Bolt’s e-bike has Zero roots

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - C.C. WEISS

PART elec­tric bi­cy­cle, part mo­tor­cy­cle and part moped, the Bolt M-1 is a ca­pa­ble, twowheeled ma­chine en­gi­neered for ur­ban com­mut­ing.

The fully elec­tric bike wears light mo­tor­cy­cle styling and can put out up to 5 500 watts for speeds up to 64 km/h. It can also be di­alled back to 1 000 watts and rid­den like an e-bike.

Bolt Mo­tor­bikes founder and CEO Dr Nathan Jau­vtis be­gan com­mut­ing on a moped at about the time he first moved to San Fran­cisco. He found the moped to be the per­fect ve­hi­cle for get­ting around the city, with more speed and prac­ti­cal range than a bi­cy­cle, but cheaper than a car.

Jau­vtis formed Bolt with co­founder Zach Leven­berg, a moped en­thu­si­ast with worl­drecord moped rid­ing and Lit Mo­tors en­gi­neer­ing ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt. The two de­signed their own ver­sion of the moped, turn­ing to bat­tery power and putting their own styling to it to cre­ate the M-1.

The com­pany kept the de­sign sim­ple and bi­cy­cle-like in hopes of ap­peal­ing to bike riders look­ing for a light, elec­tric form of ur­ban com­mut­ing. In other words, folks who might be in­tim­i­dated by more pow­er­ful elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cles like those that Jau­vtis helped de­velop at Zero Mo­tor­cy­cles.

The mo­tor out­put is lim­ited to 1 000 watts, with a range of 82 km at 32 km/h on mo­tor power alone. For those who want to stretch their legs, the M-1’s ped­als are just dan­gling there in wait­ing.

The bike isn’t ex­actly an elec­tri­fied dirt bike, but Bolt does have some photos of it tack­ling flat dirt, so an “off-road only” mode isn’t com­pletely fic­ti­tious.

The M-1 also fea­tures a com­put­erised con­trol sys­tem with pass­code pro­tec­tion, USB phone charger and Blue­tooth-con­nected mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion. Its 1,7 kWh lithium iron phos­phate bat­tery pack has a quick re­lease for eas­ier charg­ing and fast-charges to 90% in 90 min­utes.

Bolt rec­om­mends us­ing the home charger for five-hour “main­te­nance” charg­ing to in­crease bat­tery longevity.

The bike weighs 63,5 kg. Bolt says that it has al­ready sold out its first M-1 pro­duc­tion run and is cur­rently tak­ing pre­orders for batch #2 on its web­site.

The M-1 lists in at $5 495, (about R 70 000) and early birds save $500 on a buy-now price that en­tails a fully re­fund­able $500 de­posit.


The latest e-bike to woe Cal­i­for­nian cy­clists out of cars.

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