This week is Bike to Work Week. It's also the launch of a prototype electric bicycle.
Revelo Bikes founder Henry Chong, leaning on the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto for support and using crowdfunding platform Indiegogo as a launching pad, today officially unveiled the LIFEbike, a lightweight, compact, chainless electric bike that "allows commuters to combine the environmental benefits of cycling with the convenience and comfort of a scooter."
"In Toronto, 82 percent of downtown dwellers commute less than 10 kilometres and only six per cent travel by bike," explains Chong, who is seeking $25,000 for the bike's first production run. "To encourage people to bike, we need a simple solution that offers the option to travel without breaking a sweat, and not worry about showering, changing, and parking."
The LIFEbike weighs just 33 lbs including its battery and can reach a maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour. According to Revelo, it costs less than five cents per day in electricity to operate and can ride for up to 30 kilometres on a single charge.
Chong, a graduate of OCAD University's industrial design program, developed the LIFEbike as his thesis project. He sought the assistance of MaRS Discovery District, first through its Entrepreneurship 101 program, and later as a client in its Cleantech practice, to help turn his idea into reality. Chong became a client of MaRS after winning its 2012 Up-Start! Competition, a business pitch contest with a $10,000 prize for the top business plan.
The LIFEbike is expected to be available in September.