The VELLO BIKE+ weighs 26 lb, folds up to the size of a suitcase, and includes regenerative technology that recharges the battery while riding.
You gotta love the rush to innovation in the electric bicycle sector, as it seems to be bringing us lighter e-bikes with more features each week, and this latest entry into the e-bike market comes from folding bike maker VELLO, accompanied by a bold promise. The company claims its new VELLO BIKE+ with self-charging technology "allows up to 100% recharging while riding the bike," which basically means it's an e-bike with a virtually unlimited range, and at a price of less than US$1800 (early bird price).
The VELLO BIKE+ has 20" wheels and a frame that's said to offer a ride similar to a full-sized bike, but which integrates a quick-folding system that allows it to be easily rolled or carried between rides, and to fit into the size of a standard suitcase for storage. The bike weighs in at about 26 lb (~12 kg), making it a real lightweight in the world of electric bikes, and it gets its motive power from a 250 W internal hub motor with an integral battery pack, which can be configured with either a chain and derailleur (less costly) or a carbon belt drive system. The bike is also available in either a conventional chromoly or a titanium frame, and with either caliper or disc brakes.
According to the company, the bike can be ridden "for unlimited mileage" at up to 15 mph in self-charging mode, or for a range of between 18-30 miles in "turbo mode," depending on the road grade and the desired speed. The internal 160 Wh battery pack can also be recharged via an external power source, with a charge time of approximately 3 hours.
"The energy with this new system is harvested as before by braking and pedaling, just that it now also converts mechanical energy into electrical energy thanks to the Integrated Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). In that way, additional energy is released to recharge the light integrated lithium-ion battery. Through this new technology, VELLO BIKE+ all-in-one changes the motor map automatically and continuously in order to keep the battery charged. The motor assistance and the cutoff speed both depend on the battery charge, the input from the pedals (speed-torque) and the road slope." - VELLO
The VELLO BIKE+ also includes front and rear LED lights, as well as a front rack, fenders, and a bell, and of course, it has a Bluetooth-connected app to go with it, through which riders can select power modes, lock the rear wheel, get ride statistics, and more.
Sounds like a gamechanger to have an electric bike with virtually unlimited range for local transport, including last mile transportation and for traveling (an e-bike that fits in a suitcase!), but as this is the first e-bike offering from VELLO, it remains to be seen if the bike lives up to its specs. Find out more about the BIKE+ at the Kickstarter page, where the company has already blown way past its initial crowdfunding goal of $87,255, and where backers can pre-order a BIKE+ for as little as US$1799 for April 2017 delivery.
Many readers have been complaining that this cannot possibly work the way it is explained, and the co-founder of the company has responded in a comment, which we repeat here for convenience, it explains a lot.
Thank you for all the comments! First, I would kindly ask you to read ALL the information from our kickstarter page at http://ks.vello.bike before commenting.
This bike is a pedelec: pedal-assisted means you get the boost only while pedalling. The motor starts after you reach 6km/h while pedalling and it turns off automatically at 25km/h.
- In our "Turbo mode", you get the continuous pedal-assist boost from the motor, e.g. uphills but also on flat surfaces. And then, of course, you have to plug it into the socket after riding for 30-50km.
- On the other hand, in our "100% self-charging mode", you ONLY get the boost from the motor when you ride uphills and NOT on flat surfaces. And it regenerates ONLY when you go downhill and when you brake (also on flat surfaces): then the motor turns into a generator and charges the battery. When you ride down hill or brake, the regeneration uses the mass not only of the bike, but also of the rider (hence, bike weight + driver weight -> the heavier the rider, the better) to generate energy through the KERS-backed electric system. How this translates for the rider: when going downhill, or brake, the motor turns into a generator, and you would feel it as it would slow you down (for downhill, or braking, this is beneficial for you). On the other hand, when you ride uphill, the stored energy is freed up and you get the boost when you ride.
Furthermore, on flat surfaces, the regeneration works ONLY when you brake and NOT when you are pedalling. In that case, you can ride normally and the regeneration does not interfere with your pedalling. At the end of the day, the total regeneration for your journey (back and forth) is 100% meaning you start e.g. with 60% of the battery capacity and then you will return with 60%. You do not charge the battery up from 0 to100%. The battery charge level simply goes up and down during the journey and allows you to arrive sweat-free to work, for example.
We invite you to test our bikes at our roadshows. We are working really hard to bring new innovations to the market at a reasonable price, so please respect our work. Thank you!
Valentin Vodev, Co-Founder of VELLO bike