Pedal car for adults

Po­dride is the lat­est word from Europe on small, energy-ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

SWEDISH de­sign en­gi­neer Mikael Kjell­man de­signed the Po­dRide, which he de­scribed as “a velo­mo­bile that is meant to be a prac­ti­cal ev­ery­day ve­hi­cle”.

It has ap­prox­i­mately the same sit­ting po­si­tion and seat height as a small car, al­low­ing easy ac­cess and good vis­i­bil­ity in traf­fic.

The elec­tric mo­tor and the bat­tery are the same as on an elec­tric bike so it is legally a nor­mal pedal cy­cle and may there­fore be op­er­ated on bi­cy­cle paths and with­out a li­cense.

The 88 cm axle dis­tance of the four wheels is nar­row enough for Europe’s bi­cy­cle paths, but sta­ble around cor­ners. Kjell­man added a full wa­ter­proof body to keep you warm and dry in any weather, heated wind­shield with man­u­ally-op­er­ated wipers, a soft seat with back sup­port, air sus­pen­sion and stud­ded tires for icy lanes in win­ter.

Op­tional ex­tras in­clude a small trunk for your shop­ping bags and a hitch for a bike trailer, to load ei­ther large loads or chil­dren. (Ed’s note, these trail­ers are pop­u­lar in places like the Nether­lands, but too un­safe in South Africa, where we choose to spend our money on coffins in­stead of birth­day can­dles.)

Kjell­man thinks there should be a fair per­cent­age of peo­ple in­ter­ested in buy­ing his pedal car for adults, de­spite the rather steep price of some R52 000, about the price of a used Toy­ota Tazz or City Golf in South Africa. “My as­sess­ment is that with large-scale pro­duc­tion the price would be €2 000 to €3 000. And then I think many peo­ple would be in­ter­ested. To­day they sell 60 mil­lion cars and 130 mil­lion bi­cy­cles per year in the world. There are over one bil­lion cars in the world now. If one per­cent of that mar­ket could be made to choose a ve­hi­cle that is a cross be­tween a car and a bi­cy­cle, it will be 1,9 mil­lion units. 1,9 mil­lion units with a sales price of €2 500 re­sult­ing in rev­enues of €4,7 bil­lion. This is just spec­u­la­tion, but there is cer­tainly po­ten­tial if you suc­ceed!

“With the en­vi­ron­men­tal and traf­fic prob­lems we have to­day as back­ground I be­lieve the trend will move to­ward small energy ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles. And in the long term 20-30 years, I think more small Po­dRide-like ve­hi­cles will be sold than pas­sen­ger cars.” said Kjell­man in a state­ment on his web­site.

Tech­ni­cal data:

Height: 180 cm Width: 75 cm Height: 145 cm Seat Height: 50 cm Weight: 70 kg Wheel: 20 inch tyres Wheel­base: 88 cm Turn­ing ra­dius: 1,75 m Mo­tor: 250 W elec­tric Gears: 14 speed hub Range: 60 km Speed: 25km/h; Co2 emis­sions: 7g/km (EU-elec­tric­ity mix)

PHO­TOS: JMKINNOVATION

The lat­est green ve­hi­cle from Europe is Swedish de­signer Mikael Kjell­man’s Po­dRide, which he hopes to sell for just over R50k.

The man­u­ally (dare we say dig­i­tally?) op­er­ated wipers above. RIGHT: Po­dRide opens like a truck’s en­gine bay, with the cab tilt­ing for­ward to give ac­cess to the soft chair

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