First full prototype of pedal-electric Podbike unveiled in Norway
It was last November that we first heard about the Podbike, a dual-motor chainless velomobile being developed by Norwegian firm Elpedal. At the time, it only existed as a rolling chassis – all of the images of the complete vehicle were computer renderings. Recently, however, the first complete prototype was presented at an event in Sandnes, Norway.
To recap our previous coverage, the Podbike is a four-wheeled human/electric-powered vehicle that does have pedals, but they're linked directly to a generator. As the rider pedals, the power that they generate is electrically transferred to a couple of hub motors – one in each of the rear wheels. A removable battery pack adds some additional power, making an electronically-limited top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph) possible.
Battery range sits at an estimated 60 km (37 miles) – or longer, if extra batteries are added in parallel. In its final commercial form, the vehicle should weigh about 40 to 50 kg (88 to 110 lb) with a single battery.
Known as the T0, the prototype that was unveiled on Jan. 26th is the first in a batch of 12 test vehicles (called the 0-series) that are planned to be built within the next three to four months. Ten of those will be taking to Norwegian roads, being evaluated by test riders who will pass their observations along to the development team.
The official European launch of the 0-series will take place on April 28th, at Germany's Spezi specialty bike show.
Plans still call for a consumer model to be available in Norway by early 2019, with availability elsewhere in Europe starting in 2020. Pricing is estimated at NOK 50,000 (about US$6,327) in Norway – including VAT and local sales tax –and about €4,500 ($5,515) plus tax and shipping in other European markets. There are currently no plans for a North American release, as American legislation limits e-bikes to having no more than three wheels.
If you're interested in getting one, you can pre-order via the link below.
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America should change 'bicycle' regulations to allow 4-wheel eBike if speed is limited to 25 km/h.
Fast and light road bike (optionally with electric conversion) is by my opinion far better solution for eco commuting.