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This Inflatable E-Bike Hopes to Solve Parking and Storage Problems

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For many city dwellers, commuting to and from work in a car just isn’t practical. And yet, the pandemic has some second-guessing their appetite for certain forms of ultra-congested public transportation as well.

It’s been widely reported that bikes are in right now, and experts believe that we could see greater use of bicycles and scooters – both classic and electric versions – even after the pandemic.

But bikes have their drawbacks, the biggest one, perhaps, being that they take up space. If you bring your bike somewhere, you’re basically stuck with a giant piece of metal hardware that needs to find a place to exist while you work.

What’s that you say? There’s got to be a better way?

What if you could combine the advantages of an electric bike with the awkward-but-stashable design of a blow-up mattress?

Poimo is a prototype electric bike that addresses the problem of parking and storage. Invented at the University of Tokyo, Poimi’s flexible thermoplastic polyurethane construction means it can fold right into a backpack. When the user is ready to use it, they just inflate it to around 10 PSI and add the wheels, motor, and battery. 

This all sounds like a lot of work, but it could be a great solution for the right user. According to a report in , besides the benefits of not needing a parking space, moving away from metal means the bike itself would be cheaper to replace in the event of an accident – not to mention it would be less harsh of an impact in a collision with a pedestrian. But ultimately, its 12-lb weight means less energy use and no more lugging your heavy bike up the stairs of your walk-up apartment.

The cons: If you are hoping to look cool, Poimo will definitely not allow you to achieve that objective.

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