Jeep Will Soon Sell E-Bikes
Spending any amount of time in front of a television or computer screen on Groundhog Day likely resulted in you seeing the new Jeep Gladiator spot starring Bill Murray. As with most of the advertising done in the name of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, it was memorable and effective. Both Murray and the truck came across well, encouraging many to re-watch the fantastical 1993 comedy the ad is reliant upon while possibly browsing the Jeep website beforehand. Loaded with easter eggs from the film, it was probably the best automotive ad featured during Super Bowl LIV in a year loaded with healthy competition.
However, your author noticed something odd while watching. At one point, Bill taps Punxsutawney Phil atop his adorable little helmet as they prepare to journey through the snow on what appeared to be a Jeep-branded bicycle. The scene is so brief that it required a repeat viewing to be sure. Is Jeep seriously trying to get into the bicycle game?
While it didn’t come through normal channels, Jeep technically debuted the bike in the ad. It even has a website for it already up and running, which states it will be made available this June.
Called the Jeep e-Bike, the vehicle can be pedaled or cruised along using 750-watt electric motor. Jointly developed with the American-based QuietKat, who probably did most of the work, the e-Bike is said to have a battery good for 40 miles of range. That ought to be sufficient to handle any woodland trails you planned in advance and the fat, 4.8-inch tires the unit comes with should soak up the rough stuff far better than the rubber on your 11-speed Schwinn.
Our limited experience with electric bicycles prohibits us from making any assessments on how good e-Bike will be in comparison to the competition. But the 750-watt motor is on the higher end of what we’ve seen on the market and ought to make it a lot easier getting up those hills. Unfortunately, that probably means it won’t be as cheap as the dirt it’s running over. While Jeep branding is bound to tack on a few bucks, e-Bike is expected to use high grade components just about everywhere.
We think something a bit more economical, perhaps offered as part of a Jeep Gladiator package ( Honda Motocompo-style), would work swimmingly. It’d be a shame to see e-Bike turn into the brand’s weird cousin, forced into obscurity because nobody could figure out how to market them or build one for less than five figures.
We’ll have to wait to see if that’s the case. As of now, it doesn’t appear that the duo have settled on anything other than the frame and motor. But most of QuietKat’s current products retail for less than $6,000.
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