There’s a firestorm brewing over the electric bike formerly known as Storm, which raised $US3.2 million in 11 days by billing itself as the world’s most affordable eBike, with a price tag of “under $US600.”
It turns out, the bike won’t sell for anywhere near that cheap on the retail market after it gets produced. Only people who got in on the IndieGogo campaign will get it for that price.
Everybody else will pay around $US1,300, the company confirmed to Business Insider. (At one point, the company warned in the fine-print that it could be around $US2,000.)
The company’s spokesperson tells us:
The retail price of the bike is around $US1,299 but is not final. Storm [Sondors, cofounder] is passionate about making his bike the most affordable on the market and it is currently priced at $US599 which is very low for a comparable model.
Comparably the stated retail price this is rather low for an ebike, as many models currently on the market start their introductory offers in the low to mid thousand and go up to a few thousand dollars.
… The overall goal is to create an affordable eBike for the masses, and Storm is 100% committed to doing that. By going the crowdfunding route, it has allowed him to cut out the middlemen and deliver the eBike directly to market at a fraction of the price.
The Indiegogo campaign page now says in big letters up top: “Priced under $US600 for a Limited Time. Offer Ends 2/13/15!”
There are also a lot of questions if that fat-tired, motor-assisted bicycle really can deliver the battery life and power promised, for the weight promised.
Yahoo Tech wrote an article about the bike and its $US500 price tag that went viral and helped the Indigogo campaign go crazy. After hearing the scepticism surrounding the bike, Yahoo Tech’s Dan Tynan looked into its claims and found them “exaggerated at best.”
After we wrote about the incredible success of that crowdsourcing campaign, a reader named “Tom” contacted us about it. Tom says he invested in the campaign. When he started a discussion about the bike on an online electric vehicle forum, Endless Sphere, lots of sceptics piped up, there, too.
Tom tells us, “A number of ebike builders voice their opinions that are a good reflection of the scepticism of anyone who has built an electric bike. The numbers and facts don’t add up. PS: I did invest my $US499 + ? for shipping.”
On top of that, there’s already another $US1,300 electric bike called the Storm from a company in Florida called Prodeco Technologies. (Prodeco also forced Storm to change its name to Sondors.)
So, if Sondors’ eBike retails for $US1,300 as well, it won’t be “The world’s most affordable eBike” as the fundraising campaign is still promising.
Right now, Sondors eBike has a prototype that they are taking on tour around Southern California to show it off to sceptical investors, prospective customers.
The Sondors crew posted an update on Indiegogo about the ongoing controversy:
Finally, to show that there are no gimmicks, “smoke and mirrors”, or uncertainties about the product, we will be showcasing the bike this weekend for fans and customers at our first ever demo day. This gives fans a voice and extends past just the press and media. We have 150+ backers RSVP’d for the eBike demo this weekend in LA and can’t wait to get their thoughts on feedback.
However, as Yahoo’s Tynan points out, unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo investors are charged immediately and Indiegogo warns that “contributions on Indiegogo are nonrefundable.”
This bike has now raised nearly $US3.3 million, and if it doesn’t work out as advertised, there’s no getting your money back.
But if it does, you scored an electric bike for $US500 to $US600, a fraction of what others will be expected to pay for it.
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