Five years ago, we heard about a bicycle that doubles as a beer bar. Clever though that may be, sometimes people need a jolt more than a buzz. Well, that's where Wheelys 2 comes in. It's an electric cargo trike that also happens to be a powered mobile coffee shop.
Wheelys 2 was created in Sweden, by members of The Nordic Society For Invention and Discovery (NSID) – the same collective that brought us the Nebula 12 indoor cloud-making system and the world's biggest iPod dock.
And, as its name suggests, Wheelys 2 isn't the first of its kind.
The original Wheelys 1 non-electric trike isn't all that different from the ice cream-vending trikes that enterprising kids used to schlep down the street. Its features include an insulated compartment for chilled beverages and snacks; a siphon-style coffee brewer; a butane-powered stove for heating that brewer; a 10-liter coffee Thermos; and a basin for catching spills when drinks are poured into the included Wheelys-branded disposable cups.
According to NSID, within just a few months of being launched, approximately 30 of those trikes were purchased by independent operators in over 10 countries.
The new Wheelys 2 adds a number of features, including electrically- or manually-pumped running water; an animated LCD menu board that can be linked to the operator's smartphone; a 20-liter water tank; a speaker for pumpin' out the tunes; a router for turning the trike into a Wi-Fi hotspot; and, a roof that can be lowered while riding.
Power is provided by an onboard battery pack, which also runs the electric-assist motor – no performance specs have been provided. Solar panels help keep that battery charged while the trike is parked.
With either version of Wheelys, operators purchase the trike, pay a monthly franchise fee, and then regularly receive the coffee beans and other brand-specific supplies needed to run the business. Whatever money they make in sales, they keep.
NSID is currently raising production funds for Wheelys 2, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$2,250 will currently get you a Wheelys 1, with $7,000 required for a Wheelys 2 – when and if it's ready to roll.