There's now one mö solar-electric velomobile on the road
Although velomobiles in general are a rather obscure class of vehicle, the human/solar-powered Elf is certainly one of the better-known recent examples. Inspired by its design and performance, Spanish startup evovelo recently put the finishing touches on the prototype of a similar vehicle, known as the mö. Like the Elf, it's propelled by pedal-power and/or an electric motor – and that motor is in turn powered by the sun.
The enclosed 85-kg (187-lb) tricycle seats two people side-by-side, plus it has room for things like bags of groceries or an infant seat.
Along with pedals it has a direct drive motor, the power of which can be adapted to meet legislation in different countries – it could range from 250 up to 1,500 watts. Besides receiving electricity from the rooftop photovoltaic panels, its 48V/15Ah battery pack can also be recharged via a sealed exterior charging port, or it can be removed and taken indoors to charge. According to evovelo, however, the sun should provide all the charge needed for "moderate use."
A regenerative braking system helps extend the vehicle's range, which is approximately 50 km (31 miles) in motor-only mode. Needless to say, that range can be extended if pedal-only or pedal-assist modes are used. The top electric-only speed will vary with the motor, although a top end of over 50 km/h (31 mph) is reportedly possible if it's set to 1,500 watts.
Other features include windows that fold down, a full lighting system and horn, mirrors, 20-inch composite or aluminum wheels, anti-puncture tires, and a choice or drum or disc brakes. It should also be noted that its body is made mainly from sustainable materials, such as wood or cellulose derivatives.
The designers are currently seeking beta testers for the mö, and can be contacted via the link below. Once it reaches production (hopefully later this year) the vehicle is expected to sell for around €4,500, or about US$4,886. Should you wish to make your own, it is an open source project – the designs will be made available once the beta program is complete.