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‘Conscious Commuter’ folding e-bike company launches in Portland

Posted by on June 24th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Prototype of the Conscious Commuter folding e-bike.
-Watch video below.-

According to a story by Sustainable Business Oregon, a new bike company, Conscious Commuter, plans to make folding e-bikes (out of recycled aluminum) in Portland:

By this time next year, Conscious Commuter Corp. plans to be building its folding electric bikes in Portland and marketing them around the world.

The Portland-based company…is the work of one experienced entrepreneur, Bob Vander Woude, and the idea that a fold-up, electric-assist bicycle could entice commuters out of their cars.

Vander Woude, who was running a small seed-stage investment fund in Portland when the economy turned sour, was toying with the idea of importing an electric bike from China when he happened upon some designs for a folding version by Gabriel Wartofsky, a graduate of the Art Center College of Design.

Wartofsky graduated from Art Center (in California) in 2009 with a degree in Transportation Design. In a video interview posted on the Art Center website, Wartofsky credits a three-week study trip to Shanghai as his inspiration. That trip led him to tackle urban mobility with a compact, portable, electric-assist, folding bicycle.

His Conscious Commuter concept earned him a semifinalist selection in the 2011 Cleantech Open Business Competition.

The bike itself is still in the prototype stages, and Wartofsky says a “first-phase” prototype will be presented this fall. For more about Conscious Commuter, check out this Art Center blog post, read the article in Sustainable Business Oregon, and watch a short video about the bike below:

Stay tuned for more coverage.

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dsaxena
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dsaxena

That looks pretty revolutionary, but could also end up being the next Segway…

Vladislav Davidzon
Guest

This is awesome and precisely a great example of how we’re going to rebuild the economy in this country.

-J.
Guest
-J.

Maybe I need to wait for the prototype, but from the animation I don’t understand how you pedal this. There doesn’t seem to be any drivetrain connection between the wheel and pedals. Is there some internal shaft-drive? Is it a scooter with an electric motor, or a electric-assist bike? Also, the straight seat post magically telescopes out of a curved seat tube, which probably is not physically possible. The folding mechanism does seem very compact though. Neat idea and I hope it goes somewhere.

Greg
Guest
Greg

It needs a handle and wheel so it can be pulled like roller luggage when folded. The concept is way-cool, though.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Maybe that is where the ‘conscious’ part of the name comes in? You pedal it with your consciousness. But seriously do they mean conscientious? Because at least for me conscious evokes it’s opposite: unconscious. I like the bike and the idea; the name just sounds like its borrowed from hip-hop–which could be a good move for all I know.

shannon
Guest
shannon

Gabriel’s a very talented designer, and is also guest blogging for Oregon Manifest’s Observation series. See his first posting here: http://bit.ly/m6jNmJ

Bill Stites
Guest

Cool concept.

It is a pretty big leap from video to ridable prototype – does one already exist? If not, I am surprised at plans to produce it … hope they have a formidable R&D budget.
Getting folding bikes stiff – especially w/ EA – is notoriously difficult.

Good luck!

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

this actually seems pretty cool… hope we get to see a working prototype by next summer…

Chris I
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Chris I

This is very art-heavy and engineering-light. The final product will look very little like that, if they can make it work.

middle of the road guy
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middle of the road guy

I thought skateboards were already available.

therethere
Guest

We’re very excited that this kind of innovation and design is happening in Portland. Which is why we love Portland’s bike culture so much!

marshmallow
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marshmallow

That rear hinge reminds me of the bob trailer, which has a limit of 75 lbs. Folding bikes are limited by the durability and safety of their hinges.

dwainedibbly
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dwainedibbly

I have some serious concerns about the design. Without triangulation, that “noodle” in the middle is going to be under a lot of stress. When aluminum fails, it can do so catastrophically and without much warning.

I really want to see them succeed, but I think they have some major engineering work to do.

captainkarma
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captainkarma

I am totally not holding my breath. And if I had any money, this is not where I’d invest. The concept is good, but… Also I don’t like the idea of public transit embracing folding bikes when they should be getting serious about real capacity for real bikes. Oh sure folding bikes work, so why isn’t N Williams full of them during rush hour? Anyway, I think if trimet “endorses” or whatever, the folding bike, that will leave it open to them saying “You *need* to have a folding bike to get on board. We’re not encouraging full-size bikes.”

Sonny
Guest

Very nice concept. I would probably buy one of those. A good price point will also be a huge factor.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Where’s the battery?

Bob Vander Woude
Guest

The battery will be in the frame, rather than outside, as in most e-bike designs. We are working with several battery companies that will develop a proprietary battery in conjunction with us.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

This reminds me of IT (NSFW).