Have you ever heard of the "Human Power Hybrid"? No? Neither have we. However, the term perfects describes a unique electric vehicle concept from Switzerland. The so-called "TWIKE 5" features pedals to support the electric motor on board the vehicle with muscle strength.
Unusual concept, unusual appearance
The concept is just as unconventional as it looks: as an electric vehicle on three wheels, TWIKE 5 reminds of a mix of recumbent bike and a motorized vehicle from the distant future. No doubt then that it should be considered spectacular!
The figures published by the manufacturer are astonishing: the electric vehicle with three wheels is expected to reach speeds of up to 190 km/h and with the largest battery, a 30 kWh battery storage unit, a range of up to 500 kilometres. There may still be a lack of funding, but if everything works out, small series production of the recumbent bicycle with electric motor (limited to 500 units for the time being) will start in spring 2020.
Continuing a success story
TWIKE 5 is intended to seamlessly follow up on the success of the TWIKE 3, a vehicle that has already been on the market since 1995. The chances of this happening are good considering the almost 700 reservations that have been received to date for the three-wheeled electric vehicle. An additional indicator is the fact that the company is close to reaching the financing target of two million euros.
FINE Mobile GmbH from Rosenthal is responsible for the TWIKE 5. The company purchased the rights to the Swiss development of a recumbent bicycle with electric motor in 2002. Back then and still today, the product name describes a mix of bike and twin, i.e. a bicycle with a roof that can be used simultaneously by two persons.
Charge up with muscle strength
Stepping into the pedals (standard on the driver's side, optional on the front passenger side) will not only be beneficial to your health. The energy generated by pure muscle strength also charges the battery. By the way: with the battery, the electric tricycle is said to weigh 500 kilograms (without battery: 380 kilograms). The permissible payload is then an extra 250 kilograms. The rear luggage compartment's capacity is 300 litres and it is even said to fit a pair of skis. There is no steering wheel in the TWIKE 5. In this vehicle drivers steer left and right with the help of the new "sidesticks".
Different battery versions planned
The drive is based on an electric motor generating 15 kW nominal output and up to 70 kW at its peak. Thanks to this trick, the vehicle falls into the L5e European registration category (without power limitation) and a simple A1 moped driving licence is all you need to get going. Four battery versions are planned. A 15 kWh electricity storage unit is installed in the basic version, which means the vehicle can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h with a range of between 150 and 250 kilometres. The next versions up provide a capacity of 20 or 25 kWh, can cover distances of up to 330 or 415 kilometres and reach speeds of 140 or 155 km/h respectively. The top-of-the-range version, costing around 50,000 euros, is fitted with a 30 kWh battery, capable of providing up to 500 kilometres of fully electric driving pleasure. For the time being, the maximum speed will initially be limited to 165 km/h. Thanks to a specially developed chassis and improved aerodynamics, however, it will be possible to enable top speeds of up to 190 km/h once the driver has plenty of driving experience and can handle the vehicle safely. The manufacturer states 8 kWh per 100 km for the lower power consumption compared with the predecessor model. If you use the WLTP cycle for conventional cars as the basis, this figure is cut to only about 6.5 kWh per 100 km.
Image source: twike_manufacturer / Flickr