Tiny, retro electric motorbike gets 40 miles of range

Jonny Smith—the latest addition to Fully Charged’s team of hosts—says it’s like the “child of a tube of toothpaste, Lego, and a packet of Pez candy.” He also says it feels like a sixties coffee machine.

And he really likes it.

The Motochimp—based in Singapore—is a tiny, foldable, retro electric motorbike that will fit in the trunk of a car, and get something like 40 miles of range. It only does 20 miles per hour, but it seems to me like it’s made for city riding anyway.

It’s apparently going into production this year, and will be released in the UK (and some internet rumors say the US too) next year. And Smith says they are talking about a price tag of around GBP1,300 (US$1,600). (Auto Express says the price will be closer to $2,000.) I don’t see it becoming an e-bike for the masses at those prices, but in trendy urban neighborhoods I wouldn’t be surprised to see these catching on with folks who’d like to avoid the cost of owning a car.

Besides the unique styling, it does look like a well thought out, simple, no-thrills solution for urban and suburban mobility. There will, of course, be questions about bikes like these getting used on bike lanes—but that seems like it’s more of an issue of infrastructure and planning, not whether or not a 20 mph electric bike is a good idea.

Aside from anything else, though, it’s nice to see zero emission vehicle design that genuinely makes you smile.

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