Voltitude fold-up pedal-assist electric bike rolls into production
By Darren Quick
December 18, 2012
The Voltitude fold-up pedal-assist electric bicycle (or pedelec) from Swiss company Volitude SA that first got our attention in concept form early last year has now entered production. The body of the bike, which is now known as the Voltitude V1, has received a slight redesign in shape but the bike still features the unique EasyFold mechanism that allows it to be folded or unfolded in just a second and has seen it dubbed the “Swiss Army Bike.”
To keep things simple, the Voltitude V1 doesn’t have any user-defined assistance modes, with the creators assuming riders will be after the maximum motor assistance at all times. This makes the bike a switch on and ride affair with an integrated 7-speed rear-wheel transmission that allows gear changes at any time – even when stationary.
The bike is powered by a 250 W electric motor with an integrated torque sensor that provides motor assistance up to an electronically-limited 25 km/h (16 mph) in keeping with EU regulations. The 11.6 Ah, 36 V lithium-ion battery should be good for a range of around 40 km (25 miles), depending on the terrain and amount of effort the rider is willing to exert.
The included 110/240 V external charger, which the Swiss company says is similar to a laptop charger, will recharge the battery to 80 percent capacity in four hours, with a full recharge taking six hours – these figures are based on the use of a 240 V power supply. The company will also supply the correct power cord for your particular region.
With a 1,087 mm wheelbase and adjustable height seat and handlebar, the Voltitude V1 is designed to provide a ride similar to a traditional bicycle, while its 300 mm diameter high-grip scooter-type tires and positioning of the electric motor and battery give it a lower center of gravity. Stopping power is provided by Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, with integrated LED lights front and rear and reflectors increasing visibility. The bodywork can be finished in a choice of blue, white or Swiss flag red.
Unfolded, the bike measures 1,400 x 1,100 x 500 mm (55 x 43 x 20 in) and can carry a rider ranging in height from 148 to 192 cm (4.8 to 6.3 ft) with a weight of up to 100 kg (220 lb). With the standard handlebar and pedals the unit will fold down to a wheelable package measuring 700 x 950 x 500 mm (27.5 x 37.4 x 20 in), while opting for the folding handlebar and pedals halves the width to 250 mm (10 in). The bike’s weight is 25 kg (55 lb) without the battery pack and 27.5 kg (60.6 lb) with.
Voltitude has constructed the V1 from materials with an eye on recyclability. Rather than difficult-to-recycle composite materials, it has gone with aluminum for the frame, forks and wheels, with recyclable ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) for the bodywork. Critical components, including the bike’s Li-ion battery, can also be returned to Voltitude at the end of their life for recycling.
The company is also planning an exclusive V1 Carbonesium model that weighs in at 23 kg (50.7 lb) sans battery pack and 25.5 kg (56.2 lb) including the battery pack. The weight reductions come courtesy of a magnesium and aluminum main frame, carbon fiber front and rear levers, and magnesium forks. This model will also get front suspension with 40 mm of travel and a black paint job.
Voltitude is selling the V1 for CHF4,990 (approx. US$5,465), with shipping expected to kick off at the end of March, 2013. International orders can be made online via the source link below, with those in Switzerland also able to pick it up at selected dealers. The Voltitude V1 Carbonesium will retail for CHF7,990 (approx. US$8,760).
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