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Old 09-24-2009, 02:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pedal Powered Car... Killing two (theoretical) birds with one stone

Hi everybody, long time reader, first time poster.

Being based out here in Australia, we are experiencing climate change, first hand. During this past week, we've had dust storms ravaging coastal cities. (like Sydney and Brisbane) We have also overtaken the USA as the fattest country on Earth, with 50%+ of us being overweight.

Of course, a solution for both the first and second problems is riding a bicycle, but unfortunately, with the weather being very temperamental, as well as footpaths being scarce, (in our city) it is quite hard to do so. Reading about the Canadian Buick, as well as the Green Hummer Project, I realised that building a pedal powered car would be easier than I would've thought.

My first issue is that I don't have a car yet, but many small cars, from makes such as Suzuki and Daihatsu fit the bill, and the second issue is whether I should run the pedals directly to the drivetrain, or run the pedals through an electric motor.

How much would each solution cost?

Thank you

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Old 09-24-2009, 03:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Oz is blessed with the Pedal Prix race series for pedal cars, as well as Greenspeed, the recumbent trike makers who have long wanted to build a full velomobile. The basic factor in such designs is that the average human puts out 1/10 HP. However, a bicycle rider can go twice as fast with good streamlining. To convert a motor car, you would be limited to approximately the speed you could push it, (although hills would give wide variations) unless you made it a hybrid. However, adding pedals to a much larger motor just gives you a mobile exercycle. This requires excellent ventilaton, which is detrimental to the streamlining, but the sun shade effect can sometimes allow a higher power output than on an open bike. If you use a pedal power meter to control the big motor, it makes you feel bionic, and promotes fitness instead of a feeling of futility. If you don't intend to add battery power, there's no good reason, economic or otherwise, not to adapt a standard bike chain drive, and it is almost always best even with another booster.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My concern would be range/hills. What happens when the person gets tired?
I have had the thought of a pedal powered hybrid, where some other power system gets the vehicle up to speed, then cuts out and pedaling maintains speed. This would be most beneficial on a highway though, not backroads or stop/go driving.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Velomobiles do accelerate slowly, but for a highway run, that is not much of a problem. A pedal-electric hybrid is most desirable for stop and go or hilly driving. With a bike in the city, you pedal and coast about half the time each. A velo coasts so well you wind up doing short, hard sprints and a lot of coasting, which feels miserable.
A commuting cyclist will not get tired, he maintains a comfortable effort and pace throughout the ride.
Footpaths are for pedestrians. Bike paths and lanes are often so badly designed and maintained that experienced cyclists prefer the regular roadway. Riding in traffic is a skill. A mirror mounted on your helmet is a great aid.

Last edited by Bicycle Bob; 09-24-2009 at 01:00 PM.. Reason: P.S.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Imagine if this technology were applied to a multi-passenger vehicle?

eROCKIT | A new vehicle category: The Human-Hybrid-Motorcycle
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two_Weeks View Post
Imagine if this technology were applied to a multi-passenger vehicle?
A multi-passenger vehicle? How this?
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/...ff.enlarge.jpg
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two_Weeks View Post
Imagine if this technology were applied to a multi-passenger vehicle?

eROCKIT | A new vehicle category: The Human-Hybrid-Motorcycle
Seems like it is just an electric motorcycle. The only difference is that pedal acts as regen. And of course pedaling acts as the throttle, but that is more of a gimmick then anything, the throttle could be on the handlebars like a regular motorcycle.

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