Cyclists who aren't crazy about the modern stylings of some electric bikes will be heartened to see this classic-looking, electric cruiser. Fashioned with a bit more conservative but still urban-worthy aesthetic, the Vela electric bike is made with practicality and comfort in mind. First successfully launched in Brazil in 2014, the Vela team is now seeking crowdfunding to bring it over to North America.
Borrowing the Portuguese word for “candle” and “sail”, Vela is the strong fabric that pushes boats using the wind, and at the same time a lighter of fire, a natural power source. Vela is about movement and lightness.
Made with 4130 Chromoly steel frame shaped in a classic diamond form, the Vela has a leather-wrapped, waterproof control panel outfitted within reach of the rider, which has a five-volt USB port for charging mobile devices and a battery life indicator. There's also an outlet here that allows it to be plugged in directly. There's a 370Wh lithium ion battery that is hidden on the main tube (with a 20-mile range), and a single speed ‘8fun’ 350 W brushless electric motor, located on the rear wheel.
Since all the wires are hidden within the bike's frame, the Vela looks like any conventional urban bike, and comes equipped with front and rear LED headlights and Shimano brakes, and fatter tires for increased comfort.
The 42-pound (19-kilogram) Vela also comes equipped with sensors that detect when it is being stolen -- and it's outfitted with a GPS tracker that will transmit the bike's location using an app that can be installed on your phone.
The Vela is a vehicle made for those who want to have an electrified mode of transport without riding anything that is overtly futuristic looking, or screams "steal me." Coming in a number of different colours and options, the Vela may soon hit your local neighbourhood; check out their crowdfunding campaign or website for more details.