Yamaha Sparks Interest With Improved Electric Bicycles

Yamaha's PAS series electric motor-assisted bicycles arrived on the green scene last year. Though sales have been brisk, the company aims to boost them further with an improved line of battery-powered bikes designed to appeal to women.

Weighing between 50 and 60 lbs, the new PAS series bikes are relatively light yet pack a more powerful 25.2 volt Lithium Ion battery better suited to meet the demands of shoppers, career women and students in the urban environment. The batteries take 2 or 3 hours to fully charge, depending on the model. You can check out the complete specs of the PAS series at Yamaha's website.

It should be stressed that the PAS series bikes are "electrically assisted", meaning they aren't mini motorcycles but mainly get by on the rider's pedal power. The battery kicks in when negotiating hills and gentle upslopes.

The bikes have "SPEC3" onboard gear and speed sensors that detect pedal force and acceleration time in order to enable what Yamaha calls "smooth and powerful driving performance.

The bikes, three of which are set to arrive in Japanese stores on January 20 (two more debut February 24) come in a variety of attractive colors including a few that Yamaha hopes the fairer sex will find appealing:  yellow mango, blueberry, cherry pink, pearl white and American red. Other female-friendly features include ergonomic grips and improved design front baskets and rear carriers.

Prices for Yamaha's PAS series electrically assisted bicycles range from 104,800 yen (about $1,165) for the PAS Lithium S (pictured at top) and rise to 119,800 yen (about $1,330) for the line-leading PAS City-M, tax included. (via Impress Watch)