Typically the terms "tight handling" and "electric three-wheeler" are mutually exclusive, particularly when you are talking about the "two-at-the-back, one-at the-front" designs. Joining Adiva and a number of other manufacturers we've looked at in recent times, London-based electric bike manufacturer 50Cycles is looking to marry the two by introducing tilting functionality into the equation. The company's Veliac Three electric tricycle uses a new lean mechanism designed to ease maneuvering around corners and curves.
As 50Cycles describes, electric tricycles combine the inexpensive, eco-friendly benefits of electric bicycles with more stability and load carrying capabilities. However, handling on twisty roads can be challenging thanks to the big wheels in back.
The Veliac Three has a torsion bar running lengthwise that allows the foreframe, seat, handlebars, forks and front wheel to lean independently of the rear-wheel box. So riders can lean into turns, similar to how they would on a bicycle, without experiencing any rear-wheel lift. The company believes the system solves the handling drawback of the tricycle, offering a smoother ride. Since the rear doesn't move, the basket in back stays level, protecting your cargo. The torsion bar is controlled via a handlebar-mounted lever and can be locked out completely to keep the frame stiff, if the rider chooses.
Outside of its tilting axis, the Veliac Three is a normal electric tricycle. It uses a 250-watt brushless hub motor powered by a 36-volt lithium-ion battery. The motor operates in three drive modes, and a pedal-assist system provides a means of exercise for those that want it. The trike has dual handbrakes, a brake light, turn signals, front and rear lights, and an electronic horn. Front suspension and a large saddle with backrest ensure a comfortable ride.
One carry basket is fitted over the Veliac Three's rear wheels and one hangs off the handlebars. The trike has a capacity up to 308 lbs (140 kg). The rear wheelbase was made narrow enough to fit easily through doorways.
The Veliac Three is available now for a retail of £1,490 (US$2,382), which includes UK delivery. 50Cycles also lists a variety of countries on its shipping chart.