Urban Transport

Convertible velomobile looks hot, but is made to stay cool

Convertible velomobile looks h...
The Cabriovelo, ready to roll
The Cabriovelo, ready to roll
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The Cabriovelo stores its own folding roof and sides when they're not in use
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The Cabriovelo stores its own folding roof and sides when they're not in use
The original Cabriovelo was developed several years ago by German inventor Christian Wagner, with styling provided by colleague Juergen Mayerle
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The original Cabriovelo was developed several years ago by German inventor Christian Wagner, with styling provided by colleague Juergen Mayerle
In its present form, the Cabriovelo weighs 45 kg (99 lb)
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In its present form, the Cabriovelo weighs 45 kg (99 lb)
Along with its stowable roof and side panels, the Cabriovelo also features a full lighting system including turn indicators, and a 200-liter rear cargo compartment that can accommodate an optional child seat
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Along with its stowable roof and side panels, the Cabriovelo also features a full lighting system including turn indicators, and a 200-liter rear cargo compartment that can accommodate an optional child seat
The Cabriovelo with its roof and sides in place
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The Cabriovelo with its roof and sides in place
The Cabriovelo, ready to roll
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The Cabriovelo, ready to roll
The Cabriovelo can be equipped with a front hub motor
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The Cabriovelo can be equipped with a front hub motor

For those who don't know, velomobiles are (usually) recumbent tricycles that are enclosed in an aerodynamic fairing. They often have an electric-assist motor, thus putting them in a niche somewhere between bike and car. And while fully-enclosed ones offer excellent foul-weather protection, they can get too hot when it's warm outside. That's why the Cabriovelo was created. It's a convertible velomobile, which stores its own folding roof and sides when they're not in use.

The original Cabriovelo was developed several years ago by German inventor Christian Wagner, with styling provided by colleague Juergen Mayerle. Although it never went beyond the prototype stage, Italian mechanical engineer David De Regibus recently took over the project, and now hopes to commercially produce the vehicle in the Lake Garda region of Italy.

In its present form, the Cabriovelo weighs 45 kg (99 lb) – although an optional version with a carbon fiber fairing will likely be a little lighter. Along with its stowable roof and side panels, it also features a full lighting system including turn indicators, and a 200-liter rear cargo compartment that can accommodate an optional child seat.

The Cabriovelo with its roof and sides in place
The Cabriovelo with its roof and sides in place

Another option is a 250-watt hub motor in the front wheel, powered by a 36V 11-Ah lithium battery pack. Given that the pedals power the rear wheels, the addition of the motor essentially gives the thing the capacity for three-wheel-drive. It has a throttle-only range of 100 km (62 miles).

Other extras include an electric windshield wiper, joystick or T-bar steering, and Loopwheels suspended rear wheels. Different gearing options are available per the buyer's request.

The Cabriovelo can be equipped with a front hub motor
The Cabriovelo can be equipped with a front hub motor

De Regibus and his team at Velobenaco have just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, in order to finance production. Different pledge levels will go towards the eventual retail price, which should start at €3,900 (about US$4,367). If the financial goal is met and all else goes according to plan, shipping is estimated to begin next May.

The Cabriovelo can be seen in action, in the following video. And should it look a little familiar, that may be because it bears a slight resemblance to the famously unsuccessful Sinclair C5. Additionally, a separate project is developing a hard-top version of it for use in the UK, under the WeatherVelo name.

Sources: Velobenaco, Indiegogo

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4 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that looks really nice. It looks more comfortable than bikes.
HenryBowman
At 0:52, it's clear this vehicle is open to the ground. Unless the "convertible" option closes this area as well, it doesn't seem particularly suitable for bad weather transportation.
Nik
It looks remarkably like Sinclair's C5 but less stylish, and with a bit of canvas and plastic added, which was a commercial disaster. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_C5 I'd be surprised if this proves any different.
Don Duncan
An open air vehicle doesn't solve the cooling problem in CA, or southern US for that matter. I owned two convertibles over 12 years in central CA/NV and found them quite enjoyable, about one month/year (two weeks in the spring, and two in the fall). $5K (shipping+tax) is way too much for a one passenger vehicle. The range is ok, considering the peddling option.