Monday, October 4, 2010

Will Lexus and Volkswagen peddle electric bicycles?

May 12, 2010
12:31 PM
Automakers, under intense pressure to create vehicles that save fuel and pollute less, may have finally found the ultimate: the electric bicycle. Both Toyota's Lexus of Japan and Volkswagen of Germany have been showing off their own versions of two-wheel transportation.Perhaps because of their association with major automakers, these are no ordinary bikes.
By Lexus
The Volkswagen BIK.E -- we don't know why it was given such a strange name -- contains batteries and an electric motor. VW says the intent was to create a vehicle that can go where cars cannot go. The VW bike, shown in the picture above, also has a startling feature. A 40-pound wonder, it folds up into a circle that fits into the well of the trunk where the spare tire is normally kept. If you get a flat tire, you can simply set off for help on the bike.The Lexus hybrid bicycle, which made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year and in England last month, also makes the pedaling a breeze:
The rider is assisted by a 240-watt motor and lithium-ion battery to help out with the pedaling -- and has a high-tech look. It comes across as the luxury car of bikes -- carbon-fiber construction, a fancy belt drive system instead of a chain and an eight-speed transmission.
So far, neither automaker has announced plans to sell their bikes. But it sounds like one or both could make it to the sales floor somehow.