Bicycles

Pedalist velomobile could be a head-turning alternative to driving

The Pedalist on display in Las Vegas (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
The Pedalist on display in Las Vegas (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
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The Pedalist on display in Las Vegas (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
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The Pedalist on display in Las Vegas (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
It's narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
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It's narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
A look at the electric cargo trike that it's built around (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
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A look at the electric cargo trike that it's built around (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
The shell is made from polycarbonate (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
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The shell is made from polycarbonate (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
It has a full lighting system (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
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It has a full lighting system (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
The Pedalist's back end
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The Pedalist's back end

Well, the popular Elf velomobile may be in for some competition. San Diego-based Virtue Cycle Solutions has developed a sort of electric cargo trike/pedal car type thing of its own, that it’s hoping to bring to production sometime soon. We had a chance to take a peek at the snazzy-looking prototype at Interbike 2014.

If you could use only three words to describe the appearance of the Pedalist, they would probably be "tall and skinny." A company rep told us that its height helps it be seen by drivers, along with allowing its rider to have a higher view of the road – it's certainly true that the limited visibility of lower-slung velomobiles does limit their appeal to some would-be buyers.

It’s just 34 inches (86 cm) wide, though, which should let it get through standard doorways. Of course, bringing it inside would also likely involve hefting its target weight of 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 91 kg). That figure doesn’t include the motor or battery, which Virtue plans on supplying according to the requirements of the individual buyer – depending on the intended use, some people might want lots of hill-climbing torque while others might put more of a value on range.

It's narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway (Photo: Ben Coxworth)
It's narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway (Photo: Ben Coxworth)

The prototype has a full lighting system (including turn indicators), an electric horn, and a full polycarbonate body. The company is also looking at a side mirror that attaches to the shell via a suction cup, along with a possible windshield wiper.

The folks at Virtue are currently gauging investor interest in the Pedalist, and may launch a Kickstarter campaign. The rep told us that they’re hoping to start production by mid to late 2015 and are aiming at a price of US$3,500 to $3,900, not including the motor and battery.

Source: Virtue Cycle Solutions

25 comments
hourglass
damn i bought a new peugot 504 for that price in the late 70s ... that came with with the engine, transmission and a full tank ...
SteveMc
Looks good but I seriously doubt their pricing is accurate, at all.
Mel Tisdale
So, you put someone in a plastic cage that sits atop a narrow tricycle that appears not to have a tilt mechanism. When this vehicle is blasted sideways by a force 3 breeze on the Beaufort scale and starts to topple over, the poor person inside cannot lean to counteract the movement. All they can do is steer with the wind and to heck with whatever happens to be passing at the time, be it pushbike or pantechnicon. Perhaps it would be more than a PR stunt to issue bravery medals to anyone with the guts to ride one of these in conditions that are anything other than dead calm on any scale. I think that the best thing they can do with this is replace the wheels with floats, fit it with a daggerboard and a rudder and try for some boating customers.
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is really neat looking. Perhaps with batteries, the center of weight could be kept low so it won't be tipped over so easily on windy days? I think it is a neat way to get around town.
Tom Swift
When I look at it the movie "Who Framed Rodger Rabbit" comes to mind. Looking like the taxi after squeezing through a too narrow alley.
Rehab
Cycling is the best mode of transportation ever! Electric bikes make it possible to leave the car parked for 50% or more of our daily commutes. Why are we not seeing all weather clothing as the answer to year round cycling? All these bubbles and cages add more problems than they solve. You can build and in some cases buy a great e-bike for under 2k, why not spend some cash on riding gear? Bring on the "GEAR"
Scott in California
I agree that the pricing seems entirely too optimistic...a bare recumbent bike, from a volume producer, costs more than the $3000 estimated here. But, more ideas are better, so bring it on! To me, this appeals to people that already 'collect' bicycles. They have plenty of money to indulge their hobby. That is a razor-thin market. This vehicle will never cause people to substitute this vehicle for an automobile (in my opinion), because.....people who favor automobiles, hate skinny-tire-d vehicles. Designers aiming at vehicles to replace autos must begin with dimensional "fat tires", even if such a wheel/tire is a row of ten 2 x 20-inch wheels, turning independently, side-by-side, to visually achieve "fat". All stated, "in my humble opinion".
Bob Flint
Fails at both cycle, and E-car..
Stuart Wilshaw
Certainly wouldn't stand up well to a strong side wind. Doesn't really look that good either; give me a Veloschmitt any day!
VirtualGathis
~$4k for a glorified bike. At that price point it would be a hard sell to convince me to buy it. For ~$7K I could buy an Elio which gets 83mpg, has no range limitations, nor would it require me to shower upon ariving at work.