Electric cars, perhaps not, but let's see more electric trikes

I recently picked up a surplus battery-powered motor assist for a bicycle, and it's a lot of fun. Due to lower power you have to start peddling to 3mph and then it can run the bike for 10 miles at 10mph (for normal weight people, not me.)

All-electric cars didn't do well in the market in part because people were scared of their limited range, slow charging and and high cost, and the annoyance of plugging them in. They love hybrids because they don't have the range problem. Some folks are promoting plug-in hybrids, which are hybrids with lots of batteries. You can and should charge them from the grid, but you don't have to, so your range is the same as a gas car (or better) and on most trips you are much more efficient.

But perhaps cars are the wrong target. Electric bikes are heavy and a little more unstable when slow or being walked, and get really bad if you put enough batteries on them to go 20 or 30 miles. But trikes on the other hand are stable and you can load a lot more batteries onto them for serious range. And electric trikes are wicked efficient, in terms of cost (and fuel burned) per mile of travel. Orders of magnitude ahead of hybrid cars.

And all this is quite cheap to make if done in quantity. If our cities made more bike paths and bike lanes these trikes could become a major commute form, especially in California with its assured good weather. Yes, it's not perfect -- you have to recycle the batteries, and you do have rain to worry about, and the speed is definitely lower. But for shopping trips, neighbourhood trips and short commutes it seems a giant win.


I assume your comments would apply as easily to quads as to trikes? Most ATV designs have migrated to a four-wheel design for improved stability; while less of an issue for city commutes, I'd suggest the advantages you list of trikes over two-wheelers still apply for quads.

Brad, have you ever ridden a trike? Riding a trike around a corner is very tricky. Much harder than riding a bicycle.

It varies with the trike. Some trikes have independent suspension on the rear wheels that allows them to bank.

The trike should be configured with two wheels in the front.
The body with the rear wheel should tilt into the turn making it much more stable. The center of gravity must be as low as possible requiring a "reclined" position for the driver. The cockpit should be able to be enclosed for weather conditions. The trike of coarse should be as light as possible, rear drive.

The british style upright trikes have too many problems to mention, but there are a variety of recumbent trikes available, some even made in the USA. Many of the manufacturers offer power assist as a standard option, and some of the owners are not at all fit. Greenspeed even make an extra-wide model rated for riders over 300lbs... www.greenspeed.com.au

Combine it with a streamlined body and you have an all-weather velomobile suitable for just about anything except being stuck in traffic on a hot day.

i am doing john o groats to lands end in june on one of the same i found one that cand do 30 miles on assist on the internet and imported from an american site its cheaper even with p&P and plus all the spares pumps ect... i suffer with ceribal palsey and it means that i can go out bike riding with my freinds as well as doing more miles than my mobility scooter which is anouther plus becouse i feel not old enough for one of them i am only 22 and i would like to live the same kind of life as my freinds and family and maybe the kids in my area will leave me alone and stop taking the mick out of me. and i can live in peace or at least try 2. i dont like cars buses because they are too clostraphobic well thats what i think

Power to you, David!

I just bought an Apoyo from ActionBent (TW-Bents importer). It was *cheap* on eBay... I think I'm gonna add a hub motor next year after I get in better shape. Maybe a cheap brushed crystalite that I can over-volt and do 25-35mph on. ;-)

Too bad batteries aren't cheaper and lighter!

a smooth fairing would be an improvement, for rain and effiecency. also light rail( for the whole vehicle). then use it as a commuter off the track.

Take a look at the Bug E. It's basically what you are talking about here.

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