Panasonic making 700-pound hybrid electric bike, to go on market on Aug.20July 14th, 2008 - 2:14 pm ICT by ANI
London, July 14 (ANI): Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is making a 700-pound hybrid electric bicycle which will store power from freewheeling downhill in order to recharge a battery to help push the bike up again.
The bicycle is due to go on the Japanese market next month and if, as expected, it is successful the company has said it will sell it in the United Kingdom, reports The Scotsman.
Called the Panasonic Vivi RX-10S, the bicycle features a dynamo on the front wheel that transfers the energy generated by travelling downhill to a rechargeable battery near the rear wheel.
It also sensors which can work out when the cyclist is going uphill, or even just moving off from a standing start, so that the electric motor can kick in and help them move with a minimum of hard pedalling.
The bike’’s motor features four different modes, from “high” for those feeling unfit and in need of a lot of extra push, to “off” for those wanting to feel the burn in their legs as they race home.
The motor will not help the cyclist to break the speed limit, however, as once the bike goes faster than 15mph, the motor will cut out and the biker must rely on momentum and muscle.
The bike’’s battery can be topped up from the mains it takes about five and a half hours to fully charge it up.
The whole mechanism adds 2.5kg to the weight of the bicycle, and tests done by Panasonic on tracks which included a mixture of upward and downward hills have shown than the battery can power the bike for up to 113 miles without the cyclist having to stand up on the pedals to get the bike uphill.
Although Panasonic is more famous in the UK for upmarket TVs, DVD players and stereos, in Japan the company is an established bicycle maker.
The new hybrid bike will go on the market on August 20 in Japan.
A Panasonic UK spokeswoman said: “It will be a matter of seeing how it sells in Japan. If it sells well, then we will consider selling it here.”
Environmental campaigners have welcomed the new technology. (ANI)
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