Velomobiles, which can more or less be defined as enclosed human-powered tricycles, come in many shapes and forms. Both the Elf and the Tripod feature an electric-assist motor, and have opted for a look that's sort of like a cross between that of a trike and a car. The e-fox is the latest such vehicle to come to our attention. It offers the same basic features as its rivals, but at a lower estimated price.
The e-fox was designed by North Carolina-based entrepreneur Jesse Stephenson, and is being manufactured by his company Nu Way 2 Commute.
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It uses an existing Terra Trike Rover recumbent tricycle as its platform, onto which is added a fiberglass body shell; a windshield and rear window (plus roll-down clear plastic doors); a full lighting package; a 36-volt, 15-amp hour lithium battery; and last but not least, a 500-watt hub motor.
The whole shebang tips the scales at 132 lb (60 kg) and can carry a payload of up to 270 lb (122 kg).
Riders can choose between pedal-power only, pedaling with assistance from the motor, or using nothing but motor power. The e-fox has a maximum legally-allowable motorized speed of 20 mph (32 km/h), and should be able to travel about 30 miles (48 km) per charge using the motor alone. Users can extend that range – and get some exercise – by pedaling for at least part of the trip.
A full charge of the battery takes approximately four to five hours from empty.
Stephenson is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$4,500 will get you an e-fox of your own, when and if they're ready to go. The projected retail price is $4,850. That's around the range of some fairly high-end bicycles, and is still $145 less than the Elf and $2,600 less than the Tripod – plus it's a lot cheaper than a new car.
Jesse's wife Candy can be seen using an e-fox in the video below.