An electric vehicle is only as good as its battery pack. That’s true, whether you’re driving a Tesla P85D, a Honda EV-Cub, or a motorized skateboard. It’s why the Karmic Koben, a new electric bicycle, starts its inception by reimagining the EV battery before building the rest of the ride around it.
Designed by Neal Saiki (founder of Zero Motorcycles), it uses a unique battery that puts sustainability at the forefront. Rather than throw away your battery once it begins malfunctioning and buy a new one, it’s designed to be easily fixable, so you can bring in the battery for repairs and pay only for the cost of replacing the malfunctioning cell. This ability to be fixed doesn’t sacrifice its housing either, as it comes with a durable aluminum enclosure, along with integrated thermal management.
Rather than use hub motors like many e-bikes today, the Karmic Koben chooses to integrate the electric motor on the bottom bracket – a design that both preserves the bike’s center of gravity and minimizes wear and tear on the motor (hub motors usually see serious wear and tear within the first two years, due to the pressure on the wheels). The battery also sits just above it, helping eliminate the top-heavy problem that’s been common in many electric bike designs. With the new drivetrain providing pedal-assist, the bike can hit max speeds of 25 mph and a max range of 40 miles (these numbers are for the flagship “S” version; a lower model does 20 mph and 25 mile range). Other details include two options in gearing (single-speed and a NuVinci N360 CVT), a lightweight aluminum frame, and an adjusted geometry to compensate for the additional weight from the electric components.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Karmic Koben. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $1,337.