Trikke presents a more affordable way to electric-surf the streets
Trikke has been designing street-carving three-wheelers (and defying English spelling conventions) for 15 years. Its all-new Freedom adds an affordable electric drive to that mix. The sub-US$1,000 electric vessel relies on Trikke's signature cambering frame to turn motor propulsion into a quick, surfy ride on road and concrete.
Unlike the typical stand-up scooter, the Trikke packs a platform for each foot instead of a single deck. With help from its cambering/leaning frame, this configuration provides a sharp, articulated carving motion that a conventional scooter can't mimic. This carving is how the rider propels the Trikke – no need to scuff the soles of your shoes skating forward – and Trikke claims that it also provides a well-rounded workout.
The all-new Freedom is bound to be less of a workout because of the hub motor running the show up front. It isn't Trikke's first electric rodeo, as the cambering three-wheeler manufacturer has been offering electric variants for years – we took a ride aboard it's Pon-e (it's toward the end of that personal mobility feature) years back and were quite impressed with the ride. The Freedom does represent a move to make the price of a lithium-powered scooter more affordable, with the expected MSRP to slide in just below the $1,000 mark.
"Freedom is our dream to change the game for the e-Bike market," says John Simpson, Trikke cofounder. "There's nothing on the market comparable to the portability, affordability and performance of Freedom. Freedom's three wheels remain on the pavement at all times to offer unprecedented stability at all speeds."
So it seems Trikke has been watching startups and manufacturers release new electric mobility contraptions of every shape, size and design and realizes it's time to make a move for a bigger slice of the pie – an electric bike market pie it anticipates growing to $10.8 billion in sales by 2020.
And why not? An electric Trikke certainly looks like a functional mobility solution that can get you around and let you have a little fun in the process. It folds up for easy transport, and while the 37-pound (17-kg) construction isn't exactly featherlight, it's not excessively heavy, either. We're always happy to see any type of electric-powered wheeled vehicle price in below four figures.
The Freedom's motor offers 400-watt peak power. It's wired to a 240 Wh/6.6 Ah/36-volt lithium-ion battery mounted to the back of the lower front tube. The rider turns the ignition on with a removable key and controls the motor via the twist throttle. He or she can tear forward at speeds up to 15 mph (24 km/h) and rely on dual rear brakes to bring the Freedom to rest.
The Freedom's battery is protected by an aluminum case and designed with quick-swapping in mind. It takes four hours to charge and delivers up to 11 miles (18 km) of riding on full. The available 9 Ah battery upgrade offers 15 miles of range (24 km/h).
In addition to getting around the city and having all-out fun carving the pavement, the Freedom can also be used as a cargo hauler – or so suggests Trikke, anyway. It shows a few photos of the trike loaded up with duffel bags and even stacked plastic tote tubs. We're not sure we'd want to lean into electric-thrusted carves with either of those packages on board, but we suppose if you don't have any other way to haul, it's worth a go.
Freedom riders that find themselves missing the workout of the original Trikke need not fret. Instead, they can simply shut the motor off and ride the trike manually, lean-carving their way to forward momentum and better shape.
The Trikke Freedom is being offered on Indiegogo for a significant reduction of the estimated $999 retail price, sliding in at the $599 pledge level (plus shipping). Extra batteries are there at the $199 (6.6 Ah/11-mile) and $249 (9 Ah/15-mile) pledge levels.
What we'd really love to see next from Trikke is an electric version of the Skki, the snow Trikke. That market may not have the growth potential of electric bikes and scooters, but an electric stand-up, carving snow machine would sure be a hell of a lot of fun. If you're not sure where to go next, Trikke, please explore those waters and invite us in for the first tests.
Don't miss the video below, which provides a look a the Freedom in action.