Urban Transport

Bridgestone's pedal-electric trike looks sharp, and might reach production

Bridgestone's pedal-electric t...
Designer Shungo Fujita with his pedal-electric trike
Designer Shungo Fujita with his pedal-electric trike
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Designer Shungo Fujita with his pedal-electric trike
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Designer Shungo Fujita with his pedal-electric trike
The Bridgestone trike at the Tokyo Auto Show
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The Bridgestone trike at the Tokyo Auto Show
The trike utilizes a belt drive and disc brakes
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The trike utilizes a belt drive and disc brakes
The trike's cockpit
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The trike's cockpit
A rear view of the trike
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A rear view of the trike
The trike's rear wheel
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The trike's rear wheel
An almost-rider's-view from the trike
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An almost-rider's-view from the trike
Plans are in place to manufacture the vehicles as a means of transport for the athletes at Tokyo's 2020 Olympic village
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Plans are in place to manufacture the vehicles as a means of transport for the athletes at Tokyo's 2020 Olympic village

When you think of Bridgestone, you probably think of tires. The fact is, though, the company also makes bicycles, golf equipment, and has tried its hand at motorcycles. Bridgestone designer Shungo Fujita decided to combine all three things in one stunning concept vehicle – a pedal-electric trike that can carry a set of golf clubs.

We spied the trike at the Tokyo Motor Show, where Fujita informed us that Bridgestone likes his concept so much, plans are in place to manufacture the vehicles as a means of transport for the athletes at Tokyo's 2020 Olympic village.

Does this mean a commercial production run could also be in the works? The trike is a little reminiscent of the Sinclair X-1, a partially-faired pedal-electric bike that was supposed to become commercially available a couple of years ago, but apparently never did.

The Bridgestone trike at the Tokyo Auto Show
The Bridgestone trike at the Tokyo Auto Show

Shungo was reluctant to discuss the trike's specs, although after some gentle prodding he told us that its electric assist motor is rated at 600 watts, giving the vehicle a top motor-assisted speed of 30 km/h (19 mph).

Here's to hoping that we might someday be able to buy one for ourselves!

12 comments
Cor Vanistendael
The Sinclair did actually came into production but never was a succes. The actual Velomobiles are a better choice and far more effective aerodynamically. Have a look at www.velomobiel.nl and you will find out.
Gary Bonney
Cor, I think you maybe confusing the C5 Sinclair that was released many years ago but was a failure sales wise, with the X-1 that was announced a couple of years ago but never reached market unfortunately as it looked promising. If you are interested google Sincair X1.
The Skud
The main problem with the Sinclair was that drivers (riders?) were terrified - being so low and small they were almost invisible in traffic unless large red flags on sticks were added. This looked uncool as well.
T N Args
Yes, Bridgestone have been respected for their bicycles since the 1960's IIRC. Nice to see them still thinking about cyclists needs.
Jeremy Davies
Its interesting that most of these prototypes don't seem to look at the actual legal requirements for electric tricycles and what this actually means for saleability. A 600W motor is no good for EU regs, it woudl have to be taxed, insured and registered, type tested (= cost) - similarly I cant see the weight beign below the 60kg required by EU law. Also - it carries one person.
Richard Guy
Will it tilt/carve? it had better else it will to very top heavy and will corner dangerously. If they pull it off.... it could be a great success. But many people have tried and failed with the same concept. There are huge issues with the cost of the canopy, regulation (motor limits, weight limits) - especially in the EU. Entry price - velomobiles suffer from the same: a good machine pushes in to "we could buy a car for that, darling" territory. And luggage capability. I've spent years looking at these machines and this market ;. I have a tilting trike of my own. What missing, in truth, from the market place is a two seater/tandem: a pedelec version of the x-prize winning monotracer or Lit motors C-1 ; possibly an adaption of an existing e-cargo bike (change cargo for second rider/passenger) with some sort of light canopy and fairing
Riaanh
Lovely little vehicle, well done to the designer.
castle1925
Nice concept here, but to be a contender, I would up the motor to 48v / 1500 watts or thereabouts. This would allow the vehicle to keep up with traffic, which I find it safer in my experience with electric bikes. It beats having cars constantly trying to get around you and honking their horns.
kamaaina
Obviously Bridgestone must have golf carts replacements in mind, so golfers can add a little more exercise while golfing. Can this go up and down the grass terrain without damaging the fairway? How about mud clinging to the pedals and tires as you brake? Can golf courses stomach the doubling of the trikes on their courses?
Gadgeteer
That windshield is too narrow to do much of anything for aerodynamics or weather protection. There's no windshield wiper, so seeing through it in rain would be very difficult. The thick A-pillars intrude too much into the field of view. No lights or mirrors. No handholds so getting in and out would be difficult. Like most concept vehicles, this thing just isn't practical in the real world. It might be useful in good weather for a short-term event like the Olympics, inside the low traffic confines of the Olympic village, but not for commuting on regular roads in the long term. Grant Petersen, former head honcho of Bridgestone's US division and renowned retrogrouch, would tear this thing apart with his criticism. Not that he's infallible, either, but that's beside the point.