Electron's second-generation Wheel is getting Google Assistant functionality in beta form, just in time for professional cyclist Max Lippe to take the Wheel for a ten-day spin to 2018's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In a grueling ride through extreme temperatures and many miles of terrain, Lippe will be taking advantage of the Wheel's new Assistant integration as he rides for 17 hours a day to reach CES in a timely fashion. Specifically, 2018's CES show starts on January 9, but Lippe will delay his departure, with his arrival at CES slated for January 10. A van will be trailing him the whole way to provide freshly charged Wheel units, and other assistance if necessary.
The Electron Wheel doesn't have Assistant integration as its only trick, of course. It can track your ride, and provide assist functionality when appropriate to help ease the strain of your ride. You can use Assistant to do things like check on the battery level, have the Wheel tell you what data it's gathered while your ride, and change just how much kinetic assistance the system offers you, with top speeds hitting 20 miles per hour in full assist mode. It's worth noting that this does not by any means fully motorize your bike, though pedaling assistance is on offer. Average riders will reportedly find the Wheel good for about 50 miles on a charge.
The Electron Wheel is a multi-piece kit, consisting of a wheel cover for the bicycle's front wheel, and a single piece that goes onto one of the bike's pedals. All of the hardware should take less than a minute to put onto the bike. Arguably the most important piece of the kit, however, is not hardware at all; it's a companion app that links functions of the Wheel to a paired smartphone, and acts as a central hub of sorts for the data that it's gathered. The second-generation Wheel is currently up for pre-sale on Electron's website for $799, and will be available at Best Buy at some point in the near future. Assistant functionality may not be present in current and immediately upcoming models, and will likely make its way to the consumer versions soon after release.