— Urban Transport
Bridgestone's pedal-electric trike looks sharp, and might reach production
Designer Shungo Fujita with his pedal-electric trike
When you think of Bridgestone, you probably think of tires. The fact is, though, the company also makes bicycles, golf equipment, and has tried its hand at motorcycles. Bridgestone designer Shungo Fujita decided to combine all three things in one stunning concept vehicle – a pedal-electric trike that can carry a set of golf clubs.
We spied the trike at the Tokyo Motor Show, where Fujita informed us that Bridgestone likes his concept so much, plans are in place to manufacture the vehicles as a means of transport for the athletes at Tokyo's 2020 Olympic village.
Does this mean a commercial production run could also be in the works? The trike is a little reminiscent of the Sinclair X-1, a partially-faired pedal-electric bike that was supposed to become commercially available a couple of years ago, but apparently never did.
Shungo was reluctant to discuss the trike's specs, although after some gentle prodding he told us that its electric assist motor is rated at 600 watts, giving the vehicle a top motor-assisted speed of 30 km/h (19 mph).
Here's to hoping that we might someday be able to buy one for ourselves!
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
There is little point in turning a trike/bike into a car if you can't stay dry in the rain.
The main problem with the Sinclair was that drivers (riders?) were terrified - being so low and small they were almost invisible in traffic unless large red flags on sticks were added. This looked uncool as well.
The Sinclair did actually came into production but never was a succes. The actual Velomobiles are a better choice and far more effective aerodynamically. Have a look at www.velomobiel.nl and you will find out.
Cor, I think you maybe confusing the C5 Sinclair that was released many years ago but was a failure sales wise, with the X-1 that was announced a couple of years ago but never reached market unfortunately as it looked promising.
If you are interested google Sincair X1.
Yes, Bridgestone have been respected for their bicycles since the 1960's IIRC.
Nice to see them still thinking about cyclists needs.
T N Args
Its interesting that most of these prototypes don't seem to look at the actual legal requirements for electric tricycles and what this actually means for saleability. A 600W motor is no good for EU regs, it woudl have to be taxed, insured and registered, type tested (= cost) - similarly I cant see the weight beign below the 60kg required by EU law. Also - it carries one person.
Will it tilt/carve? it had better else it will to very top heavy and will corner dangerously. If they pull it off.... it could be a great success. But many people have tried and failed with the same concept. There are huge issues with the cost of the canopy, regulation (motor limits, weight limits) - especially in the EU. Entry price - velomobiles suffer from the same: a good machine pushes in to "we could buy a car for that, darling" territory. And luggage capability.
I've spent years looking at these machines and this market ;. I have a tilting trike of my own. What missing, in truth, from the market place is a two seater/tandem: a pedelec version of the x-prize winning monotracer or Lit motors C-1 ; possibly an adaption of an existing e-cargo bike (change cargo for second rider/passenger) with some sort of light canopy and fairing
Lovely little vehicle, well done to the designer.
Nice concept here, but to be a contender, I would up the motor to 48v / 1500 watts or thereabouts. This would allow the vehicle to keep up with traffic, which I find it safer in my experience with electric bikes. It beats having cars constantly trying to get around you and honking their horns.
Obviously Bridgestone must have golf carts replacements in mind, so golfers can add a little more exercise while golfing.
Can this go up and down the grass terrain without damaging the fairway?
How about mud clinging to the pedals and tires as you brake?
Can golf courses stomach the doubling of the trikes on their courses?
That windshield is too narrow to do much of anything for aerodynamics or weather protection. There's no windshield wiper, so seeing through it in rain would be very difficult. The thick A-pillars intrude too much into the field of view. No lights or mirrors. No handholds so getting in and out would be difficult. Like most concept vehicles, this thing just isn't practical in the real world. It might be useful in good weather for a short-term event like the Olympics, inside the low traffic confines of the Olympic village, but not for commuting on regular roads in the long term. Grant Petersen, former head honcho of Bridgestone's US division and renowned retrogrouch, would tear this thing apart with his criticism. Not that he's infallible, either, but that's beside the point.
In reply to Richard Guy: I think it is meant to lean into bends. Look at photo 3/8. The front wheels are supported by a pair of single leading arms which pivot at the frame. What appears to be a small shock absorber/damper sits across the centre-line of the frame between the pivots, with a lever from each arm attached. This should allow limited lean and semi-independent suspension. Similar systems have been seen on concepts like Yamaha's Tesseract motoquad, a motor-trike conversion designed by the Callejas, and a recumbent 'delta' pedal trike from the U.S, by Prinze/Prince(?).
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