This week commuters got one step closer to being able to ride an affordable electric bike to work. An Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund the Storm eBike prototype launched on Sunday, and it's already raised over $2.5 million. For a limited time, customers can contribute and get the "Tesla of bicycles" for $500. After the crowdfunding campaign, the bike's retail price will be $1,300.
"When I learned about electric bikes, I immediately wanted one," company co-founder Storm Sonders tells Inc. "I realized that due to the price point, they were virtually unattainable to the average public. I was inspired and then set out to design an eBike that would be easy to use and affordable for everyone."
The Storm eBike weights under 45 lbs., can reach speeds of 20 mph and can "joy ride" for 30 miles with a single charge. This means you can ride this bike from San Francisco to Palo Alto without having to pedal once.
"The electric bike is a category of its own, a new segment that may inspire others use a bike to commute to work that may have not considered it before," Sonders says. "The idea is to offer an entirely new consumer a new transportation alternative."
Riders can switch from pure-electric to manual pedaling and the fact that the Storm eBike does not go faster than 20 mph excludes it from being in the motorcycle category, so commuters won't be required to get a motorcycle license to ride one.
Sonders has envisioned his product for mass market retail, so making an affordable electric bike was a necessity. Because most electric bikes on the market today are produced in small quantities using parts from third parties, their prices tend to be high. The Storm eBike is being manufactured in mass quantities using proprietary technology that drives the production cost down.
In the future, the company will offer customers a wide range of customization options and accessories to create a specialized Storm eBike for their particular needs. According to Sonders, forthcoming options vary from specific tire treads to smart phone integration applications.
Orders for the Storm eBike will be shipped out as early as May.