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Xiaomi-backed company releases foldable electric bike

The bike comes from the startup iRiding, backed by the Chinese tech giant Xiaomi. Called the Mi Qicycle, it will cost 2,999 yuan ($460 U.S.) and for now is only available in China. That’s surprisingly cheap, considering iRiding’s previous electric bicycle, the Qicycle R1, retails for 19,999 yuan ($3,000).

The Mi Qicycle weighs 14.5 kg, about twice as heavy as the R1, but it has the advantage of being foldable so it can be carried around easily — nearly every part can be folded in and can fit in most car trunks. The 250 W, 36V motor can last for 28 miles (45 km) on a single charge, and the bike can operate at one of three speeds. The display tracks how long you’ve been on the bike, your speed, distance, battery charge and more; you can also toggle between various modes including “Fitness” and “Power-saving.” There are two lights on the bike — one at the front and the other at the back, a red brake light.

Most parts of the Mi Qicycle can be folded

Most parts of the Mi Qicycle can be folded

The bike also has Bluetooth connectivity, allowing access to a smartphone companion app that can monitor the bike’s overall status and provide GPS navigation.

Xiaomi talked of the bike as a way of getting around frustrating congestion on the roads:

“As more people move to the edge of towns and cities, traffic congestion may get worse. Many people will drive their cars into the city centre to get to work. How you wish you have a bicycle with you right now?”

Mashable pointed out that electric bikes are a booming business in China — in fact, annual sales of electric bikes are higher than sales of cars in the country.

While bikes are a popular way of getting around traffic jams in China, other ideas are in the works. In May, Digital Journal’s Karen Graham reported on the Transit Elevated Bus, a unique vehicle that can literally drive over other cars thanks to its “road-straddling” design.

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