Ford's New Full-Size Electric Bike Tells You Where to Avoid Potholes

By Jamie Condliffe on at

For many people, cycling all the way into the city is impractical; a combination of car and bike can be useful instead. At least, that’s what Ford thinks, because it’s the motivation behind this new full-size electric bike that can be folded up to fit inside the boot of a car.

The Mode: Flex smart bike is designed to break in two so that it can slide into the back of a vehicle with (relative) ease. While Ford hasn’t released any technical specifications, it contains a motor and batteries, and an earlier, smaller-wheeled concept bike from Ford managed to achieve 16 mph with a similar set-up.

Perhaps more interesting than the drive-train, though, are some of the intelligent features that the bike offers. Chief among them is an Apple Watch app that somehow (Ford doesn’t explain how) alerts rides to the presence of upcoming potholes via vibrations in the handlebars. Presumably this trick uses crowd-sourced data rather than scanning the road ahead, but either way it’s a neat idea. Elsewhere, a dedicated route planning app allows the rider to plan their trip while taking factors such as congestion, weather, parking costs and fitness into account, which may be more useful than the routing that, say, Google offers.

The bike seems to be a concept design, so likely won’t be available to buy in this exact form. But some of its features may well appear in consumer bicycles in the future. Hopefully the pothole warning system in particular. [Ford via Engadget]