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Cute, power-efficient, traffic-beating smartbike is nearly ready to zip out of China

Electric bikes are perfect for getting around congested cities, and there are few more congested than Beijing in China, home to 20 million people. Tsinova, a Chinese e-bike manufacturer knows it, and although you may not have heard of the company until now, it’s time to start taking notice. Coming off the back of a large investment, the company has plans to start selling its innovative bikes outside China.

The concept of e-bikes is nothing new, but the company’s approach and drivetrain is something different. According to founder Chen Tengjiao, many e-bikes are made for people who don’t own a car, or for humdrum business use, but the Tsinova bikes are different — they’re made to appeal to people who own cars, but want something fun and more convenient for when the car isn’t right for the job. The design — particularly the TS01 seen above — reflects that. It’s urban, cute, and in the right set of colors, eye-catchingly modern as well.

Tsinova e-bikes use a clever drivetrain system that sees the bike react to the rider and the environment’s need. Called VeloUp, it uses a series of sensors to judge the road condition, and the rider’s intention. For example, it will understand if you want to simply go quickly, or if you’re pedaling harder to get up a hill, then adjust the power delivery accordingly. Very efficient. The motor has a fixed speed limit of about 12 miles per hour, so you’re not going to overtaking many motorcycles, but at least you won’t be stuck in traffic.

It’s all powered by a lithium-ion battery with an up to 44 mile range, and a two-hour recharge time, plus a smartphone app that connects using Bluetooth. The app includes navigation, access to different modes, the security system, and data on the battery and your own use of the bike. At only 14kg the TS01 should be easy to move around when you’re not riding it.

Tsinova has received the largest investment into any electric bike company yet, just over $$22 million, and is going to use at least some of the funds to launch its bikes outside of China. South Korea, Singapore, France, and Norway are those initially mentioned, but more are on the way; and due to Tsinova showing its bikes at CES 2016, we have high hopes for a U.S. launch too. In China, a Tsinova bike costs from the equivalent of $1700.

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