When we think of the term hybrid, we tend to conjure up images of cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. The "hybrid" part of these machines is their dual powertrains, most often consisting of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor and battery.
Really, though, a hybrid could be any vehicle that gets its motive force through multiple sources... no matter what those sources may be. Hence, Lexus' newest hybrid concept proudly carries its moniker despite the complete lack of an engine. It does, however, have a 240-Watt electric motor powered by a 25.9-volt lithium battery pack, along with... pedals?
That's right. Though it managed to escape our attention up to this point, Lexus actually displayed a duo of hybrid electric bicycles at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, and the Japanese automaker is now touting the bike as part of its sponsorship of the Great British Bike Ride.
According to Lexus, the frame is constructed of carbon fiber (the same composite that makes up Valentino Rossi's MotoGP bike, gushes Lexus) and uses an eight-speed internal gear system sourced from Shimano, in reference to the LS 600h's eight-speed automatic. There are no plans to put the bike into production. Want to know more? Check out the high-res image gallery below and see the press release after the jump.
Introducing the Lexus Hybrid Bicycle Concept
Lexus has established itself as an industry leader in bringing advanced technologies to the premium car market. Now it has applied the same thinking on a smaller scale to create the Lexus Hybrid Bicycle, a design concept the captures the fundamental engineering and design values of the brand, but with two wheels rather than four.
In every aspect this is Lexus, from the L-finesse design language of the engaging and elegant frame, to the application of hybrid power, an electric eight-speed transmission and lightweight carbon fibre construction.
Lexus has brought what is one of the only two examples in existence to the UK for the first time, following the bicycle's debut at the 2009 Tokyo motor show. Its arrival coincides with the announcement of Lexus's title sponsorship of the Great British Bike Ride, a four-day charity fun ride that will see hundreds of cyclists following a course from Land's End to the home of English rugby at Twickenham.
Lexus has pioneered high performance, low emissions and optimum fuel efficiency with its full hybrid Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain technology. The Hybrid Bicycle adopts similar principles, with the pedal power of the rider boosted by assistance to the front wheel from a 240W electric motor, via a 25.9V Lithium-ion battery, with a choice of Eco or Power modes. And, as with Lexus Hybrid Drive, there is an energy regeneration function that helps recharge the battery by capturing kinetic energy generated under braking.
The Lexus Hybrid Bicycle has all-wheel drive, by means of a belt system. It is equipped with an electric eight-speed Shimano internal gear system, which references the sophisticated eight-speed shift-by-wire automatic transmission of Lexus's LS 600h limousine. The carbon fibre construction shares the same light-but-strong composite materials technology that was used on Valentino Rossi's MotoGP-winning motorcycle.
There are no current plans for the Lexus Hybrid Bicycle to become a production model.