Lotus, an automotive company that hasn’t always been known as a leader in economical electric vehicles, is trying its hand at a new electric bicycle. But don’t think this is a sneaky way to get a cheap Lotus, as even the newly announced Lotus Type 136 e-bike costs a small fortune.
The Lotus Type 136 was unveiled this week with the astronomical price tag of £20,000, or nearly US $25,000.
If you suspect that the price is so high thanks to that Lotus badge, you’re only partly right. That surely accounts for a few of the zeroes in the price, but some interesting engineering is also going on here.
It’s hard to roll out a 9.8 kg (21.6 pounds) electric bike without getting creative. For example, the battery is disguised as a small water bottle and the HPS motor drive system weighs a paltry 1.2 kg (2.6 pounds). That weight includes everything in the drive, with the motor itself weighing just 300 grams (0.66 pounds).
The bike’s frame focuses on aerodynamics thanks to the company’s design legacy, with Lotus leveraging its “design and engineering excellence from more than 30 years of road and track cycling success,” according to road.cc. The V-shaped handlebars add to the aerodynamic approach, making the bike as slippery in the airstream as possible. With Lotus unable to do anything about your own body’s aerodynamic performance (or lack thereof), at least the bike itself is tuned to have as little drag as possible.
More clues to the sky-high price include features like the carbon fiber frame’s handmade lineage in Italy, as well as the frame’s “wing-shaped fork” and “vaulted chain stays” inspired by the Hope Lotus bike used at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
The first Type 136 e-bikes off the line will be individually numbered as part of a limited edition, further increasing their value. Lotus says that additional models will follow as part of a larger production run with lower prices of around £15,000 (approximately US $18,500).
A big part of the price in the Lotus Type 136 comes down the super lightweight design, but it’s not the lightest e-bike we’ve ever seen. That honor belongs to the Freicycle e-bike that weighs just 6.872 kg (15.15 lb.).
That model was never brought to production though, living on as a custom project. The lightest production electric bike we’ve seen is the HPS Domestique at just 8.5 kg (18.7 lb.).
Hummingbird has the lightest folding e-bike at 10.3 kg (22.7 lb), while Trek claims to have the lightest full-suspension electric mountain bike at 15.75 kg (34.72 lb.).
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