A Singapore company makes headway in the electric vehicle market with the launch of the YikeBike, the world’s lightest foldable e-bike.
Contributed By Reuel Eugene Tay
For public transport commuters who are well acquainted with the hassle of closing the distance between their doorstep and the MRT or bus, the YikeBike might just be the solution. Launched on July 22 by FSG Mobility Concepts, an electric mobility concept store by Singapore company EV Hub, it was named one of the top inventions of 2009 by Time magazine.
As “the world’s lightest foldable e-bike”, the New Zealand-designed YikeBike is designed to be more of a “last mile solution” more than a core form of transport, explains David Chou.
The YikeBike’s biggest advantage over other products in the Personal Transporter category such as the Segway is its portability. It weighs in at a reasonably manageable 10 kg (less than half the weight of a bicycle), and comes without the usual hassle of bicycle chains, pedals or levers. It also folds into a compact, office cubicle-friendly form in less than 15 seconds. Ergonomically, the YikeBike is a step up from the Segway in that users can sit instead of stand.
Powered by electricity, a fully charged YikeBike can travel up to a maximum of 10 km in a single, 55-minute charge. At first glance, the hip-level handlebars don’t look like they promise a firm grip or enough stability, but Chou explains that it is part of the bicycle’s safety design. In the event of a crash, the bicycle is propelled forward towards the ground, allowing users to cushion the fall with their legs, made possible by a limited top speed of 23 kmh—this cannot be done if the handlebars are positioned in front of the rider.
Market acceptance aside, vehicular classification is the main hurdle the YikeBike has to clear for use on public roads. Pending approval from the Land Transport Authority, it can nevertheless be used on pedestrian pathways, park connectors and other recreational areas away from fast-moving traffic.
The YikeBike is priced at S$4,988 while a slightly heavier (14 kg) model is priced at S$2,888.
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