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Assistance varies according to battery charge, input from pedals and gradient

A self-charging electric folding bike has easily surpassed its Kickstarter funding target. Aiming for €80,000, Vello Bike+ has already raised €190,834 with 18 days still to go.

Vello has been selling three existing models of its folding bike (Urbano, Rocky and Speedster – all non-electric) for the past year through selected retailers and its online shop. The Austrian firm is now looking to produce what it claims is “the lightest and most compact electric folding bicycle in the world.”

Touted as the world's first self-charging electric folding bike, Vello Bike+ features a battery within the rear wheel hub that can be fully recharged while riding, meaning that in theory the rider need never run out of power.

Energy is harvested by braking and when riding downhill with the bike’s Integrated Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

It is said to charge automatically and continuously with motor assistance and cut-off speeds varying according to battery charge, the input from the pedals and the road’s gradient.

The firm claims it is possible to ride at up to 15mph (25km/h) for unlimited mileage in ‘self-charging mode’, or for 18-30 miles (30-50 km) in ‘turbo mode’, “without any effort.”

This is, presumably, rhetoric. We assume they mean something like ‘with minimal effort’. In the most efficient mode, the 250W motor only gives you the boost when you are riding uphill (and not on the flat). The battery recharges when you ride downhill and brake.

Weighing in at under 12kg, it’s also pretty light for an e-bike and can be folded down to suitcase size.

"It's the first self-charging electric folding bike on the market, plus lighter and more compact than any other folding bike on the market,” said Vello co-founder and designer Valentin Vodev.

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