Newly developed wheel converts any bicycle into an electric vehicle

(Reuters) - Right off the bat, Michael Burtov said he and his team at technology startup GeoOrbital did not re-invent the wheel.

But, in a sense, they did.

After two years and five prototypes, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup has developed a new type of electric bicycle wheel that steered the company into crowdfunding stardom raising more than $1.2 million at a record-setting pace on Kickstarter.

The newly developed bicycle wheel has the major components of an electric vehicle – a 500 watt motor, a lithium battery and a suit of electronics, all arranged to fit perfectly into the radial of a wheel made out of high density foam to avoid a flat.

“The unique thing about this wheel is that we rearranged it,” Michael Burtov, the CEO & Founder of GeoOrbital said. “We kind of re-imagined how we put these things together.”

That wheel, which costs roughly $800, transforms any bicycle into an electric bike that can accelerate to 20 mph in six seconds.

“It’s not a more efficient system, it’s just a more practical and applicable system,” said Burtov, adding that his wheel has a USB port, enabling riders to charge their smartphones on the go.

The first wheel orders are scheduled for delivery in February 2017.

Reporting by Ben Gruber in Miami; Editing by David Gregorio