Smart packaging keeps the Air-33 folding eBike small and light
When it comes to folding bikes, smaller and lighter is better. Although adding electric power to the package makes it easier to sweep through town sweat-free, batteries are generally heavy and bulky. ElectroBike thinks it has managed to perfectly mix electric power and portability with the Air-33, which packages a usable range in a reasonably priced, lightweight package.
At the core of the Air-33 is a 36V, 8Ah lithium-ion battery offering 25 mi (40 km) of range in the base model, and a 10 Ah Panasonic unit good for 35 mi (52 km) in the Air-33 Plus. The slim battery is integrated into the bike's frame, where it locks into place with a key. When it's dead, owners are able to take it out and slot another one in, or charge it up in just two hours using a fast charger.
In spite of the battery squeezed into the top tube, the bike is completely weatherproof.
As is the case with most eBikes, there are a few different riding modes on offer. Along with unassisted pedaling, there's a hybrid setting that gives riders a bit of gentle electric assistance when they pedal. The third is a fully electric mode, allowing riders to use the Air-33 like a compact electric motorbike up to 16 mph (26 km/h) on the entry level bike, and 20 mph (32 km/h) in the top spec.
Riders are able to keep track of their speed and battery charge using a compact unit on the left of the handlebars that also allows riders are able to switch through six different levels of pedal assistance, and there's a small throttle for pedal-free electric riding alongside the seven-speed shifter on the right-hand grip.
When it comes time to pack the bike up, it folds in the middle of the frame. ElectroBike says it's just a two-step process - unhooking the middle of the frame, and then folding the handlebar stem. It looks dead simple in the video, and roughly halves the length and height of the bike, making it easy to cart up stairs and on public transport.
Along with its compact size, the Air-33 should be relatively easy to carry thanks to its light weight. It tips the scales at just 15 kg (33 lb), which is less than the Peugeot eF01 but (ever so slightly) more than the Xiaomi Mi Qicycle.
At the moment, the Air-33 is on Kickstarter, where it's raised more than US$60,480 of its $75,000 goal with 16 days remaining. Pledges start at $799 for a base model Air-33, and jumping to $999 is enough to put your name on a longer-range Air-33 Plus. All things being equal, the two models will retail for $2,299 and $2,499 respectively, with shipping expected to start in January/February 2017. Of course, the usual cautions apply with any crowdfunding campaign and you should adjust your delivery expectations, as delays in these types of product releases are rampant.
On top of the base pledges, there are a few options on the list. Things like rear fenders, lights and a suspension saddle are all on offer, but keeping things simple is more in tune with this bike's lightweight ethos.
Check out the ElectroBike Air-33 in the Kickstarter pitch video below.