BMW-designed e-trike leans into corners – but just in front
Electric-assist cargo trikes may offer a stable ride on the straightaways, but they do have a nasty tendency to tip over when taking corners. The Cube Concept Dynamic Cargo e-trike addresses that problem, with an independently tilting front end.
Developed via a partnership between Germany's BMW Group, Cube Bikes and electric mobility company SoFlow, the prototype vehicle will be presented next week in Munich as part of the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung Mobility 2021 exhibition.
Whereas some tricycles address the tipping issue with two front wheels that tilt into corners relative to the rest of the trike, the Cube Concept takes a different approach. It has a single-wheeled front end much like that of a regular bike, which is connected to the two-wheeled rear end via a pivoting axle.
This arrangement allows the rider – with their high center of weight – to lean into corners as they would on a conventional bicycle. The non-leaning rear end remains flat as they do so, holding its load level. Thanks to a variety of modular attachments, that load could consist of two children in dual child seats, or different types of inanimate cargo.
Although not much in the way of specs have been revealed at this point, the trike does feature disc brakes, front suspension, a Bosch bottom bracket motor, and a maximum load capacity of 220 kg (485 lb) – that figure includes the weight of the rider, with the cargo bed itself being rated at 60 kg (132 lb).
And yes, with the vehicle's pivoting design, you may be wondering how the front-end crankset and motor are able to drive the two rear-end wheels. Well, a sort of universal-joint-like differential on the rear axle is utilized – it's rather difficult to describe, but is illustrated in the video below.
There's currently no word on when (or if) the Cube Concept Dynamic Cargo e-trike will enter production.