You know a green tech item has gone mainstream when it winds up on Hammacher Schlemmer . Such is the case with the Automatic Assist Power Bicycle–a.k.a., the pedelec .
This hybrid electric bicycle automatically adjusts the power boost to match the riding conditions–meaning that when you’re cruising along fine on your own, it operates like a regular bike, offering exercise and healthy exertion. When you start to struggle on the inclines, however, a pedal-activated, torque-sensing controller detects the force exerted and changes in terrain, applying just the right amount of electric boost, via a 250-watt brushless hub motor housed in the bike’s front wheel.
The Automatic Assist Power Bicycle comes with three hand-shifted gears plus three power modes that increase assistance when climbing hills or when hauling heavy loads. Like a hybrid car, the bike draws its power via regenerative braking, charging its battery on descents, when coasting downhill, or when the rear brake is applied.
As an added cachet, this bike took Winner of Best of Innovations in Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. It retails for $2,000 from Hammacher Schlemmer. ...