A Swedish design engineer is looking to launch his electric “bicycle-car” via an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. While Mikael Kjellman says PodRide should be a street legal bike in most countries, we have our doubts.
Despite having four wheels, Kjellman says the vehicle is narrow enough for use on bike paths and with a motor and control system from a standard e-bike, he hopes it would be treated in the same way.
It’s there that the similarity with e-bikes perhaps ends. Other features include a waterproof body, heated windscreen, a soft seat with back support, air suspension and studded tires for winter. There’s even a small boot, plus a tow bar for a bike trailer.
Kjellman, explained how the idea came about.
“I really like to bike, but where I Iive in Sweden, the weather is not always very bicycle-friendly. So I designed and built a four-wheeled bike with full fabric body to keep dry and warm in all weathers. I have driven it to work every day for a year now and it has proven to be a very practical and comfortable little vehicle.”
Kjellman’s video pitch is worth watching, even if only to see him doing doughnuts on ice.
In Great Britain, if you’re 14 or over, you don’t need a licence to ride an electric bike. But is PodRide an electric bike, or more accurately an ‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’ (EAPC)?
To meet the definition, an EAPC’s electric motor shouldn’t be able to propel it when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph. Kjellman says his prototype does 25km/h, which is pretty much this speed. The 250W motor is also at the upper limit of what’s acceptable.
There might however be an issue with the number of wheels. The rules for EAPCs state: “They can be 2-wheeled bicycles, tandems or tricycles.”
Any electric bike that doesn’t meet the EAPC rules needs to be registered and taxed. You’d need a driving licence to ride one and the vehicle would also need to be ‘type approved’ to ensure it was safe to use on the road.
Kjellman is looking to raise $30,000 over the next month. If successful, he is looking to develop a kit based on his prototype, intended for home builders and small pro builders.
“This campaign is designed to raise money, but the long term goal is to promote bicycle cars. So it is equally important to spread the word, show your friends, share online, talk to your local politicians and traffic planners show that this kind of vehicles exist and work.”