IKEA is without a doubt one of the greenest large corporations on the planet. It has some flaws, but it is miles (or kilometers) ahead of just about every other large corporation that isn't specifically selling green products. It plans to get 100% of the energy it uses in its stores and buildings from clean energy by 2020 (and we're not talking about purchasing credits, but actual production). It recently announced a wind farm near Chicago that is projected to produce enough electricity that it could theoretically power 165% of its US operations, or 18% of its global operations. It also banned plastic bags back in 2008, long before that became a trend, and it will grow more wood than it uses by 2020.
IKEA has also been a leader when it comes to selling clean technology. It now offers solar panels in the UK and it started phasing out incandescent light bulbs way back in 2010, replacing them with CFLs and LEDs. Now it's adding an electric bike to its catalog.
Admittedly, the FOLKVÄNLIG electric bicycle IKEA is offering is only going to be available in two Austrian stores to start, but let's hope it doesn't take long for IKEA to bring it to more countries. With fast growth in electric bicycle sales around the world, I'd assume that's the plan.
The cost of the FOLKVÄNLIG in the Vienna stores will be €749 (~$1,026). If you're an IKEA Family member, then you get €100 off. "Male" and "female" versions of the bike will be available. With a lightweight aluminum frame, the bike will come in at just about 27 kg (60 lbs). With light pedaling, the bike will have a range of 60 to 73 kilometers (37 to 45 miles). Sounds like a good electric bike, and I think it looks attractive as well.
I'll be honest: because of its world-leading clean energy aims (and installations), its installation of electric vehicle charging stations at some locations (and presumably many more in the future), its cleantech offerings, and its plan to grow as much wood as it uses by 2020, I'm a big fan of IKEA. However, it does still sell a lot of non-green products, unfortunately, and it does have one other very notable Achilles heel. As Lloyd noted back in 2009, IKEA's stores are "big box stores" located out in auto-dependent suburbs. In other words, it is quite difficult to get to an IKEA without driving a car quite a distance. But perhaps if you buy an electric bike at IKEA you will be inspired to also ride it out there next time?
Want to see this electric bike at your "local" IKEA store? Be sure to let IKEA know.