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Velomobile

The Veloschmitt has a  Müller headlight system

Along with 1950s/60s contemporaries like the Isetta, the three-wheeled Messerschmitt KR200 was one of the original microcars. The car continues to have a following half a century later, so much so that a pair of designers have developed a unique tribute. The Veloschmitt is styled like the original bubble car, but relies on a pedelec bicycle platform in place of the two-stroke engine build.  Read More

'The project challenge was to design a DIY build system for a velomobile from easy-to-sour...

Industrial Design lecturer Mark Richardson, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has created a velomobile prototype made from salvaged materials, a few off-the-shelf parts and modular 3D printed components. Dubbed FAB Velo, the open source project features a modular design that was developed with the aim of enabling users to build their own velomobile.  Read More

The e-fox is the most recent in a line of car-like velomobiles to come out of the US

Velomobiles, which can more or less be defined as enclosed human-powered tricycles, come in many shapes and forms. Both the Elf and the Tripod feature an electric-assist motor, and have opted for a look that's sort of like a cross between that of a trike and a car. The e-fox is the latest such vehicle to come to our attention. It offers the same basic features as its rivals, but at a lower estimated price.  Read More

The ELF is a pedal/electric velomobile, that can be charged using a built-in photovoltaic ...

While it’s all very well and good to use an electric vehicle as your around-town ride, full-size electric cars can still be pretty pricey. Also, as many of their critics are quick to point out, the electricity used to charge their batteries currently still tends to come from eco-unfriendly sources such as coal-burning power plants. Well, that’s where the three-wheeled ELF velomobile comes into play. It’s cheaper than a car, can be pedaled like a tricycle, and the battery that powers its electric assist motor can be charged from the Sun.  Read More

The Tripod is an electric-assist velomobile made in Portland, Oregon

Velomobiles are certainly a unique form of transportation. They’re essentially human-powered recumbent tricycles, with a full-body fairing to increase their aerodynamics and protect against inclement weather. Most of them are made in Europe, which unfortunately adds to their already-steep prices for non-European buyers ... so, when we spied the made-in-the-USA Tripod velomobile in Portland, Oregon earlier this month, we took note. He’s a quick look at some of the things that make it special.  Read More

The Hornet is a new velomobile that is designed around an included electric-assist motor

If you take a recumbent tricycle and enclose it in an aerodynamic fuselage, what you end up with is known as a velomobile. The vehicles are significantly faster than bicycles on the flats and downhills, plus they offer more weather protection, but they do tend to be heavy – this can make hill-climbing quite an ordeal. Some manufacturers compensate for this limitation by offering electric assist motors as optional extras, although these just add even more weight, along with boosting what is already often a pretty high price tag. Toronto-based BlueVelo, however, has taken an interesting approach with its new Hornet velomobile. It was designed around its electric assist motor, which is included in the vehicle’s relatively low price.  Read More

Hase Bikes' KLIMAX tricycle features a detachable folding fairing, allowing users to add w...

While there are those of us who are strangely attracted to velomobiles – recumbent tricycles with full aerodynamic fairings – the idiosyncratic vehicles certainly have their drawbacks. Among these are the fact that the fairing, which is usually a hard shell, adds weight and traps heat inside with the rider. It also contributes to the sky-high price of the trikes, which can reach around US$15,000. Hase Bikes has taken an interesting approach with its KLIMAX 2K recumbent tricycle by using a weatherproof fabric fairing, that folds down and comes off when not wanted.  Read More

Tom Weis calls for a 100 percent green electricity grid for America by 2020  (Photo: Kim R...

On December 7, renewable energy advocate Tom Weis concluded a 10-week ride across America in his pedal-powered hybrid electric-assist “Rocket Trike." He collected opinions and signatures from people on “Main Street, USA” in support of a 100 percent green electricity grid by 2020 to present to key members of congress, the President and First Lady.  Read More

The pedal-electric Sinclair X-1

The name Sinclair was stamped on single-person electric transport way back in 1985 with the world's first mass produced electric vehicle – the Sinclair C5. Fast forward to 2010, drop a wheel, shed lots of weight, add modern batteries and you start to get a picture of the newly developed Sinclair Research X-1. Essentially an electric-assist recumbent bicycle with an open-sided fairing, it has the aerodynamics, ergonomic pedaling position and weather protection of a velomobile, yet its weight and price are closer to those of an electric-assist bicycle.  Read More

Hugo Ciro and his Beyss Go-One velomobile

One fateful day back in 1984, I read an article in Popular Science entitled “Pedal-power slingshot.” It was about a vehicle called the Cyclodyne, which was a recumbent human-powered tricycle enclosed in a full polyester-and-epoxy streamlined shell. The writer claimed that he had easily got the thing up to 30 mph (48 km/h), and that it was designed to reach 53 mph (85 km/h) on flat ground. Good Lord, how I wanted one. Its US$3,800 price tag ensured that it would never happen, but that didn’t stop me from obsessing. That article was my introduction to the world of velomobiles, which can pretty much be defined as aerodynamically-shelled recumbent tricycles. The Cyclodyne is now long gone, and has been replaced in my yearnings by what is probably the sexiest velomobile currently available for purchase, the Beyss Go-One. This August, I had my first-ever chance to see a Go-One up close and personal, and talked to its owner about the fantasy versus reality of owning and using such a vehicle. What he had to say was definitely eye-opening.  Read More

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