Ford believes that folding e-bikes will become a key aspect of urban travel in the near future. Describing the firm as ‘very serious’ about bikes, Ford’s vice president for research and advanced engineering, Dr Ken Washington, said he felt there was a market for e-bikes which can be taken on public transport in particular.
At the Detroit North American International Auto Show this week, Washington, together with Techstars Mobility managing director Ted Serbinski, gave a presentation about Ford’s mobility solutions entitled “Finding New Ways To Move You”.
The firm’s main focus, at present, is on two areas: bikes and flexible use and ownership of vehicles. Asked by Clean Technica afterwards how serious Ford was about the former, Washington replied simply: “We are very serious about bicycles.”
We’ve previously reported on two of Ford’s folding e-bikes and how they form part of the company’s Smart Mobility Plan, a vision of moving people around and through cities in the future.
Washington believes that conventional bikes are not a solution for everyone, requiring a certain level of fitness and also a certain amount of exertion which some might not want just before arriving at work. He therefore believes that there will be growing demand for foldable e-bikes which can be combined with car, bus, or train travel.
Washington said that Ford is at the stage of looking for partners and business models to make its e-bikes and an associated app publicly available. Tom Thompson, a Ford engineer, did however tell Tech Insider that the firm was basically still in ‘experiment mode.’
“We are still putting the whole product together and experimenting with features, trying to figure out what customers want and figuring out what the business case looks like, and what market we are going to go after,” he said.