Chinese bike-sharing company Mobike has partnered with Dutch design studio Springtime to create an electric version of its signature orange bicycle.
Mobike — whose "dockless" share bikes can be parked in almost any public space, rather than just traditional docking stations — has launched the electric bicycles in China, and plans to introduce them to international markets.
The new bicycles are designed to enable longer journeys and attract new users who might not be comfortable cycling. As well as pedal assistance, the bikes offer a full-electric mode that lets riders stop pedalling altogether and use the vehicle more like a moped.
They have a top speed of 20 kilometres per hour — as Mobike points out, just five kilometres below the average speed of a car driving through a city.
To aid sharing and urban commutes, the designers incorporated a secure phone holder below the handlebars so riders can easily navigate and a seat that can be height-adjusted with one hand.
All electric and mechanical systems are concealed from the rider, and the inner frame is protected with a softer grey lining. Springtime describes its design for the bike as "clean-looking" and "lightweight".
Electric power is triggered by pedalling three times, while full-electric drive comes on at the push of a button on the handlebars. The bike has a range of 70 kilometres using hybrid power, and 30 kilometres in electric-only mode.
Mobike is the world's largest bicycle hire company by number of vehicles, and one of the first to offer an electric option. Jump — which was acquired by Uber earlier this year — and Ford GoBike both have e-bikes on the streets of San Francisco.
"Electric vehicles offer both efficiency and environmental benefits, and the demand for e-bikes is growing both here in China and internationally," said Mobike founder and president Weiwei Hu.
"We believe that e-bikes will complement our original bikes and will further improve city life for both our users and cities themselves by reducing the reliance on cars," she continued.
The fact that Mobike's offering is dockless and optionally fully electric so far differentiates its from competitors.
The vehicles will operate alongside the company's existing fleet of pedal-powered bikes, of which Mobike says there are nine million in more than 200 cities around the world.
Springtime was founded in 1995 and has a long history of working in urban mobility and transport. Other recent projects include the Volta electric bike for Pure Cycles and the Edorado 7S electric speedboat for Edorado Marine.