Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Four-wheel velomobile and power assist


Four-wheel velomobile and power assist
Quad velomobiles appear to be making a big impact on the velomobile scene.  While the concept is not new, there were four-wheel pedal cars early in the 20th century.  Charles Mochet built a small four-wheeled 'bike'-car that he called it a Velocar.  It was not very efficient or aerodynamic but it was relatively inexpensive and it could take you places with a passenger and bit of luggage.  Apparently there were some 1000 Mochet Velocar produced.  At that time, motorized vehicles were out of reach for many and horses were not practical for urban dwellers, these velocars provided transportation for many.  They disappeared when motorized vehicles were mass-produced and became affordable.  While three-wheel velomobile reappeared in the late 70’s, four-wheel designs were not commercially produced.

Velomobile Designer Miles Kingsbury created the Quattro velomobile.   While other four-wheelers were created in recent times, Miles’ design made the four-wheeler aerodynamically efficient at close to the level of three-wheelers.  The Quattro was no a commercial product and was used by Miles to race and tour.  The Quattro was able to cross the USA during ROAM, keeping up with traditional designs.  A presentation from Miles Kingsbury on his project convinced Allert Jacobs that it was not only possible to build a commercial four-wheel velomobile but that it had certain advantages over traditional three-wheel designs.  In particular, the four-wheel design provides better stability, increased carrying capacity and potentially more safety for rider.  It has a few drawbacks however like increased weight, complexity, cost and potentially less aerodynamic, not to mention it is potentially not considered a bicycle and may, as a result be illegal on the roads.

This week I was made aware of another four-wheel velomobile project (see below).  This is the fourth velomobile project currently and publically underway.  As I reported already, Velomobiel, Alligt and IntercityBike have projects at different stage of development.  Alligt is looking for partners to commercialize the Sunrider Veloquad four-wheel velomobile.

On forums discussions on user requirements for the quads appear to be mostly about the need for electric assistance some people even asking for motors as big as 800W!  A number of others are asking for faster vehicles with additional space, windshield wipers and other things you would find in a motorized vehicle adding a lot of weight, complexity and cost.  It looks like most of these people are looking for a car alternative.  As I have said before, heavy velomobiles with large motors are no longer a human powered vehicle with assistance, but they become nano-cars or at best e-velomobiles.  They will have to meet more stringent regulations and new requirements like seatbelts, additional impact protection and possibly not be able to use the cycling infrastructure.  I have talked about this before in my post last May on the definition of a velomobile

When I see comments on the different forums on the subject of e-velomobiles or nano-cars, I often see comments from people who do not own a velomobile, have never ridden in a velomobile and many times never seen a velomobile up close.  So they are potential customers but if you ask would they pay more for an e-velomobile or nano-car that a standard velomobile, you have many people shy away, others are waiting to see.  The one thing manufacturers have to ask themselves is if these opinions and requiements are those of serious customers or are they those of people who just have a passing interest.

As I’ve said before, I have no problems with people finding a more economical and less polluting transportation.  The issues I have with these vehicles are many.  One of the most important is that some potentially from the outside, in some form e-velomobiles could look like a regular velomobile and it may come a time when police will assume that our velomobiles are not human powered and denied the same rights as bicycles.  This is not far fetched; in many areas e-bikes have been banned from the cycling infrastructure.  Like e-bikes, we may also attract people who have lost their drivers licenses for different offences.  In the long term, this could also taint perception from other cyclists; users of the roadway and the public in general have towards velomobiles.   As a result, human powered velomobile or those with minimal e-assist would face discrimination.  While transforming velomobiles into nano-cars could be a boon for manufacturers who may attract new customers, manufacturers will have to deal with increased scrutiny, e-cars have much more stringent requirements.  Are the manufacturers going to abandon he HPV market or suck the development and production resources for potentially higher number of nano-cars than HPV?  On the longer term, will high-volume producers in Asia come and overtake the new market, driving current manufacturers into bankruptcy leaving HPV riders without manufacturers?

This begs the question: Can we have successful four-wheel velomobiles without electric assist?

Velomo

Reader Marc S. pointed out that trike and recumbent manufacturer Velomo has also started development of yet another four-wheel velomobile.  Since Velomo is a manufacturer of bikes and trikes, it is not clear to me if this is going to be a shell on frame vs monocoque or self-supporting shell construction.

The quad will apparently provide plenty of room to 30kg Shopping + child seat, a standard support for motor is planned. Part of the new velomobile is probably going to be made from flax fiber.

The Velomo quad will offer the following features:
-Four wheels – the front wheels will have independent front suspension with 5cm wheel travel and a torsion beam rear axle with 8cm wheel travel
-Motor assist
-Storage compartment lockable and waterproof for 52liters and 1,5l water bottle over and above twice as much storage space inside the cockpit
-Max weight to 200kg
-Empty weight significantly below 50kg (with motor)
-complete electrical system including (turn signals, HiLight60 as a front light + high beam, rear light with brake light, audio system (optional), battery monitoring, etc.)
-Motor assist range if only used to climb and when starting - 200km +  
Safety package (optional harness; box beam for side impact protection; crumple zones, front / rear; and a rollbar
-Adjustable ventilation
-optional windshield with wipers (not plastic .. disk can be kept small, so relatively easy)
-optional hard top or soft top (the latter can be rolled up and stowed in the trunk)
-Will accommodate a wide size of riders  with a fully adjustable
-Drivetrain fully enclosed, easy to reach all parts
-Wheels will be easily removable without having to fiddle around with the chain
-Tire size up to 60mm (Then forward with open wheel arches)
- "Eco", because the body will be made of almost 100% renewable raw materials

Cab Bike –Pima

Polish company Pima is holding an important promotion by offering selected products at a serious discount including the Cab-Bike Hawk velomobile. The first ten orders for each of the items on sale will be given a significant promotional discount.  To qualify, the order should be made using the order form available on the company webiste www.cabbike.pl the offer ends March 31, 2016 and it is opened to anyone.  See website for details.

Cab Bike Hawk Classic Velomobile normally priced at €4 970 (tax incl.) is offered at €3 727 (tax incl.) This is a 25% price reduction over the list price! The Egg&Roll and the Taifun Compact trailers are also priced at a significant discount.  It is very rare to see velomobiles sold at promotional prices.

Velomobile Seminar 2015

I would like to find the proceedings on-line to the papers/slides presented at the Velomobile Seminar held last fall.   I did find a few slides here and there but nothing comprehensive.  I think it is sad that the great information that speakers have spent hours to research prepare is not shared widely.  I have not seen any reference to a Seminar in 2016.  If anyone know where the presentations from the 2015 event or has information to share on the next event please post a comment below.

I wish that the organizers of next seminar find a way for participants and presenters to attend on-line making it more accessible and to make it a worldwide event.  I think that using Google Hangout or similar tool would certainly increase participation, exposure and enhance the quality of the information.  I suggest organizers also find a way for participants and presenters to mingle using video links and message boards outside the presentations to help create closer ties between continents.

Laidback Report

Earlier this week velomobile riders Josef Janning, Doug Davis and myself were interviewed for The Laidback Report podcast (www.laidbackbikereport.com) by host Gary Solomon.  The show was dedicated to the world of velomobiles and answered everything you wanted to know about velomobiles.  Don’t worry if you missed the live podcast, you can catch the show on You Tube here:


32 comments:

  1. Some additions:
    - Flevobike also is thinking about a four-wheeled velomobile. I do not know in what stage the development is, but André Vrielink said it would only be produced if a good investor can be found.
    - Some comments on the Velomobile Seminar 2015 can be found here: http://blog.fietser.be/2015/11/verslag-8th-international-velomobile.html(in Dutch)

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  2. The other question also is an interesting one. If one adds e-assistance to an existing velomobile, it stays a velomobile, I guess. If a vehicle is developed around an electric engine, it's no longer to be considered as 'assistance'. This is, for instance, what the Twike is about (or the Veloschmitt, that seems to have disappeared without a trace). But there is no clear line in between. The only clear line one could draw is: no assistance. But then a velomobile would be completely useless in mountainous areas.

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  3. Without assist, it is clearly a velomobile but I see why ASSIST can help less powerful riders so they can ride longer, faster and climb steeper hills. As I mentioned in my earlier post defining a velomobile, the assistance should not be more than the power an average rider could produce. In my opinion 250W ASSIST in a velomobile would probably meet most of requirements. Where I have a bit of an issue is the speed limits associated with rules for this power level in many areas that were determined with regular bike/trike in mind and are very restrictive as less powerful velomobile riders that could be assisted to easily and safely reach 45-50km/h on the flats, a speed that many of us can reach on our own. The problem comes from people who are not happy with velomobile and want to add more features, convenience you find in cars including even higher speeds these turn them into nano cars not velomobiles.

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  4. Electric 'toys' often seem to get immediately 'banned' from both pavement/sidewalk use and road/highway use. The Segway was one, microscooters seem to be getting similar treatment and I've heard threats for those fire-prone "hoverboards" (which don't hover - I don't understand - it's just a mini segway).
    Meeting the full legislation for an 'electric motorbike' which is how anything other than a minimal-assist velomobile would be classified in these parts looks onerous. Even just the requirement for insurance on a non-standard/non-conventional motorvehicle is troublesome - I've assisted a customer on this matter in the past but it is was fight (a farming-based insurer was the only one who understood).
    Rob
    wrhpv.com

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  5. Another veloquad in developing stage. http://www.podbike.com.

    I think people should ride in velomobiles and veloquads first before judging them. In my opinion it is an early step in evolution to see e-velomobiles as a velomobile with motor, or something developed around an electromotor.

    The integration between men and machine is probably most important for safety and acceptation. Give the driver the control over acceleration and speed with his legs. Give him the feeling to be a powerful person. (he is the mouse and the e-drive is the elephant) And give him rest in his head and body to obey the evoluating traffic rules and to be an efficient and polite driver. To make a vehicle that it gives the right feedback to the driver to control his adrenaline level is a long way. We are (I'm) where the car-industry was a century ago.

    Leo Visscher

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  6. Leo, with all due respect, the Podbike is exactly the type of Nano Car I'm referring to. While the details are not known, the aluminum and plastic body, the two motors, the batteries and the generator will make this a relatively heavy vehicle that will require the stored energy in the batteries to make it practical. Leave with an empty battery and try to pedal 20km and you will probably abandon, especially if there is a few little hills to climb along the way.

    As I've said before, I have nothing against Nano Cars but they should not be called velomobiles just because they have pedals, they are essentially motorized vehicles with pedal assist not efficient human powered vehicles with some motor assistance. The pedals may make the riders feel better about themselves but the largest proportion, if not all the power to the wheel comes from the batteries not the pedals.

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  7. Luc, I assume than that you call the Sunrider veloquad a Nano Car too. That is not what I call it. But who care. I don't. It looks if you have problems whit people who are not as fit as you, or have other priorities in their life and daily behavior. I see HPV only people as my closed partners. Their are my roots too. From 2 wheel recumbents to 3 wheel and now 4 wheel velomobiels. Going from my twenties' over the thirties' to my forties'. I know now what I will use and hopefully produce when I'm 60. Do you?

    I'm also a producer of parts. Mostly for human powered only velomobiles. I hope you will not rip your bike apart because you don't want my parts. I can't help that sometimes a heavy velomobile, with electro assistant, producer makes the lightest and most efficient parts. I see us as partners. I help HPV producers to make their bikes best. And often they help me.

    And because of the big number of e-bikes who are sold the lichtwicht infrastructure for lichtwicht vehicles is developing. Not because of the few thousand velomobiles who are drive around the wold. We help ourself best, as a lichtwicht vehicles industrie, to stay together to everything witch is over ±100 kg.

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  8. Leo, I do not have a problem with people who are not as fit as I am but if people who are not fit require a powered vehicle because they cannot or do not want sustain the effort has nothing to do with the definition of a velomobile. By definition, a velomobile is an efficient human powered vehicle. Daniel Fenn was saying that his highly modified DF requires a bit more than 100W to ride at 50km/h on relatively flat terrain. So lets say that a lesser velomobile requires 150 or 175W for 40km/h. This is still within the range of the average cyclist to maintain and maybe peak at 250W but when you need 350W to push the vehicle at 30km/h you exceed the power of an average cyclist, at that point you do not have an efficient design and you require more than an average rider can sustain therefore you lose the claim that it is a Human Powered vehicle. There is nothing wrong with alternative transportation, it is just not a velomobile. It has nothing to do with the number of wheels but the weight, design and aerodynamics. A 100kg vehicle will not be pedaled by an average rider for a 20km distance.

    I cannot comment on the Sunrider VeloQuad, I hope it can be ridden for a good distabce if the motor fails. I do not stop people and companies from making or designing alternative vehicles but I'm afraid that like bicycle manufacturers who started building cars, the velomobile manufacturers who will go into alternative vehicles may soon abandon velomobiles. If velomobiles turn into alternative vehicles, HPV velomobiles will suffer from over regulations that have nothing to do with them so I urge that we call them something else. I understand that from a business standpoint, you may sell more alternative vehicles than HPV as they become popular.

    I am not going to remove the idlers yo are making if you decide to go into alternative vehicles but I hope you will continue making those parts for the HPV where you started.

    Well now approaching the end of my 6th decade, I hope to ride my HPV for some time to come, I hope you will too.

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    1. Hi Luc. Respect to all your great job, but...I will use the words from your blog : The last thing we would want is for any kind of "us vs them" attitude to develop towards the velomobile enthusiasts. Let's keep working together as preserving the positive energy of the velomobile community and continued growth of the industry should be top priority for all."

      Leo Visscher is right - and time will prove it - assisted velomobile is simply more practical and fun and will attract more people - good for velomobile community power.

      In my opinion the problem is SPEED!!! Even lightest machine with average driver weight more then 100 kg. At 40 km/h on the park bicycle path is a killing machine doesn´t matter if assisted or not. With increased number of velomobiles some rules will be necessary. Working together will help to make them better.








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    2. "Even lightest machine with average driver weight more then 100 kg"
      I'm 70kg, my EvoK was 24kg from the factory.

      Putting motors on bicycles has been 'a thing' since the 1880s. They are a *different thing* and are called motorbikes. They have a whole lot of extra legislation compared to the simplicity of the bicycle in all it's flavours.

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    4. Hi Rob. Sorry for that 6 kg if you are an average Japanese. One good lunch and bottle of water will make it.

      In todays Europe there is a pedelec category fully under bicycle legislation.

      In my opinion every bicycle faster then 30 km/h should be excluded from urban bicycle paths and share roads with cars (bus lanes) or go to velodrome.

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    5. While I agree that some kind of low power assist can be useful in a velomobile, I think the threshold has to remain low. Small vehicles based on velomobile technology that have more power should jump to another category and even require clear identification. I agree that there may be cases for limiting the speed on some bicycle paths but in this case there should be an alternative. I understand that some countries force bikes to use cycle paths when available and restricting speed would be a deterrent to the use of efficient transportation. On the other hand, if alternative powered vehicles gain access to cycle paths, their size/weight along with their speed could force regular bicycles out of the road. Drivers of these vehicles may start claiming the path as theirs like cars have done on many roads or get unfaired cyclists to demand that bikes with fairings including velomobiles be banned altogether affecting HPVs. There is a very delicate balance and this is why a separate category should be introduced as I suggested. I'm not opposed to some manufacturers use some of their resources to tap into the market but I'm also worried that soon enough it will be easier to design and produce a larger and heavier velomobile and slap on an engine than designing a building an efficient lightweight velomobile that can travel at over 50km/h under human power.

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    6. 'faster than 40km/h' depends very much on terrain... I have lived in cities where most any pedal cycle, or indeed an unpowered skateboard, could achieve that easily on the downhills...

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    7. Exactly Luc - mopeds are a nuisance on Dutch cyclepaths. The proposed 50km/h eBikes would presumably offer the same level of danger.

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    8. By coincidence in the UK media today:
      http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/an-e-bike-with-more-than-250-watts-of-power-is-a-moped-warn-orgs/019175

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    9. Yes, I do agree with keeping assistance output on some decent level. It will keep motivation to construct light machines with good aerodinamics. On the other side ability to keep speed of 25 km/h (EU pedelec limit) up every steep hill and good acceleration on the lights will be perfect for comfort as well as for safety. 25 km/ h is easy speed almost for everybody on flat terrain even without assistance. So why to not get that advantage?

      From my point of view is better to limit empty weight and assisted speed - not the motor output. And if yes- lets set the limit to 1000 Watt - even the overveight riders and cargo bikes will get the chance. And usually you get a little less than you ask, so better to ask a bit more :).

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    10. Again, since a velomobile is a Human Powered Vehicle, how could we say the assist should be about five times the sustained power of an individual and higher than the capacity of 95% of bike rider to be able produce this for peak power on any given day.

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    11. Luc, I don´t think I will change your mind, but I try to explain my point of view.

      A few years ago I was a national level competition glider pilot. (Beautiful sport) That time we - the pure sportsmen - has doubts about the sense of motorgliders and sport value of them. Its mentally different world and I disliked them. But if I had to fly daily to work, my choice will be a motorglider - effective,fun and not so dependent on weather. The glider pilot licence was enough for both machines.

      That´s why I understand you, but disagree with you. The technology is here to help us and our minds, hearts and responsibility should lead us on the right way.

      The velomobile is a kind of a bicycle, right? The bicycle is not only sport machine but also an economic and ecologic transport, touring, lifestyle, hobby, fitness, art ......! The same potential have a velomobile! The right design and clever rules might lead to something greater then individual downhill speed record adrenaline satisfaction!




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  9. Hi Luc, history will tell us what is in the name in the future. A few years ago I started using "snelfiets" in the Netherlands for bikes with electro and 45 km/h. No one started using it so far. I call it velomobile to because there is not one definition of a velomobile. Even your group of people like to use some electro assistance hill up, or use accu's for save lichting systems and not a dynamo. And then use a strange type of definition of saying that then 250 Watt max is still a velomobile. And than using the 250 Watt above the speed of 25 km/h. And than angry if somebody like to introduce meaningful regulation.

    I think you don't have to be afraid if you ride or build 100 % Human power only for regulations. Perhaps there will be general speel limits for all traffic. But that make sense. Driving 50 in a crowded city make no sense, car or bike. If you live in a country with bad covernace you may have luck (if you may padel with no speed limits) or be unlucky (If they think they need all space for cars, or if you are a woman and not allowed to drive.) But that is not of my concern. I make a meaningful vehicle. For me it is healty, efficient and I can drive it with pleasure. And that fits now in the moped regulations now (in Germany and the Netherlands)

    I can drive 20 km/h in my Sunrider Veloquad, but I hate it. I'm use to 40-45 km/h and I don't want drive slower. In my car I also don't drive 30 km/h if 80 is allowed and save. It make no sense to make a hybrid who is also good for peddling only. Than the quality is simply not good enough if you have the feeling that you need the pedels as back up. You need pedels as a integrated part of the vehicle. The quality is sadly not good enough at this moment. That is why I'm looking a big adoption producer for my hybrid. I can make a hand full 45 km/h velomobiles a year and than give good service and warranty for those few. But that is not a good business model. That is a developing strategie to come to the richt insights and partners.

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    1. I am one of those who feel that any design of velomobile should also meet the various specifications set out in different countries covering e-bike use. It should also be possible to limit the weight of pedal only powered single person velomobiles to a max. of 75 kgs. with the extra weight for the e-powered ones just limited to the battery, motor and controls only. I would also like to see governments lifting their restrictions against the four wheel designs because of the instability in cornering of the tricycle type. Although the present design of velomobiles is very much more efficient aerodynamically then bicycles, I think there is still potential for another half reduction, or more, in wind drag, so that an ordinary person, could keep up a pace by pedalling alone, on the flat for countless kilometers, of say 50 KPH., using only e-power for hill climbing and accelerating away from stop. I would like to see comparative velomobile designs between rotary and linear (Treadle) pedal layouts. Comparing the higher mechanical efficiency of rotary pedalling against the far smaller more aerodynamically efficient body possible with the linear pedal arrangement. Large, very economically constructed wind tunnels made from house construction materials, like the "Geevers" wind tunnel would be very useful in extracting the greatest potential of human powered vehicles. I also feel that if most of people's commuting was done by the using of velomobiles, huge reductions in public spending on healthcare and infrastructure would be possible, not to say their financial well being as well.

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    2. We already have riders pushing the aerodynamic envelope - with road riders using hoods to push the efficiency of road-going velomobiles.
      We have the Battle Mountain race for those interested in specialised absolute speed.
      We already have domestic racing pushing designs and efficiency.
      We have the World Championship/CycleVision events where the 3-hr race encourages the use of efficient machines.
      We have had the linear k-drive. It has it's problems and is rarely seen anymore.
      We are already buying this kit when it is good. Homebuilders push the envelope where the manufacturers don't.

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  10. Make what you like. Sell what you can.
    Don't steal our name. Make a new one.
    Velomobile is a human powered vehicle - a bicycle in most legislations.
    If you are making an electric motorbike/micro car then call it that. Don't use our established name.

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    1. Let's keep working together as preserving the positive energy of the velomobile community and continued growth of the industry should be top priority for all."

      Other way take your velo and go for a ride to calm down! :)

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  11. Maybe pulling a name from velomobile and recumbent history would be appropriate for the vehicles you describe as "nano-cars" (such as the ELF) - call them velocars.

    It's worth noting that post-war Vélocars were rather quick to sprout 100 cc engines, putting them in the voiture sans permis category (or, nowadays, the European L6e light quadricycle category, which effectively is a four-wheel moped legally). But, even when they were human-powered, Vélocars were trying to be cars.

    I'd also say that there's a few different ways to look at propulsion systems, and whether a vehicle with electric assist is still a velomobile, or is a velocar.

    If it's human-powered, probably a velomobile.

    If it's a European-style pedelec (25 km/h/15.5 mph max until assist cuts out, 250 W max, must be pedaling to get assist), it's still probably a velomobile, especially if the human-powered model exists and is practical to ride as a velomobile. The motor assists the rider.

    If it's against all of the legal limits of a US-style low-speed electric bicycle (20 mph/32 km/h max until assist cuts out, 750 W max, can use throttle), it's probably not a velomobile any more, if it ever was. So, the ELF is a velocar, under this classification. Not a velomobile, but legally a bicycle in the US (or at least the states that recognize the federal law). The rider assists the motor. (Or, the rider doesn't assist the motor, and just lays on the throttle.) And, really, a lot of these velocars are working in the North American environment, where there's no equivalent to something like the French voiture sans permis class (although, that class doesn't exist in France any more, IIRC - L6e requiring a moped license, and allowing for 45 km/h/28 mph), except for abusing the limits of the low-speed electric bicycle class. Then again, the equivalent to the modern L6e class in the US would be the low-speed vehicle class, which allows 25 mph/40.2 km/h, with very relaxed limits otherwise. That class is full of glorified golf carts with lead acid batteries, plus the odd L6e car converted for US use, but I suspect someone could get a fairly beefy ELF-esque four wheel vehicle through it.

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    1. Eric: Thank you for the comment, it provides an overview of the current landscape of assist regulations in Europe and the USA. As you know, I think that assist in a velomobile should be just that and there should be power to the pedals to extract the power of the assist. Maybe the power should be given on a ratio based on how much the rider pedals; the rider pedals lightly, the controller gives little assist power pedal hard and get full assist. I don't know if limiting the maximum speed at least to the same level as a non-faired bike is appropriate for a velomobile; maybe 45km/h for 250W or maybe just 200W or something like that. This would at least provide an incentive for the manufacturers to keep the design efficient, not make a complete mockery of assist. These velomobiles should be equipped with proper turning signals, lights, etc. Anything above that power pedal or not should be classed as a Nano Car, Velocar or whatever as long as it is not a velomobile.

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    2. Well, then you have to think about what the purpose of "assist" is, and have to change how a lot of jurisdictions think about these things. (But, then, "velomobile" isn't a legal term, just an industry classification. Hypothetically you could build something that's a true velomobile, but is legally required to meet full motorcycle or even car regulations, due to going faster than 25 mph (four wheels in the US or Canada), 45 km/h (Europe), or 30 mph (three wheels in most US states) under assist depending on what class you're going for and how many wheels it has.)

      At 45 km/h, you're looking at European moped or L6e light quadricycle regulations, really. (And, moped regulations in most US states, for that matter.) Granted, some European jurisdictions (Germany comes to mind) have special treatment for moped-classed e-bikes (or, in their legal terminology, "schnell pedelecs"). Or, for four-wheelers, in the US, you're looking at either slowing to 25 mph to comply with low-speed vehicle regulations, or complying with full-on car regulations. (And, I'm not even sure if an LSV is allowed to exceed 25 mph under any form of power input, even human power. So, the LSV class may be useless to four-wheel velomobiles on the flat, although it's definitely useful for the velocars.)

      If you think of assist as something to help a heavy but aerodynamic velomobile get off the line and up hills, though, then even the strict European 25 km/h limit is likely adequate, and the 250 W power limit, IMO, would make things like the ELF less workable. (It's worth noting that the Twike is Swiss, and Switzerland's pedelec regulations are essentially a copy and paste of the European pedelec laws, but with 500 watts to aid in mountain climbing.) But, given that we're talking about industry classification of "velomobile" vs. "velocar", not laws...

      And, really, speaking of laws... I don't know that regulators would be open to raising speed limits on electric bicycle classes - higher speeds result in reduced safety (less reaction time available to respond to a hazardous situation, more kinetic energy transferred in such a collision, less vehicle stability). And, given that, I almost wonder if regulators may try to respond to high velomobile speeds under human power, if velomobiles gain popularity, by restricting allowable speeds. (Then again, they haven't done anything about upright road bikes speeding, and there have been deaths caused by irresponsible riding when looking for Strava high scores.)

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    3. There have been high profile deaths in professional cycle racing but, as far as I'm aware, never any call for speed limitations...

      There is an industry-push from some EU bike & component manufacturers for 45km/h e-bikes but I'm not convinced there is enthusiasm beyond those wanting to make/sell them. It would seem to be low priority on the legislative agenda whilst the car industry has the ear of government.

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  12. Eric's suggestion of 'velocar' works well and has has history behind it :)

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    1. Lucky Swiss - velonauts of all sorts of velomobiles can enjoy theirs assisted velomobiles much better then the rest of the Europe.

      Eric, thanks for a clever article :)

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