Swedish designer Mikael Kjellman has created a unique vehicle that looks like a tiny car, but has the internal workings of an electric bicycle. He calls it the PodRide bicycle car.
“I really like to bike, but where I live in Sweden, the weather is not always very bicycle-friendly,” Mikael explained. “So I designed and built a four-wheeled bike with full fabric body to keep dry and warm in all weathers. I have driven it to work every day for a year now and it has proven to be a very practical and comfortable little vehicle.”
The ‘bicycle car’ has several advantages over a traditional electric bicycle – it comes with a waterproof body, heated windscreen, soft seat with back support, studded tires for snowy roads, and air suspension. It also has some trunk space in the back, as well as functional headlights and a tow bar in case someone wants to add a bike trailer.
To be honest, the 70-kg, 145-cm high PodRide isn’t the best looking vehicle. According to Auto Evolution, “it looks more like a runaway stroller than a vehicle driven by an adult,” a description I would have to agree with. But there’s no denying that it’s cheap to use, environmentally friendly, and supposedly also fun to drive. The 250-watt electric motor provides enough power for up to 60 kilometers on a single battery charge, at a speed of up 25 km per hour, which is amazing for an urban vehicle.
The big question is “do you need a driver’s license to use PodRide”? Mikael says it is legal to drive without a license in Sweden, but other countries have their own rules. In the UK, for example, the rules for electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs) state that the motor shouldn’t havle to propel the more than 200 watts of power and shouldn’t be able to propel the vehicle at speeds of over 15.5 miles per hour. PodRide’s stats are at the upper limits, but I guess it would still be approved as an EAPC. But it’s the 4 wheels that might be problematic as the rules state that such vehicles “can be 2-wheeled bicycles, tandems or tricycles.”
The Swedish engineer is currently running an Indiegogo campaign, where he’s already surpassed his initial goal of $30,000. With these funds he wants to develop a kit based on his prototype, intended for home builders and small pro builders. “This campaign is designed to raise money, but the long term goal is to promote bicycle cars,” he said. “So it is equally important to spread the word, show your friends love, share online, talk to your local politicians and traffic planners show that this kind of vehicles exist and work.”
If he manages to raise over $100,000, Mikael intends to start selling DIY PodRide kits that can be assembled “like IKEA furniture”.
Photos: Mikael Kjellman