The $4,995 Bolt M-1 is something of an enigma. Though it’s ostensibly a 5,500-watt, 40MPH-capable moped-style electric bike that falls somewhere between a bicycle and a motorcycle, it’s also armed with an Economy mode that limits motor assist to 20mph and 1000W of power, which would mean that the bike technically complies with California’s laws to classify the M-1 as a bicycle. As a result, the bike technically doesn’t require insurance or a license to operate it on public roads in California.
The bike is quite different from other electric bikes on the market. One of the most obvious distinctions is its weight: it’s heavy, weighing in at 140lbs. The M-1 has a moped-style steel frame with full suspension and is reminiscent of the Puch Magnum, the famous Austrian-built moped that features a U-shaped frame. The M-1 doesn’t rely on traditional 29″ wheels that bicycles use and instead has 17″ moped wheels, which support more weight (the bike lists its max carrying capacity at 350lbs). The bike’s 33-volt LiFePO4 battery is also much larger than most ebike batteries (1,680 watt-hours) and provides 50 miles of range in Economy mode or 20-30 miles of range in Sport mode.
Only one day after the beginning of its crowdfunding campaign, the M-1 has already garnered $123,000 in orders.
Though the M-1 isn’t a traditional ebike and will surely run afoul of vehicle regulations in many jurisdictions, it’s still quite interesting to see such a bike go on sale, as the M-1 might just launch an entirely new category of light electric vehicles.