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Chris.m01 10-21-2013 09:22 AM

Any Interest in Pedal-Eletric?
 
Hi,

I'm working on a school project with an engineer who has an idea for a 3-wheeled pedal-electric vehicle.

Some key advantages of the vehicle would be:

-Fully enclosed body

-No license needed to drive (At least where we live)

-Inexpensive to operate

At this point many other details are still in development.


So my question for you is: Would this be useful?

Could you see yourself using something like this?

Do any of you currently use a pedal-electric vehicle? if so, what are the major pros/cons you have found with the vehicle?

How much range would be needed to make it worthwhile?

Would you trade weight and cost for convenience features? (sound deadening, lights etc..)


To give you an idea of some of the existing vehicles on the market, here are some:

-The Twike Electric Pedal Car

-Elf Electric Pedal Car

- Aerorider


Any help would be appreciated,

-Chris

Ryland 10-21-2013 10:06 AM

Big con for a lot of people is speed, if it has 3 wheels and takes up enough space then it needs to be able to keep up with in town traffic, 35mph/55kmh but the USA Federal law limits electric bikes while under electric power to only 25mph and mopeds to 30mph in most states.
The loop hole tho is that you can pedal faster then that, the vehicle speed limit is while not pedaling, so if the throttle was controlled by pedaling then you could go as fast as the posted speed limit for the road and be legal.

You are also limited to a 750 watt motor for it to be a bicycle, this can be governed wattage that can be reset by the user of course, but if you are trying to sell it then it has to be limited.

It also has to be easy to get in and out of, the Twike is not easy, the Elf is easy but is not weather tight because it has no doors!

Advantage of it having a VIN and being licensed as a moped is parking.

NeilBlanchard 10-21-2013 01:37 PM

Hi Chris, and welcome to EM,

Yes, I would be interested in something like a Quest with electric assist, for sure. If is was a bit more upright (closer to the ELF) then that would be good. Solar PV on-the-road charging (like the ELF), as would decent use of regen for slowing down, but still allowing for free-wheel coasting.

That would be my ideal velomobile.

UltArc 10-21-2013 01:50 PM

Welcome, yes, and I look forward to looking the examples you posted up. :)

Chris.m01 10-21-2013 02:22 PM

Thanks for the replies guys :thumbup:

@ Ryland & NeilBlanchard - We're thinking of having a vehicle very similar to the Elf but better styled and with doors

@UltArc - I don't really understand what that means

Thanks again guys

UltArc 10-21-2013 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris.m01 (Post 396313)
...
To give you an idea of some of the existing vehicles on the market, here are some:

-The Twike Electric Pedal Car

-Elf Electric Pedal Car

- Aerorider
...

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltArc (Post 396335)
...I look forward to looking the examples you posted up...

You posted examples. I look forward to looking them up. It makes sense in my head, unless I misunderstood your original message.

Chris.m01 10-21-2013 08:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltArc (Post 396391)
You posted examples. I look forward to looking them up. It makes sense in my head, unless I misunderstood your original message.

Oh I see. I thought you were being sarcastic, hinting that I should have provided links (which I can't due to posts).


Anyway, Does anyone currently bike for their commute?

and if so, does this pedal-electric vehicle sound like an alternative?

-Chris

bikin' Ed 10-21-2013 08:49 PM

pedal /electric makes
 
sense to about everybody here. I bike commute. Every fall I wish I had built the pedal/electric velomobile that I had thought of all of the previous winter.

BarelyAWake 10-21-2013 09:59 PM

While admittedly not the same as a velo trike, I've been commuting all season for years now & have 1000w pedal-electric bicycle, 27mph & 30mi range and there's really only one issue - corrosion.

The rest is preference & local law, the legality referenced above is not applicable as it's not Canadian and not enforced uniformly in the US either with each state having their own definition & restrictions from comparatively unregulated to banned outright - which as I understand is much the same as Canada, where each province has it's own active definition & enforcement, or lack thereof.

As for a velo trike, I've a three wheeled recumbent hybrid as well & TBH even aside from the corrosion & damage caused by winter use I wouldn't ride it in the ice & snow, it's simply not agile enough for the rural road conditions here, with the limited speed and the snow banks forcing you into the main roadway and such a light vehicle's reactions to running on such a rough surface as slush, snow drifts & ice ... having said that an upright velo trike may be just about perfect for winter urban use where the speeds are lower & the roads better cared for.

Riding in the north american winter is a touch challenging, not impossible by any means but any comfort gained in an inclosed vehicle of this scale would be a trade off in dexterity & there's not enough mass for stability - around here a velo in the winter would be just plow fodder, the agility of a dirtbike is about all that keeps my ebike out of the ditch lol... mostly.

http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/n...ps93c0b736.jpg http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/n...ps364d2d3d.jpg http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/n...psc53524bd.jpg

euromodder 10-22-2013 06:06 AM

First thing : it's a niche, in a niche , in a niche market.

Trikes are still a rarity.
Enclosed trikes / velomobiles are an even greater rarity.
Those riding them usually ride them to combine training and commuting (with some weather protection) and/or for ecological reasons, so they usually don't add an engine.

The legal issues are high - with every country and many US states having different regulations.
In the EU,anything over 25 kph makes it a moped, with all the legal haggle that goes with it.
Over 1m wide, and you're banned from cycling paths.
Over 45 kph you're into motorcycle territory ... more haggling.


I don't have say a Velomobile with a BionX engine though I could easily afford one.
My main issue is where to put it - let alone where to charge it.
I'm a city dweller, I simply don't have the space to put it except out on the street.


To find easier acceptance than a velomobile, it'd need to be more practical to use.
Easier to get into.
More and better accessible baggage space.

It wouldn't be unlike the Elf.
But I'd still not have the space to park it, except out on the street ...

jjackstone 10-22-2013 11:18 AM

I used to bicycle commute to work. Built an electric bike, road it for two years and gained 20 pounds. Just couldn't get enough exercise with the electric motor attached--too easy to twist the throttle. Put the bike away, started riding a trike(pedal only) and lost 20 pounds over a couple years.;)
JJ

NeilBlanchard 10-22-2013 01:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris.m01 (Post 396347)
Thanks for the replies guys :thumbup:

@ Ryland & NeilBlanchard - We're thinking of having a vehicle very similar to the Elf but better styled and with doors

@UltArc - I don't really understand what that means

Thanks again guys

If it lower drag (with a good fish tail / Kamm back), then I'd buy one. If it has a bit more PV (the ELF can have 2X as an option) so that it can charge faster on the fly, and if it weighed less - then I'd get one in a flash!

Chris.m01 10-22-2013 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BarelyAWake (Post 396410)

...having said that an upright velo trike may be just about perfect for winter urban use where the speeds are lower & the roads better cared for.

Riding in the north american winter is a touch challenging, not impossible by any means but any comfort gained in an inclosed vehicle of this scale would be a trade off in dexterity & there's not enough mass for stability - around here a velo in the winter would be just plow fodder, the agility of a dirtbike is about all that keeps my ebike out of the ditch lol... mostly.

Thanks for the insight, that reaffirms our theory that people would mainly be using the vehicle in urban areas.

Chris.m01 10-22-2013 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by euromodder (Post 396444)
First thing : it's a niche, in a niche , in a niche market.

Trikes are still a rarity.
Enclosed trikes / velomobiles are an even greater rarity.
Those riding them usually ride them to combine training and commuting (with some weather protection) and/or for ecological reasons, so they usually don't add an engine.

The legal issues are high - with every country and many US states having different regulations.
In the EU,anything over 25 kph makes it a moped, with all the legal haggle that goes with it.
Over 1m wide, and you're banned from cycling paths.
Over 45 kph you're into motorcycle territory ... more haggling.


I don't have say a Velomobile with a BionX engine though I could easily afford one.
My main issue is where to put it - let alone where to charge it.
I'm a city dweller, I simply don't have the space to put it except out on the street.


To find easier acceptance than a velomobile, it'd need to be more practical to use.
Easier to get into.
More and better accessible baggage space.

It wouldn't be unlike the Elf.
But I'd still not have the space to park it, except out on the street ...

I see what you're saying. So the practicality of an Elf-like vehicle is a plus, yet still wouldn't be useful to you because you would still have to have a way to charge it. In this way, the electric-assist feature would be seen as a negative aspect rather than a selling point.

Thanks for your input.

Chris.m01 10-22-2013 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jjackstone (Post 396471)
I used to bicycle commute to work. Built an electric bike, road it for two years and gained 20 pounds. Just couldn't get enough exercise with the electric motor attached--too easy to twist the throttle. Put the bike away, started riding a trike(pedal only) and lost 20 pounds over a couple years.;)
JJ

That's actually a response I've gotten a few times now. It would seem that many bike riders do it for exercise rather than just another means of transportation.

Do you ever use the trike to run errands or pick up groceries?

Chris.m01 10-22-2013 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard (Post 396478)
If it lower drag (with a good fish tail / Kamm back), then I'd buy one. If it has a bit more PV (the ELF can have 2X as an option) so that it can charge faster on the fly, and if it weighed less - then I'd get one in a flash!

So ideally, our vehicle would feature a solar panel, regenerative breaking, and be light with lower drag (stream-lined body). Thanks

Would your use of the vehicle be mainly for pleasure, commuting or errands?

UltArc 10-22-2013 03:24 PM

I like this so far.

I would like to be able to use the electric assist IMA style, when I can pedal, let me pedal, but when I have a hill, the electric assist would work. Maybe that is too complicated for a price efficient product. My immediate thought is like a multi speed bike, when one can change the gearing to pedal more but still get up the hill. Maybe that could help charge while going uphill, using the electric.

Grant-53 10-22-2013 03:48 PM

An electric velomobile with a streamlined body has a market. Weight, convenience, and power will be dictated by cost and legal classification. In New York State it would have to be registered as a motorcycle using approved FMVSS motorcycle parts. Minimum seat height on a trike is 20 inches. Currently there are three classes of motorbikes based on speed and only Class A (+30 mph) can be home built. All others must be built by approved manufacturers. There is no legal provision for electric bikes at this time.

An electric velomobile would have a top speed of 45 mph, all weather capability, and a seat belt. Range would be 100 miles and charging time under 45 minutes. A common electrical circuit here in the US is 120v AC, 60 Hertz, 20 amp. If roll over strength is sufficient, 3x gross weight as static load, a helmet might not be needed. Most places consider a trike a motorcycle so helmet laws apply. Suburban commuting and one person errands would be the primary use. Target pricing is $5,000 - 8,000 USD.

Chris.m01 10-22-2013 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UltArc (Post 396496)
I like this so far.

I would like to be able to use the electric assist IMA style, when I can pedal, let me pedal, but when I have a hill, the electric assist would work. Maybe that is too complicated for a price efficient product. My immediate thought is like a multi speed bike, when one can change the gearing to pedal more but still get up the hill. Maybe that could help charge while going uphill, using the electric.

To be fair, I don't exactly know the cost/feature tradeoff, but the entrepreneur we are working with says most things are possible.

NeilBlanchard 10-22-2013 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris.m01 (Post 396491)
So ideally, our vehicle would feature a solar panel, regenerative breaking, and be light with lower drag (stream-lined body). Thanks

Would your use of the vehicle be mainly for pleasure, commuting or errands?

Yes, all three. Commuting and errands and for fun. The low aero drag and a good dose of solar PV would be awesome.

wheelbender6 12-01-2013 12:39 PM

Start with a used recumbent trike. Make a body from coropast (pull up the bigger political campaign signs after an election - same material). Make a floor frame from PVC pipe and build the body upward with coroplast. Coroplast sheets can be joined by lacing them together, Drill holes along the edge of the sheet and lace, or join them together with zip ties. A 250w rear electric hub motor wheel with SLA will help the rider get the rig moving.
There is a velomobile on OHPV.org that used this recipe successfully.

wheelbender6 12-01-2013 01:02 PM

Here is a link to some basic velomobile builds with coroplast.
DIY-Velomobile

CFECO 12-09-2013 12:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)
We have this Quad an I am in the process of adding three speed gears to, us old folks could not even get up the hill outside our house. I have also thought about an electric assist, maybe a Battery drill motor with several batteries in parallel, that I could take out and charge at home.

wheelbender6 12-10-2013 09:27 PM

I like the bench seat. Great for dating.

baldlobo 12-10-2013 09:37 PM

are you absolutely sure it's not classified under some law;
manitoba for example has 5 classifications 2/3 wheelers can fall under.

bicycle
electric bicycle
moped
limited speed motorcycle
motorcycle

might want to look up the highway traffic act for your provence.

CFECO 12-11-2013 01:23 AM

We are a "Extreme" bike friendly area. The paths we will ride are separate from the roadways. So we will not be on the "Traffic" roads. I wish they would license and Tax all the bikes that ride and block traffic on the normal roads, and or ride on their own dedicated "Bike Lanes" which they pay "0" extra tax for.

CFECO 12-11-2013 01:25 AM

wheelbender6...we are past "dating"! It is sweet though....thanks!

Grant-53 01-13-2014 05:34 PM

State and local laws do vary greatly from North Carolina where there are no restrictions on a vehicle traveling under 30 mph to the confusing and draconian bans here in New York where only approved factory built machines are allowed. Homebuilt cars and motorcycles must be approved and registered. I would like to see e-bikes under 20 mph considered bicycles and motorized bikes between 20-30 mph registered for licensed riders 16 yr. and older. This class would require lights and helmets. Minimum seat height for recumbents should be 20 inches. See recumbents.com for many great project articles.

Giovanni LiCalsi 01-13-2014 06:23 PM

I know this is not a DIY Velo but nice design with rear steering.

http://i913.photobucket.com/albums/a...image-1390.jpg

http://i913.photobucket.com/albums/a...image-1185.jpg

P-hack 01-13-2014 06:40 PM

I think you'll find that "rear steering" and "nice design" are conflicting terms.

Grant-53 01-13-2014 06:54 PM

Rear steering is useful at low speeds only and the steering axis should be inclined forward.

Grant-53 01-13-2014 07:03 PM

Unlike most nationalities, many North Americans hate sharing the road with bicycles - or anybody else for that matter. I am hoping that e-bikes will improve traffic flow since the speed differential will be less and e-bikers will have less excuse for not obeying stop signs or lights.

Giovanni LiCalsi 01-13-2014 07:07 PM

Rear steering works well in low speed, like this would perform.

NeilBlanchard 01-13-2014 09:03 PM

They should have taken advantage of the main benefit of rear steering and enclosed the front wheels.

Giovanni LiCalsi 01-13-2014 09:31 PM

True. They might offer that now. I like the idea of adding a motor to the front axle.

Afrersize 01-20-2014 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grant-53 (Post 396499)
An electric velomobile with a streamlined body has a market. Weight, convenience, and power will be dictated by cost and legal classification. In New York State it would have to be registered as a motorcycle using approved FMVSS motorcycle parts. Minimum seat height on a trike is 20 inches. Currently there are three classes of motorbikes based on speed and only Class A (+30 mph) can be home built. All others must be built by approved manufacturers. There is no legal provision for electric bikes at this time.

An electric velomobile would have a top speed of 45 mph, all weather capability, and a seat belt. Range would be 100 miles and charging time under 45 minutes. A common electrical circuit here in the US is 120v AC, 60 Hertz, 20 amp. If roll over strength is sufficient, 3x gross weight as static load, a helmet might not be needed. Most places consider a trike a motorcycle so helmet laws apply. Suburban commuting and one person errands would be the primary use. Target pricing is $5,000 - 8,000 USD.

So, pretty much a home built Twike using parts aligned with FMVSS could legally be registered as motorcycle in NYS? Please explain for this just may make it to my to do list.

CFECO 01-20-2014 07:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I have this, and I'd love to add an electric "assist" to it. Right now I am changing it from a 1 speed to a 3 speed, the hills were killing us. I'm thinking large scale RC aircraft motor or battery power tool motor and batteries. Aero would not be needed as the top speed would not be high enough to warrant it. Maybe a solar panel roof to keep the sun off in the summer.

Grant-53 01-24-2014 12:36 AM

The DMV has free publications on how to go about registering a home built vehicle. Tires, brakes, and lights get most of the attention. Motorcycle, ATV, and car parts can be used. Once the vehicle is inspected a VIN is issued. If you were to use a frame from a motorcycle or ATV you might use the VIN from that. Say you wanted to use an ATV with a bad engine to build an electric vehicle. You can use that title and VIN to register the vehicle. There may be a class for limited use vehicle based on top speed.

Giovanni LiCalsi 01-24-2014 02:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CFECO (Post 407801)
I have this, and I'd love to add an electric "assist" to it. Right now I am changing it from a 1 speed to a 3 speed, the hills were killing us. I'm thinking large scale RC aircraft motor or battery power tool motor and batteries. Aero would not be needed as the top speed would not be high enough to warrant it. Maybe a solar panel roof to keep the sun off in the summer.

An Astroflight BLDC would work well.
Here is the genius trust:
http://www.recumpence.net/about.htm


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