At CES in January, Ford outed its "Smart Mobility Plan" to make transport easier using a combination of cars and electric bikes. Today at MWC, it just revealed the bike part of that with its "Handle on Mobility" experiment consisting of two employee-designed e-bike prototypes and an app. The foldable MoDe:Me for commuters was made in conjunction with specialist Dahon, while the bigger MoDe:Pro -- aimed at bike couriers and delivery services -- was built in-house. Both come with 200-watt motors and 9-amp-hour batteries that deliver pedal-aided speeds of up to 25 km/h (16MPH). Ford also revealed its iPhone 6-compatible MoDe:Link app that lets you use a combination of cars, trains and e-bikes to commute.
The app is only available on iOS for now. After you enter your destination, it uses "multimodal" navigation to plan your trip using vehicle, public transportation and bike routes. You can filter by toll or parking cost and the amount of time you want to bike and/or drive. From there, handlebar vibrations notify you to turn, and the app even activates the bike's turn signals automatically.
The MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro bikes can also notify riders of overtaking vehicles by vibrating both ends of the handlebar, thanks to a rear-facing ultrasonic sensor. At the same time, the MoDe:Link app flashes the bike's lights to alert drivers. As for the motors, the electric pedal-assist level can be auto-adjusted based on your heart rate, letting you take a break if needed. The whole thing is compatible with Ford's voice-connected, BlackBerry-powered Sync system, of course.
Ford has tested e-bikes before, and hasn't said when, or if, it'll turn the concepts into reality. However, it's currently running 25 experiments across the world, including the Handle on Mobility tests, as part of its Smart Mobility project. It also has Info Cycle tests in Palo Alto, California, as well as Europe to determine how bikes can aid urban transportation. The automaker said the aim is to "connect all of these transport options together ... to (help commuters) seamlessly move between cars, buses, trains and e-bikes and react to changing traffic situations." For more, check the video below.
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