Elpedal of Norway has introduced a prototype pedelec with a twist. The so-called Podbike features four wheels, pedals, a drivers’ cab and a removable battery. Moreover, it has a dual-motor chainless setup, which has also been dubbed a rolling chassis.
Up until recently, all images and concepts of the prototype have been rendered computer models, so finally the newly released physical model answers a number of questions.
++ This article has been updated since the order books opened, kindly see below. ++
While the vehicle has pedals, these are not used to propel the pod directly, but linked to a generator. As the passenger pedals, the generated energy is passed on to hub motors attached to each rear wheel, which then power the wheels. The removable battery adds additional power, allowing the Podbike to reach a top speed of up to 25 kph.
If only the batteries are used, the range is expected to be around 60 km, however the modular nature of the bike allows for batteries to be swapped or added, giving the rider more flexibility.
The first batch of twelve vehicles will be released in Germany next April at the Spezi, a specialty bike show. A consumer model is expected to be available in Norway in 2019, and pricing is estimated to start around 4,500 euros. Currently there are no plans to release the quasi e-bike in the USA, as American legislation requires electric bikes to have a maximum of three wheels.
Update, October, 15, 2018: Elpedal say they have received over a 1,000 pre-orders so far. They are also working on launching a little fleet of test bikes for family, friends and neighbours to test. Large scale production is set to begin in 2019 although the small company is currently finding it hard to source (or make) most components in Norway at a competitive price.