Turning your foot-powered bicycle into an electric one is about to get easy with the Copenhagen Wheel, a rear wheel replacement that gives your old bike an impressive slew of new talents, including motorized operation. Simply take out the stock wheel, bolt in the new one and you've got a new electric ride ready - it's that easy.
Designed by the MIT Sensable Team and developed with the Ducati Energia and the Italian Ministry of the Environment, the replacement part elegantly hides its mass of electronic components inside a sleek-looking hub at the center, making it look no more than a fancy bicycle wheel. Since there are no external gobs of wire and bulky battery packs that require separate placement, it can be retrofitted to any regular ride.
What kinds of abilities will your good, ol' fixed gear score? Inside the Copenhagen Wheel's red, round hub, you'll get a regenerator, which harvests the energy lost when you brake into a small battery inside the wheel. Any time you need a power boost (such as when climbing a slope), just use the three-speed gear to activate the tiny motor, drawing electricity from the integrated cells.
At its current configuration, it also includes a torque meter, a Bluetooth radio, a GPRS connection and a pollution sensor kit (that measures CO, NOx, noise, relative humidity and temperature), all of which are accessible via an iPhone app. Simply mount the handset to your handlebar and have access to a slew of riding data, giving you a veritable dashboard of information, apart from controlling all the electronics.
According to the press release, the Copenhagen Wheel will be configurable when it does go on retail, allowing buyers to add larger-capacity batteries and more sensors. Check out the video below to see it in action.