Pedalist velomobile could be a head-turning alternative to driving
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.
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
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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.
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".