One definition of the word elegant is "to be gracefully concise and simple." In the future, the dictionary just might include the GreenWheel as a product that illustrates this principle perfectly. From the MIT Smartcities team that gave us the stackable cars concept and the RoboScooter (still a go), comes a wheel that can turn an ordinary bicycle into a very desirable electric one in an easy, cost effective manner. Enclosing a motor, A123 Systems batteries and a generator into a small aluminum pancake hub, the GreenWheel can give you up to 25 miles of propulsion, or much more if you don't mind pedaling. Unlike conversions kits from the past, it forgoes running wires the length of your bike by incorporating the magic of bluetooth to control the twist-throttle.
Over a dozen different configurations of the GreenWheel are scheduled to be tried and tested by a variety of cyclists this spring. Once the the team analyzes their feedback, an ultimate configuration of power, speed and cost will be settled on and mass production will get under way. With an estimated cost of "several hundred dollars," they better plan on making a lot of them since not only are they a wonderful "solution" for several cities and ridesharing programs already showing interest, but in a world-economy that can't afford to buy cars the way they used to, the GreenWheel should have a bright future.