Rad Power Bikes Has 4 New Models—and Safer Batteries

The Seattle ebike company Rad Power Bikes has announced four new ebike models, all of which have the very important distinction of being unlikely to have their batteries suddenly burst into flames.

The company says its new Safe Shield Batteries—which come standard on all four new bikes—have been certified at UL-2271, an industry standard ranking for battery safety. That means the batteries on these models of Rad Power’s bikes won’t be nearly as susceptible to the kinds of battery fires that have been plaguing low-end ebikes and scooters and have led to injuries and nearly 20 deaths in the US.

Rad Power had 30,000 of its RadWagon 4 ebikes recalled in 2022 due to misaligned tires, an issue the company has apologized for and says it has fixed. There’s been one reported case of a Rad Power bike catching fire, but other than that the company hasn’t contributed to the wave of cheap ebike battery fires. We tend to like Rad Power’s bikes quite a bit here at WIRED, so this increase in battery safety is welcome news, especially because of the added emphasis on the whole “not exploding” thing.

The RadExpand 5 Plus is a folding bike with an electric drivetrain powered by the new battery.

Photograph: Rad Power Bikes

Rad Power’s new bikes come in a few forms. There’s its Radster commuter bike, which comes in Road and Trail models for different terrains. Both start at $1,999. The company also announced the RadExpand 5 Plus, an $1,899 folding bike, and its new iteration of the cargo-oriented RadWagon 5, which starts at $2,199.

Here’s some other consumer tech news from this week.

Ask Wendy’s Anything

Reddit is trying to make itself friendlier to marketers. This week, the company announced a new suite of tools, called Reddit Pro, that will be available to businesses for free.

Reddit Pro offers brands a variety of ways to engage with the platform’s users, in service of helping advertisers better pour themselves into every eyeball remotely possible. For instance, Reddit will offer “AI-powered insights” that the company says will sift through the site’s 17 billion posts to find relevant threads and topics that companies can then use to “join or start conversations” (aka deploying their deeply cringe marketing tactics). That means when you write a comment about, say, Wendy’s, in a thread way down on a tiny subreddit, the brand’s social media team will have an easier time finding it and spouting off some sassy brand banter in the replies.

It’s the latest move in Reddit’s slow, controversial quest for profitability (and possibly enshittification). Reddit filed to take the company public in February, which will enable it to sell stock to shareholders. The company, which has never proven profitable, is eager to make its platform more appealing to advertisers who can spend money in its forums. This is likely why Reddit has made moves like charging an exorbitant amount of money for the tools developers use to access the platform’s data, effectively killing third-party apps. This move of giving brands and advertisers an easier portal into every segment of the site is another stab at those ambitions.

Dodge This

There’s a new Dodge chargin’ onto the scene. Yes, it’s a Charger, the beefy, grotesquely fuel-inefficient muscle car that’s been roaring across roads for the better part of the past century. In 2021, Dodge announced it would ditch its gas-powered Chargers in favor of electric variants. This week, the first stage of that rollout has officially begun.

Billed—somewhat arguably—as “the world’s first and only electric muscle car,” the Dodge Charger Daytona Scat Pack EV is an absolutely juiced-up road-rage machine that’s bound to be the closest thing you can get to driving a Transformer. It boasts up to 670 horsepower and has a quoted zero-to-60 time of 3.3 seconds. The car also comes with an array of features meant to make it easier to mainline high-octane driving adrenaline. There are dedicated performance modes for rubber-burnin’ excursions like Drag, Track, Drift, and Donut modes. Another setting, called PowerShot, increases horsepower by 40 hp for 15 seconds. It’s like injecting your car with nitrous oxide but keeping it street legal.

Nikon Takes a Red Eye

Camera manufacturer Nikon announced this week that it is scooping up the cinematic camera company Red. Red’s professional digital cameras have a long reputation in cinematography circles for pushing the boundaries of what camera sensors and optics can do. They’re traditionally expensive, beefy devices aimed at professionals producing cinema-quality content. If you watch any big-budget shows or movies on network television or the streamers, you’ve surely seen something shot on Red.

This move by Nikon points to the company’s video ambitions. Nikon makes very good photography cameras but has struggled to compete with the likes of Canon when it comes to video. Buying a premium video-camera company may certainly give the brand a leg up.

Hey Google, U OK?

There’s always lots going on at Google. As one of the biggest tech firms in the world, the company often attracts a lot of scrutiny and criticism, much of it warranted. But Google’s been on a roll lately, with problems stemming from its rush to push out AI products, its recent rounds of layoffs, and internal discrimination against its own employees. All of this makes for a very chaotic time for the company, which raises the ultimate question: Is Google OK?

This week on WIRED’s Gadget Lab podcast, we talk about the online uproar about Google’s Gemini AI going “woke” and all the internal turmoil roiling the big Silicon Valley company.

HurryTimer: Invalid campaign ID.