Ford has developed a prototype electric bicycle that folds into the back of its Transit Connect compact van for possible use in congested cities by couriers, electricians and delivery services.
The MoDe:Pro e-bike would allow a fleet driver to park the Transit Connect rather than fighting through congested traffic, and use the e-bike to reach the final destination to save time and possible idling time. Also, a driver and rider team could work together with the driver dropping off one or more riders at a hub to make their deliveries and meet them at the next stop, according to Ford.
The set-up is among 25 global projects launched as part of Ford Smart Mobility, which will help the automaker study mobility through innovation, connectivity, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, and big data.
Ford prototype MoDe:Pro e-bike is equipped with a 200-watt motor with a 9-amp-hour battery that provides electric pedal assist for speeds of up to approximately 15.5 mph. The e-bike charges when docked in the vehicle.
The e-bike includes technology such as a rear-facing ultrasonicsensor that enables a rider alert system to warn the cyclist when a vehicle is passing by vibrating both handlebars. It also alerts motorists of the presence of the e-bike by illuminating handlebar lights.
The prototype MoDe:Pro e-bike works with a prototype app called MoDe:Link that's compatible with the iPhone 6.
Real-time information from the app enables the e-bikes to deliver navigation. Handle-bar grip vibrations let the rider know when to turn. Turn signals are triggered automatically for safety. The app can identify bike-friendly roads, hazards and alerts, and will be able to sense, and communicate with other vehicles
The app also provides multimodal navigation and smart routing that integrates journey planning with personal vehicle and public transportation networks, which can be filtered by cost, time, and amount of biking. Map includes weather, parking costs, and charging stations.
Ford has not announced plans to produce the electric bicycle.