If there’s an interesting aspect to the rise and rise of electric mobility devices, it’s the number of companies that were once associated with vastly different fields which are now investigating the arena of electric bicycles. At SinoCES in China last month we saw a white goods manufacturer proudly showing a new range of electric scooters alongside its new range of washing machines. At IFA today we spied yet another big name on two electric bicycles – 107 year-old German electronics company Telefunken.
The bikes were being wheeled through the show floor when we came across them, and it seems that we were looking at the only two prototypes in existence which had been brought to the show to test consumer opinion on the day of the highest crowds – Sunday. Founded in 1903, Telefunken has produced everything from television and radio apparatus to missile guidance systems and its new electric assist two-wheelers really looked the part. There was no information available whatsoever, and there were no markings to suggest the power output of the front wheel motor, though we’d suggest somewhere between 250W and 500W.
Gizmag’s editor Noel McKeegan was allowed to pick the bike up and he thought it was a tad heavy for an electric bike, but the quality and design of the machines was clearly obvious, and there were a few aspects where the bikes looked likely to be able to save significant weight when they go into production, most notably the thick cast aluminum wheels.
In all other respects, the bike was high spec with disc brakes and suspension at both ends, a single-sided swinging arm, an enclosed chain, three gears for the human powered side of things, and high quality running gear.
When Noel asked about the potential for seeing the bike in showrooms soon, we were told that subsequent to a positive response from the public (cheers please), the bikes would be available early next year at a price of around EUR 900 (US$1150).