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Faraday creates lower-priced eBike: Porteur S

By changing a few components, Faraday has created an eBike that costs $2,800, which is relatively cheap by eBike standards.

The Faraday Porteur S will be available in August 2015 for $2,800. IDEO-Nicolas Zurcher

Back in 2012, Faraday Bicycles' Porteur electric bike won a design competition for best urban utility bike. The company eventually brought that model to market via a Kickstarter campaign and today it sells for $3,500.

Now the Palo Alto, Calif., company is launching a $700 less expensive version of the eBike, the Porteur S, by making some small but important modifications.

The new model has an identical frame, motor and 240-watt battery, but exchanges an eight-speed for a five-speed internally gear hub, swaps a chain drive for the carbon-fiber belt drive, trades down to cork grips (from leather) and uses alloy fenders rather than bamboo.

Those changes bring the cost of the Porteur S, due out in August, down to $2,800, which is relatively cheap by eBike standards. Bosch's eBike System, for example, starts at around $4,000.

The new 39-pound model comes in three different sizes -- S (51cm), M (55cm), L (59cm) -- and two different colors (white or gray).

You get the same 250-watt "silent" motor that gets you up to 20 mph, a 4W LED headlamp and taillight, E Ink fuel gauge, and standard-size 26 inch (35mm) tires for easy tube replacement. You can ride the bike with no assistance from the motor, a light boost, or heavy boost (for those who don't want to do any pedaling).

It will be interesting to see how the eBike market shakes out as more companies launch new products. Hopefully, we'll see even more affordable pricing in the coming years. $2,800 is still a lot for the average person to spend on a bike, electric or not.

The flagship Porteur ($3,500) has a carbon-fiber belt drive, bamboo fenders and leather grips. David Carnoy/CNET