Copenhagen Wheel

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The Copenhagen Wheel is a rear bicycle wheel currently in development that has an in-built electric motor, battery, and in-built computer. A bicycle equipped with a Copenhagen Wheel in effect becomes a pedelec, i.e. a bicycle in which the electric motor assists the rider when necessary but only when they are actively pedalling. The wheel was developed by the SENSEable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the City of Copenhagen, and was unveiled at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.[1] For commercialization, the technology was spun off into the company Superpedestrian, which like the lab is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[2]

The Copenhagen Wheel includes a built-in electric motor with a 48-volt lithium ion battery. The Wheel is controlled by a smartphone app. The Copenhagen Wheel is charged externally via a battery charger, with additional charging while riding the bicycle from regenerative braking, i.e. when the rider back-pedals as in a coaster brake. The in-built computer uses sensors in the Copenhagen Wheel to analyse the topography[citation needed] and the rider's pedalling to decide whether to deliver power to assist the rider.

Range per battery charge is stated as up to 50 kilometres (31 mi).[3][2] As of March 2016 a small number of wheels had been sold to early pre-order customers.[4] Otherwise, the wheel could be test-driven in Cambridge,[5] and pre-ordered for future delivery at a price of US$1199.[6]

The device got a free advertising boost when it was shown on Showtime's seventh season of Weeds.[7]

Superpedestrian and MIT filed patent infringement complaints in 2016 against FlyKly (based in New York) and ZeHus (based in Milan) for manufacturing similar products without licenses. Other competitors include Evelo, which is selling a wheel starting at $1,199, and GeoOrbital, which is also in the pre-order phase.[4]


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