Quirky Messerschmitt velomobile rides again
When it comes to weird little old cars, the Messerschmitt Kabinenroller was one of the delightfully weirdest. Five years ago, we heard about a new pedal-electric version of the vehicle, known as the Veloschmitt. Although that model is no longer available, its successor has now entered production.
The Veloschmitt was a two-seater velomobile, the latter term referring (more or less) to a recumbent tricycle enclosed in an aerodynamic body.
Created by German designers Achim Adlfinger and Fred Zimmermann, it was discontinued after their Slovenian production partner went bankrupt. Now, however, Adlfinger tells us that he has teamed up with French partner Didier Helmstetter and velomobile designer Marcus von der Wehl to resurrect the concept, this time as the Messerschmitt KR 25-E.
More streamlined in appearance than the Veloschmitt, the KR 25-E is a single-seater that uses a 36-volt/250-watt electric motor to augment the rider's pedalling power, taking them up to a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph). Unusually, it features front-wheel drive and joystick-controlled rear-wheel steering. Electrical power is provided by a 36-volt/17.2-Ah lithium battery pack – a second pack can be added to increase the vehicle's range, which sits at 60 to 80 km (37 to 50 miles) per charge.
Its body is made of a fiberglass composite, and includes a cockpit cover that opens via remote control. The plexiglass "bubble" on that cover can also be removed, turning the 25-E into a convertible. The whole vehicle weighs a claimed 85 kg (187 lb), and can handle a maximum rider/cargo payload of 120 kg (265 lb).
Some of its other features include front and rear suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, an LED control screen, a full LED lighting system with turn indicators, a Shimano 8-speed transmission with reverse, carbon composite wheels, an electric horn, a cargo trunk, and a padded bucket seat.
Adlfinger says that the KR 25-E is now being produced by French velomobile company iDMOOVE, and is priced at €12,800 (about US$14,308). A larger and faster KR 45-E model is in the works, along with the pure-electric KR 200.