Pedal car for adults
Podride is the latest word from Europe on small, energy-efficient vehicles
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.
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)
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