German car manufacturers BMW are poised to enter the exploding European electric bike market with their own model – the Cruise e-bike.
The company have released details of the 20kg (44lb) bike, which will have pedal assist capable of 25kmh and a maximum range of 85km. The bike's lithium ion battery is mounted on the down tube, and the 250W Bosch motor under the bottom bracket, meaning it should have a very low centre of gravity.
The bike has disc brakes and four modes of assistance, ranging from eco to turbo, reports the website technologicvehicles.com. A detachable computer will show speed, battery life and other parameters.
The bike also contains torque sensors, which note when the rider is delivering extra effort on hills and can contribute more power to maintain speed.
However, BMW are dipping a toe in the water rather than jumping head first into the market. They will only release 1,000 bikes for sale in Germany, where the popularity of electric bikes is increasing rapidly. According to a study co-authored by the Association of the European Bicycle Industry, sales of e-bikes in Germany rose 55 percent between 2011 and 2012.
The Cruise e-bike is not BMW’s first foray into the field, either. At the 2012 London Olympics, the car makers circulated 200 lightweight i Pedelec Concept folding bikes to athletes and organisers.
BMW haven’t yet given a release date or price for the Cruise e-bike.