Urban Transport

Dual-drive Electrom pedal-electric streamliner enters production

Dual-drive Electrom pedal-elec...
Inventor Fabrizio Cross, on the production version of the Electrom LEV
Inventor Fabrizio Cross, on the production version of the Electrom LEV
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The Electrom utilizes mostly off-the-shelf parts, to make repairs and upgrades easier
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The Electrom utilizes mostly off-the-shelf parts, to make repairs and upgrades easier
The Electrom is considerably narrower than three-wheeled velomobiles
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The Electrom is considerably narrower than three-wheeled velomobiles
The Electrom's Nine Continents 212 rear hub motor can handle a maximum of 3,000 watts in short bursts, while the Bafang G311 front hub motor is rated up to 600 watts
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The Electrom's Nine Continents 212 rear hub motor can handle a maximum of 3,000 watts in short bursts, while the Bafang G311 front hub motor is rated up to 600 watts
The Electrom's rear cargo compartment has a capacity of 150 liters
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The Electrom's rear cargo compartment has a capacity of 150 liters
The Electrom kit will be priced at CAD$12,500 (about US$10,050)
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The Electrom kit will be priced at CAD$12,500 (about US$10,050)
Inventor Fabrizio Cross, on the production version of the Electrom LEV
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Inventor Fabrizio Cross, on the production version of the Electrom LEV
The Electrom offers a comfortable and aerodynamic recumbent seating position
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The Electrom offers a comfortable and aerodynamic recumbent seating position
View gallery - 7 images

It was four years ago that we first heard about the Electrom, a one-of-a-kind two-wheeled pedal-electric vehicle with a unique dual drivetrain. Well, you will soon have the chance to buy one of the things for yourself … although some assembly will be required.

Created by Canadian cyclist/entrepreneur Fabrizio Cross, the original Electrom LEV (light electric vehicle) was certainly more substantial than an ebike, but narrower and more agile than a three-wheeled, fully-enclosed velomobile. Among other things, it featured a swing-away front fairing, a full LED lighting system with turn indicators and brake lights, plus a rear cargo space that doubled as a sort of "rumble seat" for a passenger.

One feature that really distinguished it, however, was its Generator & Chain Drive system – that system, along with the other features, has been carried over into the production model. Here's how it now works…

At low speeds, two separate drive chains relay the rider's pedalling power to both an onboard generator and the motorized rear wheel. In this way, the rider can push hard to engage the high-geared direct-drive rear hub motor as the Electrom gets up to speed or climbs hills. The rider and the rear motor are assisted in their efforts by a much lower-geared front hub motor – so yes, the vehicle is in two-wheel-drive at this point.

Once the Electrom reaches a speed of 15 km/h (9 mph), however, the rear-wheel drive chain starts freewheeling, so all of the rider's pedalling power goes into the generator. Because the rear hub motor is now being driven only by that generator and the battery – not directly by the pedals – the speed at which the rider is pedalling doesn't determine the speed at which the vehicle is travelling.

This means that the rider can continuously pedal at a comfortable rate (around 80 rpm) while using a throttle to control the speed. And as an added bonus, no shifting of gears in necessary. Additionally, the front hub motor automatically shuts off at speeds over 28 km/h (17 mph), putting the Electrom into power-saving rear-wheel-drive while cruising.

The Electrom's Nine Continents 212 rear hub motor can handle a maximum of 3,000 watts in short bursts, while the Bafang G311 front hub motor is rated up to 600 watts
The Electrom's Nine Continents 212 rear hub motor can handle a maximum of 3,000 watts in short bursts, while the Bafang G311 front hub motor is rated up to 600 watts

According to Cross, one charge of the 2,800-Wh lithium battery pack should be good for a range of up to 200 km (124 miles), with some help from a regenerative braking system. An optional second battery doubles that range. The vehicle has a top speed of 65 km/h (40 mph), although that can be set lower depending on local ebike regulations.

Some of the production-model Electrom's other features include an aluminum monocoque frame with carbon fiber body panels, front and rear suspension, an enclosed (but still accessible) drivetrain, a unique cable steering system, sealant-filled 20 x 2.75-inch Heidenau moped tires, and a 150-liter cargo capacity. The whole thing is claimed to tip the scales at 155 lb (70 kg), with two batteries installed.

The Electrom offers a comfortable and aerodynamic recumbent seating position
The Electrom offers a comfortable and aerodynamic recumbent seating position

Cross is currently open to inquiries from prospective buyers of a full Electrom kit. It will be priced at CAD$12,500 (about US$10,050), and should should ship next spring. Depending on market interest, a fully assembled vehicle may subsequently be available sometime down the road.

"Ebikes are great, and for many people they are all that is needed, however, for those who want to take their zero-emissions lifestyle to the next level, there is the Electrom," he tells us. "It will fill the gap between bicycle and car, while still offering the exercise, environmental, and traffic-busting benefits of a bicycle."

You can see the vehicle in action, in the video below.

Electrom Lev Info.mp4

Source: Electrom

View gallery - 7 images
12 comments
12 comments
Trylon
Over $10,000, didn't bother to hire an industrial designer to make it look at all attractive, still requires assembly. Something tells me this won't get more than 50 orders, if that.
Eddy
Now this first of a type shows real promise imho. I really like the idea of the flexibility of pedaling to generate but independent of the rate of travel, very appealing.
Chris__
50 orders? I think 5 will be a struggle!
El Greco
At this weight and battery capacity, pedalling input is near-irrelevant. You might as well be honest and make it a motorbike.
Robt
Why recumbent? It makes the bike significantly more difficult for car / truck drivers to see, and for the rider to see them.
It doesn’t appear to be a very well thought out product….and as for the price!
Fabrizio Cross
So, some answers for you guys:
Trylon–looks are subjective.
Eddy-Thanks, glad you get it.
El Greco- I think you miss the point. the pedaling is about exercise, and it is not irrelevant, at 40 km/h the rider is contributing 1/4 of the energy.
Robt- The recumbent position provides significant benefits. The Electrom places the rider at the same height as the driver in an ordinary car, so visibility and eye-contact is good. It's a recumbent because the format allows the battery, controller and electronics weight to be kept nice and low between the axles for great handling. It also offers superior aerodynamics and comfort.

It is easy to armchair engineer, but I urge readers to do some research in order to properly understand the advantages the Electrom offers. https://vimeo.com/showcase/8928685
TomLeeM
I do find it odd that it has a windshield that is not really used since the rider sees over it instead of through it. why have it at all? or why is it translucent?

It does remind me of the Sinclair C5 but more practical.

I agree with the other replies, the price does seem rather high; especially if one has to assemble it yourself. the assembled version would be even more costly?

I agree with other replies, it is not very good looking. the passenger rides in such an odd way.
Trylon
@Fabrizio Suit yourself, but an "I don't care whether people like the Electrom's aesthetics; function dictates form" attitude is not the way to gain customers. Looks may be subjective, but automakers pay big bucks to automotive stylists for good reason. We'll see in a year or two if the Electrom is still around.
Oscar
A big problem with driver safety. In an accident, the driver flies forward and crashes his neck into the edge of the glass hood. Fast death is guaranteed, even at medium speed.
Fabrizio Cross
Answers round 2.

TomLeeM - A reasonable question about the windshield. It is there to cover the rider’s lower body for rain protection & aerodynamics. With the front fairing, one can ride in poor weather without the hassle of putting on waterproof pants and footwear. The windshield is clear for aesthetic reasons and to show others that the rider has pedals and is using them. Because the Electrom is legally a bicycle and uses bicycle infrastructure it is important that observers recognize it as a bike.

Oscar - I’m sorry, but you are just flat out wrong. The windshield is not glass but a flexible poly carbonate bubble mounted to a carbon fibre support that has been designed to crumple in the event of a front-end collision. The trailing edge of the support has rounded edges to reduce the likelihood of injury. The Electrom is traveling at bicycle speeds most of the time, but a head-on collision would be very unpleasant.–they almost always are on any type of bicycle. The upside of the Electrom is that these type of collisions are less likely because the Electrom is far more visible than a conventional bicycle.

Trylon - I didn’t say "I don't care whether people like the Electrom's aesthetics” I said “looks are subjective” and I stand by the statement. While the aesthetic may not be to your liking, many others quite like it. Of course there is a trade-off between form and function and finding the balance is a delicate act. I’m sorry we missed the mark in your case, but, as I said, there are many who quite like the look of the Electrom.

New things are easy targets: When Steve Jobs introduced the i-phone the industry players dismissed it as a toy; The team that identified the AIDS virus had an uphill battle for years before anyone took retroviruses seriously. While I don’t put the Electrom in the same league as those guys, the knowledge does prepare one for the poorly researched comments here. It’s amazing how many experts there are on Recumbent Two-Wheel Light Electric Vehicles there are out there. : )
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