Back in the year 1865 the Civil War raged in the United States as slavery was abolished via passage of the 13th Amendment and President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Also around this time Karl Drais’ wooden “Dandy horse” was given its first pedals, which launched the bicycle on the road to global success. To mark this moment in history, as well as the year it was founded, BASF, the largest chemical company in the world, has re-envisioned what the first pedal-powered cycle would be like in today’s terms as an electric bicycle, complete of course with plastics from its product range.
directly drives the front wheel (39″) which, in order to improve the transmission ratio, is much larger than the rear wheel (24″). The chain, sprockets and coaster brake are entirely omitted.
This fully running prototype, noted Designboom, gets by on a 250 watt electric drivetrain built into the rear wheel and has interesting features such as thin optical waveguides inlaid in the forks for the lights, softly sprung and at the same time maintenance-free tires and a detachable seat with an integrated battery that can be charged indoors. It makes use as well of 24 modern plastics from BASF, with only its brakes, axles and motor being made still of metal.
There’s no word on whether or not this concept might actually ever become a production model, but here in Portland, Oregon, where EarthTechling is headquartered, it would easily find a home in our bike-centric culture.