Bicycles

Ford's experimental e-bikes connect with car and rider

Ford's experimental e-bikes co...
The MoDe:Pro has space at the rear for carrying goods (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro has space at the rear for carrying goods (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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Ford has unveiled two new experimental e-bikes, including this, the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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Ford has unveiled two new experimental e-bikes, including this, the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The front light of the MoDe:Me can be set to different modes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The front light of the MoDe:Me can be set to different modes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Me has small front wheels for commuter use (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Me has small front wheels for commuter use (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The rear wheel and mechanism of the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The rear wheel and mechanism of the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The chain the MoDe:Me is enclosed, helping to avoid commuters getting their clothes dirty (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The chain the MoDe:Me is enclosed, helping to avoid commuters getting their clothes dirty (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The seat of the MoDe:Me doubles as a carry handle (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The seat of the MoDe:Me doubles as a carry handle (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Me folds in half for easy transportation (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Me folds in half for easy transportation (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The handlebars of the MoDe:Me also fold down (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The handlebars of the MoDe:Me also fold down (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
A smartphone can be mounted on the handlebars of the MoDe:Me for use of the MoDe:Link app (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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A smartphone can be mounted on the handlebars of the MoDe:Me for use of the MoDe:Link app (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Me has multifunctional controls mounted on the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Me has multifunctional controls mounted on the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Me has indicator lights mounted on the end of the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Me has indicator lights mounted on the end of the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
One of the brake levers of the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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One of the brake levers of the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The brake-light of the MoDe:Me can be set to different modes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The brake-light of the MoDe:Me can be set to different modes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Link can be used for navigation (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Link can be used for navigation (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Me provides haptic alerts via the handlebar grips (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Me provides haptic alerts via the handlebar grips (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro is designed for commercial use (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Pro is designed for commercial use (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
Ford has unveiled two new experimental e-bikes, including the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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Ford has unveiled two new experimental e-bikes, including the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro has space at the rear for carrying goods (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Pro has space at the rear for carrying goods (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro has larger wheels than the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Pro has larger wheels than the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The front light of the MoDe:Pro can be programmed to different modes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The front light of the MoDe:Pro can be programmed to different modes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The chain of the MoDe:Pro has protective elements but is not fully covered like the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The chain of the MoDe:Pro has protective elements but is not fully covered like the MoDe:Me (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The rear chain mechanism of the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The rear chain mechanism of the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The folding mechanism of the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The folding mechanism of the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
Like the MoDe:Me, the MoDe:Pro has indicator lights at the end of the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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Like the MoDe:Me, the MoDe:Pro has indicator lights at the end of the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
Like the MoDe:Me, the MoDe:Pro provides haptic alerts via the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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Like the MoDe:Me, the MoDe:Pro provides haptic alerts via the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro has thick spokes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Pro has thick spokes (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
A smartphone can be mounted on the frame of the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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A smartphone can be mounted on the frame of the MoDe:Pro (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro is designed for commercial users such as couriers (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Pro is designed for commercial users such as couriers (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro also has multifunctional controls mounted on the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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The MoDe:Pro also has multifunctional controls mounted on the handlebars (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
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View gallery - 30 images

Ford used Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to unveil two new e-bike concepts that help define its vision for a connected transport future where cars form just one part of a multi-mode travel eco-system.

The MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro are the result of a competition run amongst the company's employees with the aim of finding e-bike designs that could make a connected journey more efficient, safer, healthier and less stressful.

Over 100 submissions to the Handle on Mobility competition were received, with the MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro bikes selected as the best concepts and subsequently developed as prototypes. The bikes both feature a 200 W motor with a 9 Ah battery. Electric pedal assist allows riders to reach speeds of up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph).

The MoDe:Me e-bike is designed with urban commuters in mind and can be folded up to take on public transport, whilst the MoDe:Pro is designed for commercial use, such as by couriers, and can be stowed in Ford's commercial vehicles. So far so run-of-the-mill, but these bikes have a few compelling tech features up their sleeve.

The MoDe:Pro is designed for commercial use (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Pro is designed for commercial use (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)

The pedal-assist can be adjusted based on heart-rate or to work harder when the rider nears their destination so that they arrive fresh. There are indicators mounted at each end of the handlebars, front and rear lights that can be set to different flashing modes and haptic alerts given via the grips. The underside of the MoDe:Me is also designed as a carry handle for easy transportation.

An accompanying iPhone 6 compatible app has been created for use with the bikes. MoDe:Link can be used to give directions and can provide bike-friendly routes. It's possible to integrate journey planning with other modes of transport, for routes to be updated on the fly when there are delays on the modes of transport riders have planned to take and for factors such as cost, time and weather to be taken into account.

The MoDe:Link app can also trigger turning signals automatically and provide right or left haptic alerts via the handlebars to notify riders when it is time to turn without them having to take their eyes off the road. Riders can be notified of hazards detected by the rear-facing ultrasonic sensor on the bikes and, according to Ford, the app will eventually be able to communicate with other nearby vehicles. When a rider's bike is stowed and charging in a Ford vehicle, any active journeys can automatically be continued on the vehicle's display through the app's compatibility with Ford's SYNC software.

The MoDe:Me provides haptic alerts via the handlebar grips (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)
The MoDe:Me provides haptic alerts via the handlebar grips (Photo: Stu Robarts/Gizmag.com)

The Handle on Mobility competition is one of a number of experiments that Ford is running as part of its Smart Mobility initiative.

Speaking to Gizmag at Mobile World Congress, Ford's vice president of research and advanced engineering Ken Washington explained that, rather than continuing to view cars as standalone products, the company is increasingly viewing them as part of a travel eco-system that uses multiple modes of transport and is informed by information made available online, such as from other road-users. This recognition reflects a broader push towards dual-mode transport that's become increasingly apparent, at least at a concept level, over the past few years.

"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," explains Washington in a press release. "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."

Ford is currently gathering feedback on how the bikes might be further developed. You can see more photos of the e-bikes in our gallery.

View gallery - 30 images
2 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I like the simplicity of the design. It looks very useful.
nubwaxer
here's what people really want to know up front: how much? variable peddle assist from none to partial to full electric. range? maybe weight and materials--maybe. warranty? if all manufacturers would summarize their product specs the same way it would benefit consumers. nah, not a chance.