Car video reviews:
Chop-E, The Electric Chopper That Never Was
Crowdfunding is where dreams go to become reality. Still, for all the great stories of success you come across, there are many others that do not make it past that stage, so for them, crowdfunding is where dreams go to die.

Chop-E, The Electric Chopper That Never Was

Chop-E aimed to be the coolest electric chopper but never stood a chanceChop-E aimed to be the coolest electric chopper but never stood a chanceChop-E aimed to be the coolest electric chopper but never stood a chanceChop-E aimed to be the coolest electric chopper but never stood a chanceChop-E with a "wooden" frameChop-E with a "wooden" frameChop-E aimed to be the coolest electric chopper but never stood a chanceChop-E aimed to be the coolest electric chopper but never stood a chance
Chop-E was one such, pretty awesome dream.

Long before electric two-wheelers were as common as they are today, two friends from Estonia had an idea: what if they could design an electric chopper and somehow be able to mass-produce it and ship it around the world while making it widely accessible, affordable and legal? That was a very high goal they were striving to attain, and it is what ultimately killed the project in the bud.

The idea for Chop-E was born out of a necessity. One evening, good friends Allan Rosenberg and Dmitri Kovaltšu were talking about how Dmitri needed a means of transportation that was fast, but not fast enough as to require a driver’s license, and green so as to not add to the issue of pollution and congestion. They jokingly put together wheels and a make-believe frame in what would become the general outlines of the Chop-E and, three weeks later, they had the first prototype.

Chop-E was meant to be exactly what its name implies: an electric chopper. Aesthetically only. In reality, it could have been an electric bicycle, being limited electronically depending to national regulation. 

With help from a third friend, Eugene, they worked on the prototype until they found the perfect recipe for what they believed would be the final product. They took the Chop-E around the world, even making an appearance at the 2014 Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, where they were welcomed very warmly.

In fact, it was this kind of warm reception that got them thinking they had a shot at selling this electric chopper-style bike worldwide so, in 2015, they turned to KickStarter to raise $100,000. Once past that stage, the Chop-E would retail for €3,500 (or the equivalent of $3,900 at today’s rate) and ship worldwide, helping all riders “be the cool guy in the neighborhood.”

They never got to that stage and the campaign was canceled. Based on social media posts, it looks like Chop-E lived for a while longer after that, before slipping into total obscurity. We’ve reached out to the guys and will update this coverstory if they respond, with more details on the fate of the project.

With the programmable 1kW MagicPie 3.2 motor hidden in the front wheel and the 20Ah battery with BMS in the rear one, the Chop-E was able to reach speeds of 35 kph (22 mph) and a maximum range of 75 km (47 miles). The battery was non-removable, with a full charge possible in 3.5 hours.

The prototype weighed 66 kg (145 pounds), but the creators believed they could bring it down to 50 kg (110 pounds) by switching from steel to aluminum for the frame in production stage. It was also long, at 2 meters (6.6 feet) and featured mismatched wheels: a car rim with Pirelli tire in the rear, and a bicycle wheel in front.

As noted above, the reason the Chop-E never came to be had to do with the fact that its creators possibly aimed too high. The worldwide shipping was a bold goal, made impossible by the different sets of road regulations in the U.S. (and across states) and Europe. When they built the Chop-E, for instance, they could ride it on national roads without a driver’s license because it was still classified as an electric bicycle (side note: this also allowed them to offer it naked, without lights and mirrors, as you would expect on an actual chopper).

The Chop-E also received criticism for the non-matching wheels and there were safety concerns regarding the fact that it was so low it would’ve proved difficult for drivers of actual cars (think trucks or SUVs) to see a Chop-E rider on the road. The fact that it was neither bike nor bicycle, while pretending to be both, may have also played a part. Remember, this was before all the electric mopeds we see today, so the target audience was not as familiar with electric novelty pieces as it is today.

Ultimately, the Chop-E serves to prove that electric means of transport doesn’t have to be standard or boring, and that you can still be “cool” even if you’re green. It also stands to show that, sometimes, working your way up in increments towards the realization of your dream is better than gung-ho shooting towards the Sun.


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