chin, one of the GreenWheel designers. “The whole thing has been designed so all the parts except the throttle are enclosed in the wheel.”
The thing is also durable: its manufacturers give it a lifespan of 40,000 miles. That would be eight years of usage with 100 miles per week. The price will be a little bit prohibitive in the beginning, but it seems it won’t be that harsh, only a few hundred dollars. Compared to current solutions, it’s much more simple to install, because both the motor and the battery are encapsulated in one piece.
I read this news while eating a pizza, and I wondered: wouldn’t the pizza deliverers get out more cheap if they used this kind of transportation? I used a bicycle as the only way of transport for a few years in a crowded town with no incidents. In many cases, having the possibility of reaching a speed higher to that of the cars decreases the chance of bicycle accidents.