The Story of the Copenhagen Wheel
By EV World Video
When Superpedestrian released the video on their Copenhagen Wheel, it went 'viral' with more than 3.6 million views to date, clearly demonstrating a keen interest in their hybrid electric motor for bicycles. EV World talks with CEO Assaf Biderman. Photo by Bijan Sabet.
If the success of the Copenhagen Wheel is measured by the amount of publicity its received over the last dozen months or so, it is destined to be a runaway success for startup Superpedestrian, based in Cambridge, Mass.
If you've not heard it - and you'd have to be from another planet - it's an All-In-One [AIO] electric drive system mounted into a standard bicycle wheel. The idea is you undo the nuts that hold on your current rear wheel, slip it off, and slide the Copenhagen Wheel in its place, as demonstrate in this viral video with more than 3.6 million views. Tighten up the nuts, turn on your iPhone and set the programming of the free app available on the 'Net from the company, and start riding. There's no battery to mount, no handlebar throttle to install. Just pedal away; the Copenhagen Wheel senses your torque needs and supplies just what you need from 3X to 10X your normal pedaling torque. The motor is energized by batteries integrated into the bright red hub, as are the wireless control electronics. Like their Italian competitors, ZeHus Plus and presumably FlyKly, clever algorithms, keep the battery charged without having to plug the bike into the grid.
It sounds like a super idea, which is why Copenhagen, Denmark's mayor threw his city's support behind its development, hence the name. The Danes are as dedicated to cycling as a practical means of mobility as are the Dutch and giving riders a bit of boost as they cycle to and from work, shopping, and school, can only help the population continue to leave the family auto in the garage or by the curb.
What Superpedestrian wants to do is help inspire a similar ethic in the United States by making it easier for people to cycle for regular transportation and not just periodic recreation, at least within the context of urban environments. At a 'pre-industrialization' price of $799, the company has attracted a lot of interest and orders, which Biderman hopes to begin delivering on later this year. Those people will be, in effect, the company's early adapter 'beta' testers, not unlike what BMW did with its Mini-E and Active-E electric car programs that eventually lead up to the introduction of the i3.
How the Copenhagen Wheel will compare with its AIO competitors and with its e-bike analogs we will have to wait for the testers to weigh in. The concept is great, the execution awaits review.
The interview conducted by EV World's Bill Moore is nearly 40-minutes in length, divided into two segments below: part one just over 15 minutes and part two just under 25 minutes. More information about the Copenhagen Wheel can be found on Superpedestrian's web site.
Video Part 1
Video Part 2
Originally published: 16 Mar 2014
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