The Karmic Koben eBike
Priced at $1,337 and featuring a NexGen battery that is expected to last much longer than conventional batteries because you can replace cells, this may convince commuters to get out of their cars.
Karmic Bikes founder Hong Quan shared, “I’ve been a long-time cyclist and riding for 20 years. I’ve owned a ton of bikes. I never even really thought about getting an electric bike, but I tried one on a whim last year and thought it was awesome—it was really fun. But the really great electric bikes are really expensive. So I started tinkering in the garage and started building my own, thinking, why can’t we build a much better electric bike for a much more affordable price point?”
For the Karmic designers, the key was choosing the right parts to include. “It’s just being smart about what parts you use and don’t use,” Quan says. “A lot of e-bikes start with a regular bike and then you’re just adding and adding until you get this big huge beast of a monster that’s more akin to a motorcycle than a bicycle. We started the opposite way, starting with the battery and then built everything we need around the battery, leaving out what we don’t need.”
Approximately 16 million bikes were sold in the US in 2013. 150,000 were eBikes , up 100% from 2012. As prices continue to come down, we expect eBikes will move into the mainstream.
25 million e-bikes were sold in China in 2013.
The eBike Value Curve:
We compared the Karmic Koben eBike to high end eBikes (see the Value Curves below).
We used the Analytical Hierarchy Process to rank order the Elements of Performance (EoP). The consistency ratio was 17.3%. The top two EoPs are Design and Battery.
For optimal performance, the Karmic team focused on designing a smaller, lighter battery, which keeps the overall weight of the bike down—creating a virtuous cycle that means the battery (and the rider) don’t have to work as hard on a 25-mile ride.
We generated Nested Value Curves comparing the Karmic Koben battery to the conventional lead acid batteries used on “High End” eBikes (Consistency Ratio, 11.9%):
An internal gear hub makes shifting smooth. The motor is placed low, next to the pedals, making the bike easier to handle than a typical motor in a wheel (see picture below):
Controls mounted on the handle bars are in need of some design help (see below) but we hope to see improvements in v2.0.
For more information go to Adele Peters, Staff Writer at CoExist, “Is This The E-Bike That Finally Gets Commuters Out Of Cars?” May 29, 2015, 6:15am