The recent announcement by IKEA that it has started selling electric bicycles in Austria looks as though it could be the start of something very big for the world of eco-friendly transport in general. When one of the world’s largest and most popular retailers trials the sale of a product like this, you can bet there’s something going on back at headquarters.
The IKEA FOLKVÄNLIG [translation] is available in a single unisex model, and features a 36V, 250W front wheel motor, integrated lighting, a lockable removable battery, and a handlebar mounted control panel. The bike sports a Shimano Nexus internal 18 gear hub, weighs 25kg including the battery, and has a 60-70km range. The battery takes around 5 hours to charge. Top speed will almost certainly be regulated according to local laws (in Europe that’s around 25km/h).
The word Folkvanlig means ‘people friendly’ in Swedish, and it’s clear that if this test is successful the company will roll this eco-friendly product out over more countries and stores, which is exciting news for an electric bike industry which has struggled to gain acceptance with the general public.
In line with typical IKEA tactics, the product comes with an industry leading 2 year warranty (excluding wear and tear items of course) and it’s being offered for an aggressive starting price of €649 if you’re a member of the IKEA club.