Ford introduces MoDe:Flex e-bike and smartphone app
Ford's 3rd e-bike design targets the 'bike enthusiast'
Ford revealed its newest electric bike, a collapsible, customizable vehicle connected to mapping and safety features through an app, at its annual conference as the company begins to implement its smart mobility plan.
The MoDe:Flex e-bike is designed for the "bike enthusiast," says Brian Williams, the company's senior creative designer.
The bike's front and back ends can switch between city, road or mountain bike modes, he says. It's Ford's smallest e-bike design, and can fold, collapse and fit into the back of any car the company manufactures.
The e-bike's design is meant to help people commute easily when they may have to take more than one mode of transportation to get from one place to another.
"You may be walking at part of that journey, maybe taking a bike share, car, train, bus, all of the above to get through the environment that is becoming increasingly congested with cars and other forms of transportation," says Bill Coughlin, Global Technologies' president and CEO, in a video.
Coughlin says the e-bike can help people have a healthy commute, for example, if they can't drive all the way to work. A person might drive to a low-cost parking spot that's easily accessible from their home, then take the e-bike out of the back of their car and bike to their office.
'No sweat' mode
The e-bike connects to an accompanying app.
"The app harnesses real-time information regarding weather, congestion, parking costs, time, traffic and public transportation," the company said in a statement. "It includes eyes-free navigation, route planning and health and fitness information."
Riders can set up navigation on the app before starting to cycle. It also includes a safety feature that will alert the rider if a car is approaching them from behind. The e-bike's handlebars will vibrate to inform the rider of potholes or other hazards ahead of them.
When the app is being used on a smartwatch, riders can opt for a so-called "no sweat" mode. The bike will ensure the commuter doesn't start to sweat by increasing electric pedal assistance based on the person's heart rate.
The e-bike is part of Ford's smart mobility plan, which the company says aims "to change the way the world moves through innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data."
Ford's annual Further with Ford trends conference took place in Palo Alto, Calif.