When a company with the steep history in Automotive such as Ford presents to an awaiting crowd of media its latest vehicle – and it’s a bike – you’ve got to stop and take notice. That’s what happened this morning at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
We all need to get from A to B. The problem: Traffic & congestion in the world’s “Mega Cities” as Ford calls them.
Some ridiculous number of hours (111 hours per year) are wasted and added to our journeys each year because of traffic. So what if you looked at the journey not as a single A to B, but as a point of origin and a destination, which used smart technology to help you find the best way from A to B.
Ford’s Smart Mobility program is essentially an App, but it’s so much more. Using the App on your smartphone you can set your destination and then choose from a range of travel options.
Not unlike choosing your journey on a public transport planning website, your journey options may involve several modes of transport.
That’s where the prototype e-bike comes in.
Ford asked their employees globally to come up with designs for the e-bike, and after 100 submissions created two very different looking bikes to be prototypes in this Smart Mobility concept.
The bikes are powered by a 200W motor with a 9Ah battery and can travel up to 25km/h with a whole bunch of car-like features such as hydraulic disc brakes, LED lights, brake and turn indicators and more.
Paired with your App, your journey suggestion may have you drive to a closer part of town to your destination, take your e-bike, get some public transport then ride the final part of the journey.
When it’s all said and done that might get you to the destination well before you would have if you were just stuck in traffic.
With the Smartphone in place on the handlebars of your e-bike, you’ll receive hands-free navigation and alerts via vibrations in the hand grips.
It’s all about creating a whole of journey solution. It’s not about replacing the car – because for most people the car will take up a large part of the journey – but if you can avoid traffic and congestion which will ultimately save you time, money and be better for the environment – the idea has legs.
Trevor Long travelled to Barcelona to attend Mobile World Congress as a guest of Ford Australia