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Electric Velomobiles: Urban Transportation For the Future, Available Now 201

Posted by timothy
from the let's-go-for-a-spin dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Low-Tech Magazine: "Both the velomobile and the electric bicycle increase the limited range of the cyclist — the former optimises aerodynamics and ergonomics, while the latter assists muscle power with an electric motor fuelled by a battery. The electric velomobile combines both approaches, and so maximises the range of the cyclist — so much so that it is able to replace most, if not all, automobile trips. A quarter of the existent wind turbines in the U.S. would suffice to power as many electric velomobiles as there are Americans." One thing I wish was included in the article — worth reading for the photos alone! — is a chart with prices and worldwide availability for more of the vehicles mentioned. They do mention, though, that the eWAW ("the Ferrari of the velomobiles") costs 7790 Euro.
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Electric Velomobiles: Urban Transportation For the Future, Available Now

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  • Cycle tracks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hack slash (1064002) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:31AM (#41870157)
    One of the places a velomobile would legally allowed to go but access (especially here in the UK) would often make it impossible to enter, which is why I really like my electric bike as it will happily go on roads and cycle tracks without fuss. But I wish the councils would fix the roads, pot holes are a bane (and sometimes danger) to the cyclist.
    • If you ride a decent full suspension MTB, pot holes suddenly become fun ;-)

      • Re:Cycle tracks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @04:49AM (#41871037) Homepage

        And if you ride a decent full suspension MTB, anywhere but potholes, it quickly becomes a chore because of all the energy you're losing pumping into the springs and those fat tyres. Yes, I've tried it.

        Look, I pedal to work on the few days a year when it seems likely that I won't arrive drenched in either rain, sweat or blood, but let's not pretend that it's a realistic transport panacea.

        • Re:Cycle tracks (Score:4, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday November 04, 2012 @08:35AM (#41871627) Homepage Journal

          You can fix the tire problem by running hybrids, like armadillos. You can fix the suspension problem by buying a shock with a stop that can be fixed. Then the only problem is the extra ten pounds of bike you're lugging around that could have been a street bike. Thing is, IMO street biking is solely for people who don't care if they die excessively sooner than necessary. And an enclosure that isn't a crash cell only makes the experience more dangerous by severely limiting your mobility. In the worst case I can fling myself off of my bicycle, possibly off of an embankment, to avoid a car, if one should try to run me down on one of the fire roads I occasionally have to use between trails. If I were sitting down in a plastic cocoon all I could do would be to pedal hard, steer for the embankment, and hope that I slide into a tree soon rather than down the hill forever.

        • Re:Cycle tracks (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MartinSchou (1360093) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @09:17AM (#41871795)

          With the type of bike talked about in the article, you can rule out rain and sweat as a show stopper, and then you're only facing blood when you have serious accidents.

          It's not a panacea, amongst other reasons due to some of the issues raised in the article, but all too many people seem to think it is impossible to ride a bike to and from work on a daily basis (I'm not saying you're one of them).

          This is in stark contrast with what you see in large European cities like Copenhagen, where 35% of all workers and students [www.kk.dk] use a bicycle for their commute. That's a city where the municipality alone has half a million people, and what most people would consider the urban area has another 700,000 inhabitants.

          Is it a panacea? No. But I wouldn't mind seeing what'd happen in Copenhagen, if the eWAW and similar bicycles were legal to use and affordable in Denmark. I'm pretty sure we would see a lot more bike riders.

          It obviously won't replace everything - goods still need to be transported, not everyone wants to ride a bike (even if they don't have to provide any power themselves) etc.

          It's a relatively small area, and since the eWAW seems to be capable of about 60 km unassisted at 30 km/h with a small battery (I'm guessing 500 Wh), this would rival make a lot of car commutes once you take rush hour into consideration, and with commutes about 30 km or less, we're not looking at close to two million inhabitants.

          With a 500 Wh battery, you'd need 1,000 MWh to charge the batteries needed for two million bikes. Let's call it 1200 MWh by including some inefficiencies in transmission and charging. And let's assume that on average they need to be charged in 4 hours.

          That requires 300 MW in production capacity, or to put it into perspective, roughly the same energy as put out by 8,000 cars using 50 HP. 300 MW is less than 8% of the wind power capacity in Denmark as of 2011 [windpower.org]. And as someone pointed out, charging a 500 Wh battery can be done with a relatively small solar panel. And while it'd obviously increase the weight and cost, I wouldn't be surprised, if you could get most of the 250 W, that the motor peaks at, from panels installed on the bike itself.

          Incidentally the cost of charging a 350 Wh battery is less than one Euro (DKK 4.22/kWh or roughly 57 cent/kWh [dongenergy.dk]) at the most expensive prices I can find. It's pretty difficult to find a cheaper way to travel 60 km.

          Sadly these bikes aren't cheap. Not even close to cheap. They seem to cost in the neighbourhood of 5,000 to 10,000 Euros, which puts them fairly close to the cost of a small car, and thus makes them much less viable as a replacement for the car for commuting.

          It's a shame, because it'd make for a serious decrease in local air and noise pollution.

        • I made 2000 km this year with a full suspension MTB (and another 1500 on a hardtail). It is not that bad if you've got a platform rear suspension (Manitou SPV, Fox ProPedal, you name it) and slick tyres. So no, it is not anywhere as bad as you describe it.

          • by tylernt (581794)

            MTB ... is not that bad if you've got ... slick tyres

            Agreed -- that's what I use. And you can air up those slick tires to rock-hard pressures for even less rolling resistance, while still retaining some degree of ride quality thanks to the suspension.

        • by dasunt (249686)

          Look, I pedal to work on the few days a year when it seems likely that I won't arrive drenched in either rain, sweat or blood, but let's not pretend that it's a realistic transport panacea.

          A countless amount of people manage to ride the bus everyday to and from work. That almost always includes a walk to or from a bus stop.

          If these individuals manage to walk without any issue, I don't see why they can't replace that leg of a trip with a bicycle (electric or otherwise).

  • 25 miles per hour (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:34AM (#41870169) Homepage

    The headline says "Fast and Comfortable as Automobiles" but later in the text it says "Over a period of about an hour and a half, Brecht and I managed to reach an average speed of 40 km/h (25 mph)" and "my attempt to go any faster than 50 km/h (30 mph) left me frustrated -- the vehicle lacks the high gears needed for those speeds" (and the article goes on to note that the electric motor cuts out entirely at that speed; it's entirely pedal powered.)
    I wouldn't call "able to reach average speeds of 25 miles per hour" to be "fast as automobiles."

    • Re:25 miles per hour (Score:5, Informative)

      by hack slash (1064002) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:43AM (#41870199)
      Legal reasons are a likely for the explanation of the motor cutting out at a certain speed. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws [wikipedia.org] for a comprehensive breakdown of legalities regarding electric bikes speed/weight/motor power in US states and around the world.
    • by adolf (21054)

      In town, the average speed of my car tends to hover below 20MPH.

      I don't think I want a velomobile for any sort of highway jaunt, but it might be handier than a car for getting to the store that's about 9 blocks from my house.

      • but it might be handier than a car for getting to the store that's about 9 blocks from my house.

        You know what else might be handier for a store that close? Walking. And I'll sell you all the equipment you need for the discount price of 5000 Euro! That's more than 2000 Euro less than the Velomobile!

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Are you insane? That would take almost 10 minutes! I don't have 10 minutes! :)

          When I lived in Manhattan, 10 blocks was approximately the threshold where I'd consider hopping on a bus, depending on the weather and traffic. It was a 10-15 walk to the subway, so I have kind of a different perspective on walking distances than most of my suburban brethren. If I walk 2 miles with my kids to the ice cream shop, they think I've gone mad.

      • by reboot246 (623534)

        I don't think I want a velomobile for any sort of highway jaunt, but it might be handier than a car for getting to the store that's about 9 blocks from my house.

        I hope you're not planning to buy much at that store. The velomobile hasn't got much space for stuff.

    • by ls671 (1122017)

      Speed maniacs buy modified Sinclair C5 tricycles that go 150 mph:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_C5#Modified_C5s [wikipedia.org]

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Yeah it's not very fast my average speed is 30km/h on my MTB, a simple racing bike can do a 40km/h average.

  • by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:38AM (#41870181)

    Interesting article.

    However, I think the big problem for these is safety, particularly if you must share the road with cars, trucks and busses. Even for a very fit driver, 50 km/h seems to be a high speed, which is significantly lower than general road traffic in Australia. Combine that with the extremely low profile... let's just say that the odds of getting caught dead in one of these seem a little high for my comfort.

    Now, in cities with excellent bike networks, that wouldn't be such an issue - IF the vehicle actually meets the legal requirements for use on bike paths. I'm not sure whether these would be allowed on the bike network in my city. If I had to guess, I'd say the purely muscle powered ones probably are, but I am honestly unsure about the electric/muscle hybrids.

    I don't think I'd pay 8000 euros, but if there is one available for, say, 1000 euros, I think I would be interested. You'd want to have somewhere to keep it locked up and safe, though.

    • by tftp (111690)

      Even for a very fit driver, 50 km/h seems to be a high speed,

      This is one of my personal concerns about bicycle riders. They pedal so hard that they can't look around - they are too busy. On a motorbike it's not a problem, your body is free to lean and look back. This vehicle at least helps with that problem because it is inherently stable.

      I'm not sure whether these would be allowed on the bike network in my city.

      This vehicle is not very likely to fit into most bike lanes. And it is not suitable for b

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        [cyclists] pedal so hard that they can't look around - they are too busy.

        My motorcycle and I were once undertaken on a slippery wet roundabout by a furious pedalist who was absolutely determined not to lose momentum. Had I not been riding with due care and attention, I've have taken him out on the exit.

        Dear bicyclists: road rules are there for your protection. Moralfaggotry does not protect you in the event of a collision.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Even for a very fit driver, 50 km/h seems to be a high speed,

        This is one of my personal concerns about bicycle riders. They pedal so hard that they can't look around - they are too busy. On a motorbike it's not a problem, your body is free to lean and look back. This vehicle at least helps with that problem because it is inherently stable.

        And also because it's a human-electric hybrid.

        it is not suitable for bike paths that are not perfectly flat (with only 6" of clearance it got to be perfect

        No, the real issue is that with three wheels, you can't stand still on sharp camber where a bicycle would do fine. That means that if you meet a jog stroller on the path, and there's a hill to one side, someone will have trouble. A bicycle can handle stopping and standing on extreme camber.

        this ridiculous price is only to harvest the early crop of rich fools

        Early?

        until the price drops to some realistic number, like $300

        But that will never, ever happen, for a broad variety of reasons, most of which begin with L and end with iability.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @03:12AM (#41870725)

      For what it's worth, this is the definition of a bicycle under Australian road rules [ntc.gov.au]:

      bicycle means a vehicle with 2 or more wheels that is built to be
      propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or
      not it has an auxiliary motor), and:
        (a) includes a pedicab, penny-farthing and tricycle; but
        (b) does not include a wheelchair, wheeled recreational device,
      wheeled toy, or any vehicle with an auxiliary motor capable
      of generating a power output over 200 watts (whether or not
      the motor is operating).

      The 200W limit is what kills most power assisted bikes (not that it stops many people, they'll only get in trouble if they're being dickheads or end up in an accident).

  • Sorry, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PapayaSF (721268) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:05AM (#41870273) Journal

    There's absolutely zero chance that anything like this is going to be more than a rare oddity in the US. This is only suited to young, single, in-shape people, almost all male, who don't mind getting exercise on their way to work or a date, and never need a vehicle that holds more than a bag of groceries, much less another person (or two or three). In fact, is there even room for one bag of groceries? Oh, and they are all daredevilish enough to not be worried about stiff winds tipping them over or all the trucks and SUVs that loom over them. So we're talking about an infinitesimal sliver of the population.

    It also needs to be locked down because any two guys could just carry one away, but it's too big for existing bike racks, and many standard car parking places don't have anything to lock to. I predict these will be as popular as the Sinclair C-5 [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:Sorry, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @04:29AM (#41870935) Homepage
      And like the C5 - and the Segway - its few devotees will continue to claim that the problems will be dealt with by re-designing entire cities in order to facilitate their particular mode of transport. Meanwhile - oh, hang on, the doorbell just rang. It's Alyson Hannigan, she's decided to finally accept one of those 200 indecent propositions that I send her every day!
      • And like the C5 - and the Segway - its few devotees will continue to claim that the problems will be dealt with by re-designing entire cities in order to facilitate their particular mode of transport.

        Which is why cities like Copenhagen doesn't see any kind of bicycle traffic at all, and the 35% of commutes that they claim are done by bicycle [www.kk.dk] are all just part of a massive a conspiracy.

    • and never need a vehicle that holds more than a bag of groceries,

      These cycles do hold much more than "a bag of groceries". They're very practical, actually.

  • by tftp (111690) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:17AM (#41870327) Homepage

    This vehicle combines the worst parts of bicycle experience with the worst parts of car experience. It only can be used to deliver your body from point A to point B - even though many, if not most, trips require carrying cargo (even as little as a laptop bag; but often groceries are also required.) This works only on absolutely flat land, and in good weather. In case of an accident your body will be neatly squashed by wheels of larger vehicles, making it a death trap. There are no creature comforts, such as a/c or radio or headlights, which makes it dangerous to drive at high temperatures (half of the year in half of the USA) or at night (other half of the year in another half of the USA.) Usability-wise, it's another Ginger (Segway,) only even less practical. Only well trained young men can ride the thing. Children cannot use it; older persons cannot use it; women, being statistically weaker, cannot use them. Even tired people, after a full day of honest work, may not need another exercise on their way home. Riders will arrive to their destinations soaked in sweat, stinking, dusty; their arms and legs will be shaking from exertion, and it will take some time for them to cool down and be ready to work at the office. All in all, this is yet another fringe vehicle for the same, well known fringe group that insists that public roads are their personal gym.

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @02:21AM (#41870565)

      Your post show how misinformed you are:

      This vehicle combines the worst parts of bicycle experience with the worst parts of car experience. It only can be used to deliver your body from point A to point B - even though many, if not most, trips require carrying cargo (even as little as a laptop bag; but often groceries are also required.)

      See this video. [youtube.com]

      This works only on absolutely flat land, and in good weather.

      See this video. [youtube.com]

      In case of an accident your body will be neatly squashed by wheels of larger vehicles, making it a death trap.

      See this video [youtube.com] and this video. [youtube.com]

      See this video [youtube.com] and this video [youtube.com]

      Only well trained young men can ride the thing

      See this video [photobucket.com]

      As for the rest of your comments, you'll find plenty of videos and sites to prove you wrong. I can't be bothered to find them for you just right now.

      • by tftp (111690)

        Good collection of links! But many of these videos are outright scary. Note the windshield is covered in water - is there a wiper? Two crashes were shown; one is a minor bump of no consequence to any vehicle; another was a series of photos where the smaller vehicle was seriously damaged and overturned. Given tight quarters, the driver could be hurt even from that. Lack of crumple zones and small weight means that in a high speed collision the whole vehicle is accelerated to the speed of the other car in mi

        • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

          This vehicle can be operated as all electric, but expecting 50-100W energy output from a 60-year old in average shape for 20-30 minutes isn't high exertion. I think that is around 150 calories per hour.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Most seemed to prove him right. I didn't look at all of them. But 2 of 2 I did look at proved him right. They are unsafe, slow, and expensive.
      • The "arriving at your destination drenched in sweat" part is quite enough to disqualify this vehicle. I tried actually riding a bicycle for transportation and quickly discovered this. I note also that this vehicle discriminates against the differently-abled.
    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Sunday November 04, 2012 @04:52AM (#41871055) Journal

      You've obviously never even been moderately fit. If you're only moderately fit, even an hour on a bicycle won't leave your limbs shaking. That only happens when you're unfit.

      Also women can ride bicycles very long distances at pretty impressive speeds. It happens all the time outside of the USA. Since this thing is supposed to reduce the effort of cycling, it should make it more accessable to anyone not super-fit.

  • I keep seeing the author use the phrase "ample space for luggage" without once saying what that means. I doubt we'd agree on that phrase either. I think I routinely have more junk packed into my car than could fit in his velomobile even if we took everything out, including the driver and all internal machinery.

    And I don't relish turning a day long trip of 750 miles (a particular trip which I do several times a year incidentally, hence that specific number) into a multiday expedition, with my body contrib
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by roc97007 (608802)

      > And I don't relish turning a day long trip of 750 miles (a particular trip which I do several times a year incidentally, hence that specific number) into a multiday expedition, with my body contributing most of the work. I think most of humanity has established that they prefer quicker travel times and more comfortable commutes over better fuel economy.

      Look on the bright side. The more people using these things, the more gas for the rest of us.

  • I want one! I work from home - so if there's room for groceries, this would handle 80% of my driving, and give me a workout while I'm at it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:26AM (#41870369)

    The velomobiles look a lot like the Sinclair C5 electric vehicle, which put Sir Clive Sinclair's company out of business. People hated the C5 because it was impractical, expensive, dangerous, and because it looked silly.

    They appear to be considerably more dangerous than a normal bicycle - they surely lack maneuverability, handy for avoiding accidents, and they operate much nearer the ground, making them invisible to vehicles with a high ride height.

  • These bikes can easily cruise at 30 mph on the flat on muscle power alone for extended periods of time.

    See this video [youtube.com] or this one [youtube.com] for instance,

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      We have different definitions of "easily". It's an interesting video, but it shows is being used under absolutely ideal conditions: flat, few junctions (and I didn't see any indicators or hand signals), light and amazingly polite traffic, few stop-starts.

      Note at 9:00 a Honda CBF125 disappearing into the distance, getting in excess of 100mpg as it does so, and not riding in the Door Zone. With lights, indicators, better brakes, better visibility, more ability to filter through traffic (without pavement h

  • osteo arthritis

    • That is a plus point. It reduces Osteoarthritis.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        That is a plus point. It reduces Osteoarthritis.

        Hmm. That's what the insurance company said, [1] but I've had two doctors say that's pretty much nonsense. Exercise, if you can stand it, does keep the muscles and tendons in shape, which tends to hold things together better, but does not mitigate the fact that your joints are essentially grinding together bone on bone. There's apparently nothing practical that will regrow the missing cartilage, and short of knee replacement, treatment generally consist of reducing the pain, not reducing the damage.

        Mind

  • Let's see people use these things in Phoenix, Arizona, in the summertime.

    • by cvtan (752695)
      Or in upstate NY in the winter. Plus even if my wife could get in one of these she couldn't get out of it. Plus you would need a motorcycle license for a 3-wheeler. Plus electric bikes have restrictions state by state...
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @03:13AM (#41870727)

    ...if air conditioning was an option. Seriously. I couldn't imagine being couped up in one of these things on a 100F day. Or pedaling one to work on a muggy 80F morning. That's the main reason I don't ride a bike to work (a couple miles away): Summer mornings are nasty hot, and I simply can't show up to work dripping in sweat as there is no shower.

    Give them some climate control, then you might see more adoption.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)

      Bingo. And there is a shower at my workplace. One shower. For, what, 100 people? How many of us can commute by bicycle without making the place smell like a a Turkish flophouse?

      Pedalling is a great means of transport for filthy hippies. Literally.

      • How many of us can commute by bicycle without making the place smell like a a Turkish flophouse?

        You call it "Turkish flophouse" . . . I call it, "home" . . .

        I do a train and Brompton http://www.brompton.co.uk/ [brompton.co.uk] combo to work, and have no sweat problems. Ten minutes train, twenty minutes bike, each way. I am physically fit and ride at a relaxed speed, so I never break out in a sweat. Hmmm . . . maybe I am physically fit, because I ride a bike. No, that can't be, people are fat because of large drink sizes, chemicals in soda cans, toys in Happy Meals, and other things beyond their control.

        Pedalling is a great means of transport for filthy hippies. Literally.

        So what is

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          So until the attitude about bikes in the US changes, no spiffy technology is going to get folks on bikes.

          I would love to bike to work. I work 10 miles away, and I have arranged our living situation such that my kids are a walk away from school. I'm under 40, so I should be fit enough to pedal 20 miles each day.

          The problem is safety. I have no way to get into work safely on a bicycle. One of my biking enthusiast friends guided me on a route that he considers safe, but I must say that it terrified me. At one point, the road was so narrow that cars could not pass a bicycle safely and so he showed me his strategy

  • by multicoregeneral (2618207) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @03:29AM (#41870799) Homepage
    It really does look like they would be a piece of cake to steal. I mean, the biggest obstacle to stealing a regular car is its size. Plain and simple. There's no possible way you can lift one up, and put it in the back of your pickup. You actually have to put work into rewiring it, or hacking it in some way. These things... you would need some kind of embedded gps system or similar deterrent to keep them from being stolen. Hell of an opportunity for guys who do that kind of coding.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It really does look like they would be a piece of cake to steal. I mean, the biggest obstacle to stealing a regular car is its size. Plain and simple. There's no possible way you can lift one up, and put it in the back of your pickup.

      I guess you've never seen a car hauler with a winch. You can use rolling jacks to slide the car into the street, then winch it into the car hauler, and drive away with no one the wiser. Or on a hill, you can park a flatbed downhill from the vehicle, and winch it that way.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        I'm sure you'd agree that your average thief might find it easier to procure a pickup than a car hauler...

  • I can recall some exciting work which involved placing an electric motor in each wheel hub and returning energy from braking, and having a small diesel engine running at a constant and tuned RPM topping off the system. Why not do this for a small compact car instead of messing with what would be a soap bubble compared to what much of the world deals with on it's roads. No way one of those would survive even the local roads around Detroit (and elsewhere of course), and highways are a necessary evil that thes
    • Mitsubishi abandoned hub motors for its miev precisely because they make the unsprung weight too high. The results is poor handling as the wheels bounce around. It is better to go down the Toyota route with a hybrid design that uses two electric motors to provide the variable gearing (there are explanations on the Web). The Yaris hybrid already achieves 79g/km for carbon dioxide emissions using an optimised gasoline engine, and a Diesel variant wouldn't be worth the additional build, servicing and repair co
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Diesels generally require less service, though they do often have higher parts costs. These days though gasoline engines are going to direct-injection, so they have both a high-pressure fuel injection system and a spark system. Subaru in particular has a lightweight diesel engine because they are using opposed pistons, which would be an ideal genset motor if produced in a two-cylinder configuration. It would sound ghastly but there wouldn't be any pulsation feel from it if it were only running a generator.

        H

  • Sir Clive Sinclair said he had an extremely efficient electric vehicle [wikipedia.org]. It also turned out to be too slow for traffic, dangerous, and uncomfortable,, and the company was put into receivership in 1985.
  • I do wonder how a car built to the same downgraded specs would cost. I always come away with the impression that all these contraptions, driven by a pint-size diesel engine, would do 200 km/litre, cost half the price of the electric version, and on a total life accounting probably be as environmentally friendly not to notice the difference. And remember, a well thought out diesel engine is good for 300.000 km, my car has 130.000, and a cousin of mine's is ticking after 500.000.

    As always, tough, it's app
  • Only suited, it seems to me, for use in large numbers if you've got more land to waste than you know what to do with (which is the case in some parts of the world but not others).

    In constrained city streets there is neither the road space nor the parking space for vehicles like this. OK so it might be a modest improvement if motorists started using them, but it would be a pretty catastrophic backwards step if existing cyclists started using them in any numbers.

  • without mentioning it, the author of the article assumes that you will completely drain the battery on every commute, for both the velomobile, and the electric car. With that completely rediculous assumption, he comes to the figure of 25% of the windturbines.

  • "According to New York State and municipal legislation, electric bikes are 100 percent illegal to ride. The good news for e-bike proponents? The laws regarding the bikes are so contradictory and confusing that you’d be hard-pressed to find a police officer who would give you a ticket."
    http://observer.com/2012/08/hell-on-wheels-environmentally-friendly-electric-bikes-poses-city-menace-or-do-they/ [observer.com]
  • by Jack Greenbaum (7020) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:14PM (#41873223) Homepage
    Obviously no one here has ever ridden a recumbent bicycle in traffic. If you had, you'd see how rediculous it is to even think of taking one of these on pavement shared with cars. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY INVISIBLE TO CARS in a vehicle this low. And because of the enclosure you have no peripheral vision so you cannot look out for other vehicles -- even other velomobiles. I didn't see one "safety flag" in any of the pictures, which tells me that none of these vehicles are used by anyone who cares for their life, or they are just toys for a weekend cruise. As other posters have said, these are only practical with a different road system, and I argue a different bike path system. How would you handle passing a group of 15mph standard bicyclists in your vision impared wide wheelbase trike wheeled monster? You wouldn't, it wouldn't be safe on bike paths of today for you or the other riders.

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