Sondors: The Electric Bike Used Around College Campuses

Kathryn Plummer
December 18, 2018

Submitted as coursework for PH240, Stanford University, Fall 2017


Fig. 1: The original model of the Sondors with large tires for all terrains as mentioned to the left. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

An electric bike, such as the Sondors, has many advantages for college students and people living in crowded areas, with no opportunity for driving a car. Firstly, it has the ability to reduce emissions into the environment that are caused by traditional transportation. It also can just eliminate the need for a car altogether. [1] It can reduce traffic congestion and parking difficulties throughout college campuses. The low cost of a bike suits the budget of the typical college student. While the Sondors may be a more expensive than the average bike, it eliminates the costs of a car and gas, which is an added incentive for a college student. An electric bike definitely offers a practical solution for those making their commutes from the dorms to class, or in a crowded city.

Why is a Sondors Attractive on the Market of Electric Bikes?

The original model of the Sondors will sell for roughly $1,000 as a basic e-bike. This is a reasonable price compared to other models on the website, which can range from $1,300 all the way to almost $1,600. There have been changes to the battery that is used. While the original model used to use a 36 V 8.8 Ah Lithium-ion battery, it now uses the same voltage with an 8.7 Ah Lithium-ion battery. [2] The energy storage capacity of the battery is:

36 Volts × 8.7 Amps × 3600 seconds = 1.12 × 106 joules

The battery is stored in the side of the bike and comes with a charger that can be removed for simple charging access in limited space and resources. All one needs is an outlet, and the battery charges within the night. The e-bike also uses a 350 W motor that can get to speeds of 20 mph or so. With the electric pedal assist feature, the battery range is anywhere between 25-40 miles. With consistent motor power and no pedaling, the range decreases to 20 miles. This is a great range for getting around a college campus or through the streets of a crowded city. And then, as mentioned previously, all one has to do is charge the battery at night in order to do it all over again day after day. The Sondors is 60 pounds, ensuring that it can get through any terrain or landscape, which is seen in Fig.1 demonstrated by the large tires and bulky frame. [1] To make them even more powerful, owners can up the speed of the bike by installing a motor with more power, in the U.S., the legal limit in order to be constituted as a bike is 750 W.

Why Should We Turn to Electric Bikes Instead of Electric Cars?

As previously mentioned, e-bikes can dramatically reduce the costs of other forms of transportation. A college student, for example, would most likely prefer to invest in an e-bike rather than a car if their purposes of transportation are to get around campus and back to their dorm room. [3] One of the downsides of an e-bike is the range that is "experienced". It is thought that range is a psychological barrier that either can influence or deter people from buying a product. An electric car with a large range sounds more appealing than a bike with a lot of range. [2,4] Another drawback of using the pedal assist mechanisms of the Sondors is that you don't receive a large proportion of the health benefits that are experienced with a normal, conventional bike. But, the upside is that you can get from one place to another in a much shorter time, better taking advantage of a main benefit of the e-bike itself. Luckily for sales of the Sondors, exercise is most likely not the main concern. People buying electric bikes and vehicles want to get from point A to point B is a shorter time, while also helping the environment. While this evidence shows many benefits for everyone interested in purchasing an e-bike, it seems as though it is the most cost-effective and versatile option for a college student to get around large campuses with ease.

© Kathryn Plummer. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] I. V. McLouglinet al., "Campus Mobility for the Future: The Electric Bicycle," J. Transport. Technol. 2, 1 (2012).

[2] A. Summerville, "Sondors Electric Bikes," Physics 240, Stanford University, Fall 2016.

[3] T. Franke et al., "Experiencing Range in an Electric Vehicle: Understanding Psychological Barriers," Appl. Psychol. 61, 368 (2011).

[4] D. Rojas-Rueda et al., "Replacing Car Trips by Increasing Bike and Public Transport in the Greater Barcelona Metropolitan Area: A Health Impact Assessment Study," Environ. Int. 49, 100 (2012).