Electric bicycles are nothing new, but they can be loud clunky things that aren't very easy on the eyes. However, that could soon change.
A company called FlyKly is looking to remake the electric bike into something a bit more svelte. It's taking the idea of a motorized bicycle and transforming it into a simple "smart wheel."
To create its invention, FlyKly launched a Kickstarter campaign on Wednesday and in just one day it met its funding goal of $100,000.
FlyKly's smart wheel is designed to fit on just about any bicycle; it's lightweight (nine pounds), runs on a 36V Lithium battery, and its electric motor is so thin that it fits snugly around the spokes of the wheel.
Once fitted onto a bike, the smart wheel can help the user pedal up to 20 mph for 30 miles. If the user goes faster than 20 mph, like when racing down a hill, or pedals with the motor off -- the battery will charge automatically.
"The motor turns on when you start pedaling and begins accelerating to your desired speed. It stops when you stop," FlyKly writes on its Kickstarter page. "It saves you time by getting you to your destination faster and gets you there without losing your breath or breaking a sweat."
The FlyKly wheel can be controlled via Bluetooth with an iOS or Android smartphone app -- or a Pebble Watch. With the app, users can program in their desired speed and monitor their distance, travel time, and battery level.
While FlyKly's invention is novel, other companies have worked on smart bike parts in the past. MIT's SENSEable City Lab developed a smart wheel in 2009 that could store energy as users stepped on the brakes and then return that power as users climbed a hill. During the 2013 Frankfurt auto show, a company named Smart debuted its full electric bicycle. And, in May, Helios unveiled smart bike handlebars that come with built-in LED lights, turn signals, GPS, and a speedometer.
For it's part, FlyKly expects to begin shipping the smart wheel in April or May of next year.