Earlier this week, we took a look at a new, enclosed bicycle concept from Virtue Bikes. It was nice-looking enough, and certainly got our attention, but (as I mentioned in that article) it didn’t provide the sort of 360-degree weather protection that you get from a “proper” velo. In light of all that complaining and negativity, it seemed like a good time to highlight something positive – so, here’s a look inside the German TWIKE velomobile. If you’re also interested in all-electric bikes, check out this article by clicking here.
In my opinion, the TWIKE is the best pedal-electric velomobile you can buy today. Between its low weight, fully enclosed bodywork, top-shelf components, and nearly emissions-free operation, the TWIKE has a lot going for it – but that’s not the most impressive thing about the TWIKE. This is: the TWIKE has been in production for nearly 20 years.
That’s right, the TWIKE velomobile is not a concept. It’s not some guy asking for your money in exchange for hopes and promises and (if you’re lucky) a refund if it doesn’t work out. It’s a for-real company that will sell you a for-real product. A for-real, 50 MPH human-electric hybrid product that’s good enough to nearly win the Automotive X-Prize. A for-real product that features proven, real-world capabilities in all kinds of nasty weather conditions. A for-real product you can buy right now, for about $6800 (in “Pioneer” trim, no less).
If, you know, you live in Europe.
In the past, TWIKEs have been offered in the US for more than $26,000 (back in the heady days of 2007-2008, when gas prices first hit $4/gal. and people still had credit), but – for the moment – that barrel is dry. It’s too bad too because I think there’s a tremendous market for a highly efficient, $6800 pedal-electric trike with a 20 year track record of reliability. What do you guys think? Check out the TWIKE velomobile cockpit and pedal drive, below, then peruse the specs and let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Inside the TWIKE
TWIKE Technical Specs
|Type of vehicle|
|EU||Three-wheel motor vehicle (2002/24/EG)|
|US||Motorcycle – Threewheeler|
|Dimensions / mm|
|Length x width x heigth||2650 × 1200 × 1250|
|Chassis||Tube frame and aluminium space frame with roll-over bar, 3-point safety belts|
|Vehicle body||Thermoplast LuranS®|
|Steering||Joystick with connection rod and damper|
|Type||3-phase-asynchronous motor with integrated reductiongearbox (11,6:1) and differential|
|Actual power output||3 kW at 2930/min|
|Maximum power||9 kW|
|Nominal voltage||230 Volt|
|Drive system||IGBT Inverter with controller and HMI|
|Maximum speed||85 km/h|
|Acceleration 0-60 km/h||9 sec|
|Range per charging||more than 500 km|
|Max. climbing ability||22%|
|Type||LiMn, 392 cells|
|Nominal voltage||353 Volt DC|
|Capacity||4,8 – 5,8 Ah|
|Energy||1,7 – 2,1 kWh|
|Energy density||96 – 116 Wh/kg|
|Charging time||about 1 km/min|
|Efficient||4 kWh / 100km|
|City-cycle||6 kWh / 100km|
|Highway-cycle||7 kWh / 100km|
|Energy equivalent||0,4 – 0,7 l fuel / 100km|
|Mountains||+1,77 kWh / 1.000 evelation gain|
|Weighti / kg|
|Empty weight without battery||220 kg|
|Permissible maximum weight||505 kg|
|Axle load limit, front wheel||145 kg|
|Axle load limit, back wheel||360 kg|
|Independent wheel suspension||On rear and front wheels|
|Wheels||Aluminum rims, front wheel 1,35“x16”, rear wheel 1,85“x16”|
|Tire||front wheel 2 1/4 – 16” (20×2,25) or 2 1/2 2 – 16” (20×2,50),|
|Brake system||2-circuit hydraulic system, front wheel disk break, rear wheels drum break, electric motor brake (recuperation with cruise control)|
|Dimensions / mm||Length x width x heigth: 400 × 1150 × 650|
|Volume for luggage||(with 2 seats) / co-pilot seat easily removable|
Photos/technical info. courtesy of FINE Mobile GmbH.