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Ford unveils MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro folding e-bikes

Is Ford putting its future in folding e-bikes with these smart folding e-bike prototypes?

Some car manufacturers started out making bicycles before switching to motor vehicles, and while it’s a bit hasty to say Ford are set to become a bicycle manufacturer, the company has just has just unveiled a pair of folding electric bikes, the MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It’s not the first time Ford, or any other big car manufacturer has dabbled in bicycle design. In 2001 Ford released the Think Mobility electric bike. This pair of bikes looks to be quite a bit smarter than previous efforts though, and does look like a genuine attempt at solving the transport issues in big cities. It's all part of the company’s Smart Mobility Plan, a vision of moving people around and through cities in the future, and how electric bicycles can work with cars and public transport to decrease commute times.

“Supported by a prototype journey-planning app, Handle on Mobility explores the integration of e-bikes for commuters and commercial users with automotive and public transportation options," says the company press release.

The MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro are both prototypes at this state and feature a 200 watt motor and 9 amp battery to provide pedal-assisted speeds of 35kph. Both bikes were the result of a challenge set by Ford to its employees to submit a design, and these are the pick of the more than 100 designs submitted.

The MoDe:Me is the smaller of the two and was developed in conjunction with Dahon. It's designed to be compact enough to fit in the boot of the car, and be used to complete a journey to the office.

The larger MoDe:Pro is aimed at delivery services, couriers, electricians etc, with more luggage capability. It’s designed to be folded away inside a van.

Key to both folding e-bikes, as part of Ford's Handle on Mobility plan, is a smartphone app (currently only compatible with iPhone 6) that can provide multimodal navigation and smart routing, allowing you to plan your entire journey using the car, train and bike routes, with turn-by-turn navigation.

“After users input a destination, the MoDe:Link app lists possible journeys and then provides step-by-step or turn-by-turn navigation. This might include driving to a train station, taking an e-bike onto the train, then riding the bike from the train stop to the final destination. The app also updates the route as circumstances change.”

Both bikes have a rear-facing ultrasonic sensor that can alert the cyclist to an overtaking vehicle by vibrations at both ends of the handlebars. The electric pedal assist can also be adjusted based on heart rate in a “No Sweat” mode, handy if you’re commuting to an important meeting or presentation perhaps.

“There are so many ways to get around a city, but what is really needed is a way to connect all of these transport options together,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “Being able to seamlessly move between cars, buses, trains and e-bikes and react to changing traffic situations can make a big difference both for commuters and for those delivering goods, services and healthcare."

There are no immediate plans for availability, we guess it depends how their testing goes, which is currently taking place in London.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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donwilliams999 | 7 years ago

Another possible entry in your list of folding ebikes is the Wave Electric Bike at . This is a newer entry into the large field of e-bikes. Its specs look great (top end of 28 mph, long travel distance on a single charge, etc) for a low cost electric bike.

badkneestom | 9 years ago

My untrained eye is intrigued

PonteD | 9 years ago

All I can see these being used for is to ferry fat people from their cars at far end of the car park to the office/shopping centre doors so they don't have to walk 100 yards. Good effort though on Fords part at least they're trying.

matthewn5 | 9 years ago

No mudguards? That's not going to help get people on bikes.

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