A few years ago, an e-bike would have set you back a few grand, but a new cohort of electric bikes, such as the MATE, is pushing the cost down to well below $1000.
We've been covering a lot of electric bikes and other e-mobility solutions lately, and with good reason, as e-bikes are one of the low-hanging fruit of clean transport, and the technology just keeps getting better and better. Until electric car prices come down considerably, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure (and fast-charging technology) begins to make it easy rather than a hassle to be 'refueled,' electric cars will remain out of reach for many people. But with electric transport options being scaled down to fit onto two wheels, and able to be purchased outright for cash, rather than financed, then getting around with a little bit of muscle power and a little bit of an electric boost starts to be a very practical solution.
For the purist, a conventional bicycle is the obvious choice for an affordable low-carbon transportation option, but for those who might never get on two wheels otherwise, or for those who need a better way to get up hills without breaking a sweat, an electric bicycle is a great alternative. And with new e-bike manufacturers racing to bring their bikes to market for less than $2000 (and some at less than half of that), it's good news for consumers, who can choose an e-bike for commuting or for last-mile transportation without breaking the bank.
One e-bike startup, based in what might be the most bike-friendly city in the world (Copenhagen, Denmark), is looking to bring its folding electric bike to the masses for well under $1000, and bills its forthcoming bike as "the coolest and most affordable ebike on the planet." MATE is planning to launch its e-bike "in a matter of days" through an Indiegogo campaign that will offer three versions, all powered by a 250W motor, starting at just $599 (plus shipping), with the main difference being a larger battery capacity on the higher-priced models (up to $799).
Although the full specs haven't been released yet, according to the company website and Facebook page, these folding e-bikes will be capable of hitting 20 mph (in the US, limited to 25 km/h in the EU), with a range of 30 to 50 miles (50 to 80 kilometers) on a single charge. The bikes feature front and rear suspension, a removable lithium-ion battery (and a convenient USB port on the handlebars for plugging in mobile devices for charging), disc brakes, a three-way folding system that collapses the bike down to a fraction of its size, a Shimano 7-speed transmission, and an LCD dashboard.
Here's a quick look:
"To me an electric bike should be affordable while also versatile. But above all, an eBike should be stunning, durable and offer an exciting riding experience for all ages and riders. MATE is my dream to change how we currently perceive eBikes. I want to make them accessible to all, no matter the budget or where you live in the world. My promise to you is that with a MATE – you will go further!" – Christian Adel Michael, Co-founder of MATE bike
If you're interested in exploring the MATE folding e-bike as an option once it launches on Indiegogo (said to be ready for delivery in September 2016), you can get signed up for email updates at the company website or see more info via the Facebook page.
UPDATE: The MATE Indiegogo campaign is now live.