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At the Micromobility Europe conference in Amsterdam last week, I got my first look at (and first ride on) the new folding electric bike known as FLIT. As it turns out, there’s a new ultra-compact British folding e-bike in town.

When it comes to UK-based folding bikes, most people already know of Brompton. The super-tiny folding bike riding on little 16-inch wheels has been the darling of the compact folding bike space for decades.

Brompton’s folding bikes are iconic, combining classic bicycle design with modern engineering principles to create the perfect tiny folder. It’s a bike that packs up compactly and then opens back up to ride pretty darn well, at least for a 16-inch narrow-tire bike.

But when Brompton joined the modern era and electrified their bikes, the same design decisions that made the original bike so effective were also a hindrance to advanced e-bike components. That resulted in a bike that looked like it was wearing an eBay conversion kit with a battery in a shopping bag, not to mention a front wheel motor that limited power and traction.

Enter FLIT: another British folding bike, but this time designed from the outset for electric drive.

Because the company started with electrification in mind, they designed the bike with a wide enough central frame tube to support the 36V 6.4Ah battery hidden away inside the tube. A custom-designed battery shell allows the battery to be easily removed for charging by first sliding out the seat tube.

Next, the use of a rear motor instead of a front motor also allows for much more peppy acceleration. The 250W motor may only be rated for 35 Nm of torque, but in my test ride of the bike, I was impressed with just how potent that power felt. Surely the inclusion of a torque sensor helped, but the rear wheel drive is key to being able to dump all of the available power as quickly as possible.

By comparison, Brompton’s front motor has reduced traction and can spin the tire in loose terrain or when climbing hills, meaning Brompton engineers had to dial back the power ramping to slow down the application of torque, minimizing that tire slip effect.

FLIT had to make some of their own sacrifices as well, underlying the fact that folding bikes are often rolling compromises.

For example, the optional fender set includes a super funky rear mudguard that telescopes and folds in three pieces. It’s certainly odd, but the advantage is that it allows the folded bike to roll on its rear wheel instead of small plastic roller, which is better for pushing the bike around on uneven ground like bricks or cobblestones.

And the bike is also single-speed, lacking the internally geared hub you’ll find on Brompton’s folders. Many commuters appreciate the option to switch gears, which is extra helpful on inclines. On the other hand, the single-speed design removes a potential failure point as well as a maintenance concern, plus it reduces the overall weight of the bike.

At just 14 kg (30.8) lb, the aluminum bike is fairly light for lifting, but that rolling feature is nice for longer pushes, such as along subway platforms and through train stations.

My first ride on the FLIT M2 folding e-bike at Micromobility Europe in Amsterdam

FLIT’s current model, the FLIT M2, is on sale for £1,999, with that promotional pricing marking down from an MSRP of £2,499 ahead of deliveries beginning later this year.

It’s probably not a bike that I would buy for myself, mostly because I enjoy the higher power of North American e-bikes and the comfort of fat tires (though the FLIT does have elastomer-based rear suspension). But if I did regularly need a small folder as a regular car or train commuter, this would absolutely be on my list. However, my wife rides a 250W folding e-bike to work every day, so perhaps this would be on her list.

And sorry, Brompton. I don’t mean to take potshots at you. You’ve got a great folder, and have for decades. But this is what happens when you design a bike from the ground up with electrification in mind.

But that’s the beauty of today’s e-bike market, which has more options than we can count. Different strokes for different folks!

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Nissan feels the heat from BYD’s EV price war in China

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Nissan feels the heat from BYD's EV price war in China

Nissan is the latest victim of BYD’s “liberation battle” against gas-powered cars. After BYD’s aggressive price cuts this year, Nissan is shutting down a factory in China as it struggles to keep up.

As is the case for many legacy automakers, China is a critical sales market for Nissan. Nearly a third of Nissan’s global sales and net profits are from China.

After slipping out of the top five automakers (by market share) in China in 2022, Nissan’s woes are worsening. Nissan’s sales fell 16% in China last year and the trend has continued into 2024.

Nissan’s sales fell another 2.8% last month, with 64,233 vehicles sold in China. The company cut guidance by 23% last year, with 800,000 vehicle sales expected in fiscal 2024. According to Nikkei, Nissan will do so with one less factory.

Nissan is closing the doors to its plant in Changzhou as the factory is building more cars than it can sell.

The facility accounts for about 8% of Nissan’s production capacity in China, with an annual capacity of around 130,000 units. According to the report, the plant shuts down on Friday.

Nissan-BYD's-EV
Nissan Ariya electric SUV (Source: Nissan)

Under its joint venture with China’s Dongfeng Motor, Nissan has eight plants in the region. Its total annual capacity is around 1.6 million, double Nissan’s projected sales figures for fiscal 2024.

Nissan shuts down China plant amid BYD’s EV price war

The plant shutdown comes as Nissan struggles to keep up in an increasingly competitive China EV market.

China’s largest automaker, BYD, kicked off a “liberation battle” against ICE vehicles earlier this year. The goal is to continue taking market share from gas-powered cars with lower-priced EVs. So far, it seems to be working.

Nissan-BYD's-EVs
BYD (Dolphin Mini) Seagull EV (Source: Nissan)

BYD has drastically cut prices while introducing lower-priced EV models. Its cheapest, the Seagull EV, starts under $10,000 (69,800 yuan).

BYD’s CEO, Wang Chaunfu, said EVs have entered “the knockout round” and that the next two years will be critical for automakers to catch up.

With lower-priced, more advanced models hitting the market, BYD sees joint venture brands (like Nissan’s) market share falling from around 40% to 10% in China.

Nissan isn’t the only legacy automaker feeling the heat. Japanese rivals Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Honda have also pulled back in China amid slumping sales.

Nissan-BYD's-EV
Nissan EV concepts (Source: Nissan)

Meanwhile, BYD looks to expand its global footprint after outgrowing China’s EV market. BYD is closing in on a deal for a plant in Mexico that would be among the biggest in the country. The company expects to sell 50,000 vehicles in Mexico this year.

BYD is also expanding on Nissan and Toyota’s home turf. According to data from the Japan Automobile Importers Association, BYD accounted for over 20% of Japan’s EV imports in January.

With longer-range, lower-priced models rolling out, BYD’s momentum is expected to continue. China’s leading automaker is also expanding into new segments like pickups (check out the new Shark PHEV), mid-size electric SUVs, and luxury.

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs $3,200 more to finance than last week

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Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs ,200 more to finance than last week

Tesla scrapped promotional financing on the Model 3 Long Range this week after it became eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

As Electrek reported on June 17, Tesla and the IRS confirmed that the Model 3 Long Range All-Wheel Drive is now eligible for the full tax credit. Today, Tesla is pricing the EV’s upfront purchase price at just $34,990 – $1,000 more than the Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive – including the federal tax credit and an estimated five-year gas savings of $5,000.

The Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive still doesn’t qualify for the federal tax credit because it uses LFP battery cells from China.

The Model 3 Long Range is now listed at 6.39% APR on loans up to 72 months. The Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive continues to offer 1.99% APR for 36 months with a 60-month option at 2.99%.

Even though the Model 3 Long Range is now $7,500 cheaper, the higher interest rate is a bit of a party pooper, as it eats up potential savings. The folks at CarsDirect estimated that on a five-year loan, thanks to the 6.39% interest rate, the Model 3 Long Range has more of a $4,200 advantage than a $7,500 advantage.

If you’re eligible for the federal tax credit, the Model 3 Long Range is cheaper than before but costs around $3,200 more to finance through Tesla than last week. CarsDirect suggests comparing your options carefully if you’re shopping for a Model 3 Long Range. 

Click here to find a local dealer that may have the Model 3 in stock –affiliate link


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Utah is getting 20 ‘hyper-fast’ Electrify America EV charging stations

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Utah is getting 20 'hyper-fast' Electrify America EV charging stations

Electrify America and electric utility Rocky Mountain Power have rolled out the first of 20 DC fast charging stations in Utah.

Electrify Commercial, a business unit of Electrify America, and Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, are deploying more than 80 chargers at 15 DC fast charging stations in the Salt Lake City area and five DC fast charging stations in surrounding regions.

So far, four charging stations have come online in Millcreek, Vernal, Moab, and Kimball Junction.

Rocky Mountain Power, the only rate-regulated public utility providing electric service in Utah, will own the new charging stations. Each will have “hyper-fast” chargers capable of speeds up to 350 kW. The utility will set the pricing and Rocky Mountain Power utility customers get a discounted rate.

Since 2016, Rocky Mountain Power has installed more than 120 DC fast chargers in Utah and completed an electric highway corridor along I-15, Utah’s primary and only north-south interstate highway. It’s also facilitated the installation of more than 3,000 Level 2 chargers for workplaces, retail, and multifamily housing. The utility is spending $50 million to install EV charging infrastructure across Utah.

All 20 of Utah’s new DC fast charging stations will be on Electrify America’s coast-to-coast “locate a charger” map, which includes more than 950 stations and over 4,250 chargers in the US and Canada. Drivers will be able to access and pay for charging on Rocky Mountain Power’s chargers through the Electrify America mobile app.

Read more: Here’s what Electrify America’s EV charging plans are for 2024


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