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Tandem Bike Inspired City Cars

Posted in Bizarre, Electric Cars, Emissions, Human Powered Vehicles by Geoff | October 24th, 2008 | Leave a Reply |


If you’ve ever felt the desire to get in some cardio work while driving to or from work, you are going to LOVE this three-wheeled German-built contraption called the Twike. The rather unfortunate name is a combination of the two words Twin and Bike and effectively describes this light, two passenger electric vehicle.

The Twike design has been around for over a decade, first appearing in Switzerland in 1996.Using a joystick to steer, drivers can select an all-electric version, or choose to use the pedals to save electricity, extend the range and provide exercise for the driver. Though at first glance, such a vehicle would seem to be pretty far-fetched, with a maximum range of 90 miles per charge and a top speed of 53 mph a Twike could meet a variety of urban uses where a normal bike is just not sufficient.  Mainly, a few more bags of groceries or a child.  The Germans are not the only ones getting in on pedal-powered electric city cars.  The iSolo, built by the Hungarian automaker Andros Group, is similar to the Twike in that it is an ultralight (770-lb), electric vehicle that can run on solar energy gathered from the roof panels, from plug-in electricity, or pedal power.  As a bonus, you can share the pedaling workload with a partner in the iSolo; each seat has two pedals.  The upside to teaming up is that the top speed of the iSolo is is said to be 80 mph, 25 more than the Twike.  How much fun would it be to pick up your date and say, “Starla, you’ll need to kick off those high heels and lend a hand if we are going to make our reservation at Applebees.” 

Londoners are given incentives to drive zero emissions vehicles. Not only do they not have to pay for expensive fuel, but they are also exempt from road taxes or the London congestion charge of eight pounds a day.  Many UK municipalities also offer free parking for electric car users.  In parts of Central London electric vehicles can park for free, and some places even offer free charging at one of the 250 on-street charging points added nationally.

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