Urban Transport

Velomobile fans could soon have a real Ego

Velomobile fans could soon hav...
The Ego velomobile should hit Kickstarter within the next couple of months
The Ego velomobile should hit Kickstarter within the next couple of months
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The Ego isn't hunkered down against the road where it won't be seen, yet the rider still sits back in a comfy reclined seat, with their legs out in front of them
1/5
The Ego isn't hunkered down against the road where it won't be seen, yet the rider still sits back in a comfy reclined seat, with their legs out in front of them
The Ego velomobile should hit Kickstarter within the next couple of months
2/5
The Ego velomobile should hit Kickstarter within the next couple of months
As is the case with an increasing number of existing velomobiles, plans call for the Ego to have an electric-assist motor as a standard feature
3/5
As is the case with an increasing number of existing velomobiles, plans call for the Ego to have an electric-assist motor as a standard feature
The Ego's canopy is hinged at the front, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle
4/5
The Ego's canopy is hinged at the front, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle
A motor-only top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) is possible with the Ego, along with a claimed battery range of over 30 miles (48 km)
5/5
A motor-only top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) is possible with the Ego, along with a claimed battery range of over 30 miles (48 km)
View gallery - 5 images

Early next year, the Pedalist, e-fox, Elf and Tripod could all be in for some competition. That's when Illinois-based inventor Eliel Rojas plans on launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of his human/electric hybrid vehicle, the Ego Urban Transporter. Like those other models, it's what's known as a velomobile – a pedal-powered tricycle enclosed within an aerodynamic shell. Also like them, it's a velomobile that stands about as tall as a car. Its rider, however, stays pretty laid-back.

The main advantage of "tall" velomobiles is that they're more visible to motorists, plus they provide their riders with a better view of the road. Shorter models present less frontal area, so are generally considered to be more speed-oriented – they're also better-suited to a more comfortable recumbent seating position.

With the Ego, Rojas has sort of split the difference between the two. At a height of 4' 8" (1.4 m) it isn't hunkered down against the road where it won't be seen, yet the rider still sits back in a comfy reclined seat, with their legs out in front of them.

As is the case with an increasing number of existing velomobiles, plans call for the Ego to have an electric-assist motor as a standard feature
As is the case with an increasing number of existing velomobiles, plans call for the Ego to have an electric-assist motor as a standard feature

As is the case with an increasing number of existing velomobiles, plans call for the Ego to have an electric-assist motor as a standard feature. Users can still propel the vehicle by human power alone if they wish, but they can also use the 750-watt motor to augment their pedalling power, or they can run on electric power only. In the latter of the three modes, an electronically-limited top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) is possible, along with a claimed battery range of over 30 miles (48 km).

Some people might wonder about the open sides of its composite shell. These are included for added ventilation, plus they allow crosswinds to blow through the Ego instead of pushing it over. There are nylon curtains that can be rolled down to cover those openings, when riders want better aerodynamics and/or more protection from the elements. Even when those curtains are drawn, however, fresh air can still get in through openings in the canopy.

The Ego's canopy is hinged at the front, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle
The Ego's canopy is hinged at the front, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle

That canopy is hinged at the front, incidentally, which is how users get in and out of the vehicle. Some of the Ego's other features include front and rear lights, turn indicators, side mirrors, disc brakes and a suspension system.

If you're interested in getting one, you can monitor the project website (linked below) to see when the Kickstarter campaign begins. Rojas tells us that the first 20 backers can get an Ego for US$3,750 if everything works out, while the estimated retail price will be more around $5,000. Although that might sound like a lot, it's actually right in line with cost of other electric-assist velomobiles.

The prototype can be seen in use, in the following video.

Source: Ego Urban Transporter

UPDATE (Jan. 13/16): The Kickstarter campaign is now live, and provides additional information on the Ego.

Ego around the city

View gallery - 5 images
18 comments
netean@gmail.com
I hate to write negative comments, but I can't see anyone buying this. Just watching their promotional video you see that:
1 - it's incredibly slow 2 - it's innumerability is poor, turning seems horrendous. 3 - in my opinion this looks awful As a person who commutes daily on a bike I'd be very interested in a pedal powered, pedal assisted covered bike, as I would be in a tadpole trike but not one like this.
PaulWatkins
Storage? Also, this thing on a footpath is an issue. As above, trying not to be negative, but atm there are too many negatives than positives, but it's good to see someone trying. An electric motor will change much, I think.
aotror
Netean: I think your being a bit harsh criticizing the looks. It may not be a thing of great beauty but its competitive in that department with most of the competition in my opinion.
What would be of greater importance to me would be things like how easy it is to propel up hills, the weight, storage for things like groceries or back pack, the ride, brakes, safety and practical matters like if the windscreen steams up in bad weather and how well it ventilates my body evenly when I ride it. I mean I dont want a cool torso when my head is steaming hot. Also the ease and cost at which it can have electrical assistance added.
We will probably have to wait till there are ride reports before those matters are covered though.
Daishi
@netean The only enclosed electric tadpole I know of currently is Arcimoto SRK expected to be out in a couple years for $12k. It's supposed to have a top speed of 85 MPH
After the 10% tax incentive (for EV motorcycles) and fuel cost savings it has the potential to end up being pretty cheap if they succeed in launching it.
Bob
What town will let you ride on the sidewalks? A few pedestrian accidents and game over.
VoiceofReason
Ummm...no storage? Epic fail.
Bob Flint
Don't think this would be allowed to roll along on either the street or the sidewalk.
Keith Reeder
"innumerability" = manoeuvrability?
Agree with the observations though - it seems about as agile as a shopping trolley. No wonder it spends most of its time on (probably illegal to cycle on in the UK) footpaths...
elielrojas@yahoo.com
@netean, I'm afraid you are correct. The turning in the video was awful. In the way to meet with the person to do the filming I had an accident that damaged the steering. But since it was an unusually sunny day (here in Northern Illinois) I decided to go ahead and film. But the steering was awful. What you see as the tricycle is a simple base just to mount the shell for the video. This is not at all what the production frame will look like. Also the small electric motor in the video is not the 750 hub motor that will be in the production Ego.
Timelord
Why does he spend almost the entire video on sidewalks? Is he too afraid to ride in the street? In many jurisdictions including New York City, it's illegal to ride bicycles on the sidewalk, aside from ticking off pedestrians in every locale.