Is it a car? Is it a plane? No, it’s an electric bike! ELMOTO believes that it has created a new automotive category that is green, efficient and exciting. I took the opportunity to sample this eco-friendly German invention for myself in the Cape Town harbour area.
Looking at the bike standing in the bright sunlight, it reminded of a high spec, full suspension mountain bike, minus the pedals or chain drive. It has hydraulic disc brakes both at the front and rear, heavy duty mountain bike tyres and a rather long but comfortable seat. Aspects where it starts to digress from the traditional mountain bike include a big LCD display, rear wheel hub containing the electric motor and the bodywork under the seat containing the lithium-ion battery pack and control hardware.
The design is clean and modern, and although it provides very convenient transport it can also double as a fashion statement in certain communities. The ability to add aftermarket saddlebags provides extra storage space and enhances the looks.
So how is the bike to ride? All the marketing talk in the world cannot replace the actual sensation of twisting the “throttle” for the first time. The 1,7 kW and 50 N.m electric hub motor provides instant propulsion without making a sound – it is almost if an invisible hand is pushing you along. The acceleration is brisk and you will easily be able to leave pedal powered transport behind (even a few motorised vehicles battle to keep up!), especially in the first 50 m or so.
The bike's top speed is 45 km/h and the claimed range is around 65 km depending on ridng style and rider weight. In short, the bike is fun to ride without being dangerous. As a vehicle the ELMOTO does not fit any licensing criteria, so the owner currently does not need to register the bike or be in the possession of a motorcycle license to ride it on public roads. A full recharge of the ELMOTOS's lithium-ion battery pack takes approximately four to six hours and costs roughly R1 at current electricity prices.
ELMOTO is keen to communicate that the bike is designed and built in Germany to the highest standards – which increases the price but ensures a quality product. The firm has already sold 600 units in Europe and is targeting the Cape Town market as traffic conditions and lifestyle are perfectly suited to the ethos of the electric bike concept.
In summary, this might be the ideal solution to gridlocked city traffic while saving the environment. The asking price may sound expensive but the low running costs and almost zero maintenance should be enough for some to take the plunge, not forgetting the fun factor that is included.
Visit www.elmoto.co.za for more information.
Top speed: 45 km/h
Weight: 47 kg
Battery pack: 48 V and 31,5 Ah rating
Range: 65 km depending on riding style
Price: R28 000 introductory offer excluding shipping cost (estimate R2 000 – R4 000 depending on exchange rate)