This summer, BMW will introduce the i Pedelec in keeping with that increasingly annoying trend for putting a random ‘i’ in front of everything, that Apple seem to have inadvertently sanctioned. The i Pedelec is a 3-speed electric bike and has come about in part due to BMW being sole provider of vehicles for this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
BMW plan to test around 200 i Pedelecs by giving them to athletes and organisers over the summer. The dream is, it would seem, that everyone buys BMW’s version of the electric city car, the i3, which is likely to come complete with the i Pedelec included and fitting snugly into the electric car’s boot.
The i Pedelec (I’m fed up with that random ‘i’ already) will house a 200w electric motor for those hills, which will be fed by a 350wh battery. BMW say the bike is constructed from carbon fibre and aluminium and will weigh in at around 20kg, which seems to have got other reviewers pretty excited.
But hang on a minute; I ride (and have built) my own 2-wheel dream mountain bike, which weighs in at a fairly svelte 29 pounds. I understand pounds, I don’t understand kilograms, so after a bit of converting, I worked out that the i Pedelec will weigh in at 44 pounds. That isn’t quite as light as I think BMW would have you believe. It may be light for a bike with an electric motor, but I suspect it’s not going to be something that wouldn’t prove to be an inconvenience once the novelty has worn off and it’s got a healthy smattering of road grime all over it.
I don’t want to sound too negative about the i Pedelec, because I do like the idea. If we ignore the crazy concept that bikes that you pedal (all the time) help you get fit and possibly live longer, then the i Pedelec might well prove to be the solution to the ever growing problem of vehicle space in our city centres. After all, the city car has effectively been embraced into our culture now as we combine the ideas and values behind the city car with our own currently trending desires to be seen to be doing ‘the right thing’ for the environment.
BMW say the i Pedelec will have a range of up to 33 miles on one full charge and can be rolled on it’s wheels when folded, rather like a suitcase. Charging time will be around 1.5 hours. Not bad at all. The bike also has a generator that stores up kinetic energy when going downhill.
‘No licence or helmet is required..’ the man behind the i project at BMW, Benoit Jacob, announced. Though a new spine might be after travelling over London’s roads on a bike with such small wheels.
The BMW i3 is likely to cost around £36,000 with the i8 rumoured to be around the £120,000 mark. So is this just another publicity gimmick by yet another manufacturer attempting to show how green they are? Probably, but you can’t help but admire the advancement of electric technology.
i Pedelec image from stuff.tv