The electric mobility company NIU has several interesting electric motorcycles and scooters headed to the US and Europe this year, yet the company’s new BQi electric bicycle has drawn just as much attention recently. And now we’re finally getting pricing and tech specs as NIU displays the new e-bike models at CES 2022.
The BQi showcases a novel frame design, incorporating a step-through geometry that avoids the ubiquitous Dutch bike geometry in favor of a much more modern design.
Powered by a 500W continuous and 750W Bafang hub motor in the rear, the bike will reach a top speed in the US of 28 mph (45 km/h).
European versions will be more limited thanks to stricter e-bike regulations, forcing the bike to carry just a 250W motor and cut power at 25 km/h (15.5 mph).
The US version will have both a throttle and pedal assist, while the European version will only operate on pedal assist.
The bike will be app-connected and include similar security features to those already developed for NIU’s electric mopeds and scooters.
The novel frame design allows for two lockable and concealed batteries without creating an overly bulky or bulbous frame.
NIU had previously stated that a range of up to 60 miles (100 km) would be achievable but hadn’t released any battery capacity information. Now NIU has confirmed that each battery will provide 480 Wh of capacity (48V and 10Ah), making for a total of 960 Wh.
The batteries will be constructed with 21700-format cells provided by LG, and the bike will feature a five-hour recharge time.
A belt-drive setup makes the e-bike a single-speed, which is either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your own cycling needs. The belt drive will remove any chain or derailleur maintenance and will likely last much longer than a chain. However, some riders in hilly areas prefer to have multiple gears to obtain a low gear ratio for hill climbing.
Or at least that used to be the case. Many riders are now finding that e-bikes make hill climbing possible even on single-speeds, as the motor assist helps make up for the less-than-optimal low-speed pedal cadence.
The BQi models on display at NIU’s CES 2022 booth show mechanical disc brakes, but a NIU representative confirmed to Electrek that the production bikes would actually come with hydraulic disc brakes.
The 67.5 lb (30.6 kg) e-bikes have a load rating of 360 lb (163 kg), including both passengers and cargo. With a built-in rear rack, cargo carrying should be easy on the BQi.
NIU has announced that the BQi will be priced at $1,499 in the US. That price stands to undercut many of the other leading e-bike options for commuter-oriented electric bikes.
While this marks the first time that NIU has shown off the BQi in North America, we were able to get an early look at the e-bike at the Milan Motorcycle Show late last year. NIU used the opportunity to show off several new models such as the 60 mph (100 km/h) MQi GT EVO electric scooter and the upcoming RQi electric motorcycle. You can see them all and more in our video below.
The NIU BQi’s novel design, combined with NIU’s impressive manufacturing capabilities and an attractive price point, could help NIU shakeup the e-bike industry in the US and Europe.
The company recently announced its 2021 sales figures, which showed that NIU sold over 1 million electric two-wheelers around the world last year. That kind of manufacturing might can’t be ignored.
While NIU’s major expertise began in electric mopeds and seated scooters, the company has now expanded into electric kickscooters as well.
These standing electric scooters incorporate much of the technology developed by NIU, but in a smaller and more portable package.
The lighter devices are easier on the wallet too, with NIU’s latest edition of the KQi1 electric scooter priced at a mere $349.
While we’re checking out videos, you can see my review of NIU’s first electric kickscooter below.
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