World's first GPS-equipped electric bicycle
Sarawak Tribune  Wednesday June 18, 2003

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TOKYO - An affiliate of Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial said Tuesday it will launch the world's first electric bicycles equipped with GPS enabling owners to trace stolen bikes.

National Bicycle Industrial Co. Ltd., affiliated with the consumer electronics giant known for its National and Panasonic brands, will launch the electric power-assisted bicycles in Japan in mid-August.

Prices will range from 74,800 yen (637 dollars) to 124,800 yen, not much different from the models currently available. The global positioning system (GPS) is linked to SECOM Co. Ltd., Japan's leading security company, and the users can locate their bicycles in real time, National Bicycle said in a statement.

Users will have to pay 900 yen a month to SECOM for the service. The company "hopes that the GPS feature will deter theft," National -Bicycle president Hiroshi Nakagawa was quoted as saying. "Even if the bicycle is stolen, its location can be tracked, and a SECOM security agent will rush to the spot upon the user's request," he said.
Users can also purchase the new system separately and have it installed on earlier models of electric bicycles manufactured by National Bicycle.
The market of bicycles with assist power from rechargeable batteries - favoured by mothers with young children or heavy shopping to carry - is growing in Japan with the introduction of lower-price or less-heavy models.

About 200,000 such electric bicycles were sold in Japan in the year to March 2003 with prices ranging from the equivalent of about 550 dollars to 1,100 dollars.

Given the high price, many owners are concerned about losing their bicycles. -AFP
 

WORLD's FIRST... An employee of Japan's Matsushita Electric
( Panasonic ) Industrial shows a global positioning system ( GPS ) supplied security company SECOM co Ltd. which the system equipped for Matsushita's electric bicycles during a press preview in Tokyo, June 17, 2003. National Bicycle Industrial Co.Ltd., affiliated with the consumer electronic giant known for its National and Panasonic brands, will launch the electric power-assisted bicycles in Japan in mid-August. Prices will range from 74,800 yen ( US$637) to 124,800 yen ( US$1,062). The GPS is linked to SECOM Co.Ltd. Japan's leading security company and the users can locate their bicycles in real time, National Bicycle said.