Sanyo rolls electric bicycles into US market

January 8, 2010
Japanese electronics giant Sanyo Electric displays a truck with solar panels for charging electric powered bicycles in Tokyo in December 2009. Eneloop "pedal-assist" bicycles that had been exclusively available in Japan made a US debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Japanese electric bicycle titan Sanyo thinks that notoriously car-loving folks in the United States are prime for peddle power.

Eneloop "peddle-assist" bicycles that had been exclusively available in Japan made a US debut at the in Las Vegas, where attendees go to saddle-up and ride in a carpeted casino hotel ballroom.

"We think of it as an electric vehicle," David Politis of Sanyo North America said before letting AFP take one for a spin.

"It is designed for people who want to commute to work and not be sweaty or who want to get back on the bike for the first time and may be out of shape, or even a mom who needs a little help peddling to keep up with the kids."

A "dynamotor" built into the hub of the front wheel charges a bicycle's battery when it is cruising downhill or a rider is braking.

The motor kicks in when a rider peddles, providing a virtual wind at one's back and making inclines feel more like flat terrain. Each bicycle have three gears changed with twists of a handlebar grip.

Three is a power boost mode for daunting uphill climbs.

Eneloop bicycles weigh in at 50 pounds (23 kilograms) each and the luxury of sweat-free peddling comes with a steep 2,300-dollar (US) price tag.

"Sanyo thinks it is clear that energy consciousness and environmental awareness continue to grow around the world," Politis said.

"We have to do something to break US dependence on foreign oil."

Most car trips in the US are less than five miles (eight kilometers), and cars pump out the bulk of polluting gases in the first 20 miles (32 kilometers) of a trip, according to statistics cited by Sanyo.

China is reported to be the top market in the world for electric bicycles, with India ranking second and Europe taking the third spot.

Sanyo is the world's top maker of rechargeable batteries, many used in cars or trucks.

Explore further: Panasonic completes Sanyo acquisition

Related Stories

Panasonic completes Sanyo acquisition

December 21, 2009

(AP) -- Panasonic Corp. said Monday that it had taken majority control of Sanyo Electric Co., officially forming one of the world's largest electronics makers.

Panasonic, Sanyo win EU takeover approval

September 29, 2009

(AP) -- Panasonic Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. must sell off a European plant that makes batteries to win EU antitrust approval for the $9 billion deal creating one of the world's biggest electronics makers, the EU said ...

Japan's Panasonic wins control of ailing Sanyo

December 10, 2009

Panasonic Corp. announced Thursday it had secured a controlling stake in smaller rival Sanyo Electric Co. in a 4.6-billion-dollar takeover that revamps Japan's troubled electronics industry.

Panasonic plans home-use storage cell

December 23, 2009

Panasonic Corp., which recently made a successful takeover bid for Sanyo Electric Co., plans to market a lithium-ion storage cell for home use around fiscal 2011.

Biking 2.0: MIT's big wheel in Copenhagen (w/ Video)

December 16, 2009

Yesterday, Dec. 15, at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, MIT researchers debuted the Copenhagen Wheel -- a revolutionary new bicycle wheel that not only boosts power, but can keep track of friends, fitness, smog ...

Zero-emission scooter to debut in Japan

October 29, 2009

A Japanese zero-emission "hybrid" scooter to be released next year runs 10 times as economically as a petrol engine bike and can be assisted by human pedal power, its maker said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Google Assistant adds more languages in global push

February 23, 2018

Google said Friday its digital assistant software would be available in more than 30 languages by the end of the years as it steps up its artificial intelligence efforts against Amazon and others.

Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

February 20, 2018

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace ...

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
not rated yet Jan 08, 2010
"...the hub of the front wheel charges a bicycle's battery when it is cruising downhill or a rider is braking."

Power, Watts or Horsepower, is moment times rate. Braking or decelerating is significant only relative to puny human power.

I stopped counting bicycle miles at 50,000. My current HPV ride cost $US 6K.

Who fails to do arithmetic is doomed to nonsense.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.