Urban Transport

There's now one mö solar-electric velomobile on the road

There's now one mö solar-elect...
The mö velomobile, soakin' up the sun
The mö velomobile, soakin' up the sun
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The mö's rooftop solar panels
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The mö's rooftop solar panels
The 85-kg (187-lb) mö seats two people, plus it has room for things like bags of groceries or an infant seat
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The 85-kg (187-lb) mö seats two people, plus it has room for things like bags of groceries or an infant seat
The top electric-only speed will vary with the mö's motor, although a top end of over 50 km/h (31 mph) is reportedly possible if it's set to 1,500 watts
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The top electric-only speed will vary with the mö's motor, although a top end of over 50 km/h (31 mph) is reportedly possible if it's set to 1,500 watts
A regenerative braking system helps extend the mö's range, which is approximately 50 km (31 miles) in motor-only mode
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A regenerative braking system helps extend the mö's range, which is approximately 50 km (31 miles) in motor-only mode
The mö velomobile, soakin' up the sun
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The mö velomobile, soakin' up the sun

Although velomobiles in general are a rather obscure class of vehicle, the human/solar-powered Elf is certainly one of the better-known recent examples. Inspired by its design and performance, Spanish startup evovelo recently put the finishing touches on the prototype of a similar vehicle, known as the mö. Like the Elf, it's propelled by pedal-power and/or an electric motor – and that motor is in turn powered by the sun.

The enclosed 85-kg (187-lb) tricycle seats two people side-by-side, plus it has room for things like bags of groceries or an infant seat.

Along with pedals it has a direct drive motor, the power of which can be adapted to meet legislation in different countries – it could range from 250 up to 1,500 watts. Besides receiving electricity from the rooftop photovoltaic panels, its 48V/15Ah battery pack can also be recharged via a sealed exterior charging port, or it can be removed and taken indoors to charge. According to evovelo, however, the sun should provide all the charge needed for "moderate use."

A regenerative braking system helps extend the vehicle's range, which is approximately 50 km (31 miles) in motor-only mode. Needless to say, that range can be extended if pedal-only or pedal-assist modes are used. The top electric-only speed will vary with the motor, although a top end of over 50 km/h (31 mph) is reportedly possible if it's set to 1,500 watts.

The 85-kg (187-lb) mö seats two people, plus it has room for things like bags of groceries or an infant seat
The 85-kg (187-lb) mö seats two people, plus it has room for things like bags of groceries or an infant seat

Other features include windows that fold down, a full lighting system and horn, mirrors, 20-inch composite or aluminum wheels, anti-puncture tires, and a choice or drum or disc brakes. It should also be noted that its body is made mainly from sustainable materials, such as wood or cellulose derivatives.

The designers are currently seeking beta testers for the mö, and can be contacted via the link below. Once it reaches production (hopefully later this year) the vehicle is expected to sell for around €4,500, or about US$4,886. Should you wish to make your own, it is an open source project – the designs will be made available once the beta program is complete.

Source: evovelo

6 comments
Shohreh
It looks so ugly :-/ Besides, are the solar panels really worth it? Maybe a two-person trike recumbent with some kind of protection from the rain would be a better bet: http://www.cyclorama.net/images/articleImages/types_of_bike/k_recumbents_and_velomo/recumbent_tandem_trike.jpg
Mel Tisdale
Keen as I am that we tackle climate change head on, these vehicles worry me as to what would happen if they tackled another road vehicle head on instead. I just don't think that they are safe for use among today's fleet of road vehicles. Give motor manufacturers time to provide all new vehicles with advanced driver assistance, then wait for them to naturally replace the current fleet (approximately 20/25 years and then they might - just might - be safe enough to seriously consider for local use (e.g. trips to the shops, friends and possibly place of work). By then we will have a much better fix on just how valuable they might be regarding our fight against climate change. In the meantime, the manufacturers of these velomobiles should get involved with the development of advanced driver assisted vehicles so that they can fit in with vehicle to vehicle positional information as it develops.
bergamot69
On crowded and narrow European roads I think this vehicle is too large and too slow to be safe. Perhaps it might just be viable somewhere like rural Italy, where they are used to having slow relatively small vehicles such as the famous Piaggio Ape 3-wheeled van/pick up (a kind of 'tuk-tuk') trundling along the verge of the road (and a mö rider would probably be stewed alive in their own juices in the Italian sun), but would be inviting trouble on the streets of London- no doubt inducing some ugly 'road rage' incidents.
Daishi
For those saying the size/speed could never work there are similarly sized bicycle taxis in many cities already today: http://i.imgur.com/a9TFVjw.jpg There are lots of neighborhoods, streets, trails, parks etc. where something like this is appropriate. I think it's great that panels, batteries, and e-bikes are all getting cheap enough that it's possible to build something like this at a reasonable price. I am looking forward to reviews of the Juiced Bikes Cross Current when it hits production: http://www.juicedbikes.com/crosscurrent @Mel I think vehicle to vehicle communication can be sorted out by orgs with much larger budgets.
gybognarjr
Great. Just don't get hit by a St.Bernard dog or something bigger. An adult or two may risk their lives in traffic, but to put a child in a jalopy like this is a crime. A picture of this with two occupants (what's left of them), after a semi-truck ran over the "vehicle" would be very educational to prospective buyers.
Jayna Sheats
All the predictable (unfortunately) negative comments about accident survivability are just irrelevant. These are not going to be on the freeways, and the likelihood of being run over by a "semi-truck" on suburban or city highways is much less than the corresponding probability for bicyclists (who are harder to see). The problem is the speed plus size: a bicycle does not impede traffic since it can occupy the shoulder (even if some cyclists don't want to). The speed of 30 mph is too small for anything but a residential street if the vehicle occupies a traffic lane. So it can only be viable if there were a dedicated lane (which could be shared with bicyclists). I would welcome such changes.