How do you persuade commuters to ditch cars in favor of bikes? Remove the sweat. "No one wants to show up at work all messy," says mobility designer Gabriel Wartofsky, who, with his new electric, foldable bike from Conscious Commuter, hopes to evangelize a cleaner commute. Most e-bikes weigh north of 50 pounds, but Wartofsky’s is a sprightly 25 that folds up to the size of just one wheel. The trick is the simple framework: A U-shaped aluminum tube substitutes for the fragmented triangles that make up a standard bike, eliminating several extra pieces of metal. The tube also houses the bike’s power. Wartofsky skipped the typical external battery in favor of a technology that uses a honeycomb-like structure to customize battery packs into unique shapes, such as the U-tube, which helps dissipate heat and prolong battery life. ($2,500, consciouscommuter.com)
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.