The Mando Footloose is a very different kind of electric bike. Instead of a traditional bicycle drivetrain, it has an alternator in the cranks of the bike that converts your energy into electricity to power the motor of the bike!
This is a paradigm change in the e-bike world for sure. It is a clean and simple design. It removes all of the typical bicycle drivetrain components: the chain, chainrings, cogs, derailleurs, and shifters. This also removes the dirty, greasy chain!
Of course it adds the alternator and some other electronic components but overall it appears to be a system with less components. As long as it proves to be reliable, the series hybrid system could be a great e-bike drive system for the future.
According to an electric vehicle expert I know, the series hybrid system could be a more efficient system compared to a traditional electric bike because it removes the efficiency losses from the traditional bike drivetrain. More on this in another post.
The Footloose was developed in a partnership project of Mando Corp. and Meister Inc. (automotive suppliers in South Korea). British designer Mark Sanders and Dutch e-bike expert Han Goes were very involved in the design.
The ride feel will probably be different. Pedaling “into” an alternator will most likely feel much different compared to the feeling of pedaling a bike on undulating terrain.
One of the head designers, Mark Sanders says, “because the electronic link between alternator / battery / motor is completely programmable so the ‘feel’ is infinitely adjustable, the fly-by-wire instead of a chain can also be used as a speed/power control.”
This is the way Mando Footloose describes the series hybrid drive system “The hybrid drive system brings the power directly to the drive wheel with its high performance dual winding motor, while at the same time also serving as a generator: When you pedal, mechanical energy transforms into electricity and feeds the e-bike battery – to a certain extent self generating. By adding energy the standard range of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) can be increased even more. Using a throttle, the motor drive can be controlled and you can ride the Mando Footloose even without pedaling.”
The Mando Footloose is also a folding electric bike that was designed to have very smooth aesthetic lines for style and safety from rough edges.
Here are some of the specs:
Max speed: 25 km/h (15.5 mph)
Max range: 45 km (28 miles)
Battery: Lithium ion 36V 8.2ah
Fork: Carbon Fiber
Weight: 21.7 kg (48 lbs.)
Artificial intelligence gear shifting: automatically changes gear by detecting slopes, so you can cruise up to 21% hills effortlessly and comfortably without sweating. You are free from the constraints of having to adjust your speed or the timing of shifting gear with the Mando Footloose.
Dual riding mode: Riding uphill is as easy as riding on flat land. The choice between using the throttle or pedals lets you travel the way you want – whether you want to pedal yourself or ride around more comfortably. Mando Footloose gives a unique experience where the rider gets to choose how energy is used.
HMI with anti-theft system: Through the Human Machine Interface (HMI) mounted on the handle bar, you can check a wide range of information from range, distance, speed, battery and selfgenerated power status. It also monitors and self-diagnoses any irregularities. The drive and gear modes can be set to manual or automatic. The HMI is also portable, like an automobile smart key, and prevents theft as the Mando Footloose is immobilised when the HMI is removed from the handle bar.
Here is a video from Mando Footloose with the features of the bike as well as the bike in action:
This is a video with more up-close shots of the bike:
Here is a quick video of the Mando Footloose being assembled:
Here is a video of how the bike folds and unfolds:
Here is the full brochure on the Mando Footloose with more background on the design, specs, and more pictures:
The Mando Footloose will be sold in Europe in mid 2013. No word yet on US distribution.
Those are the details I have right now. I will add more as I get them.
What do you think? Is the series hybrid e-bike drive the future for electric bikes? Please leave your comments in the section below.