They cost a fortune to run with their diesel and petrol engines. They produce poisonous emissions and greenhouse gases and consume massive amounts of limited resources. And they make you fat.
Both for you and the environment. Unfortunately, few use them for personal transport. The challenge is how to get more people to use cycles instead of cars. PODBIKE® is a human powered vehicle with electric assist that seek to mate comfort and practicality from cars with the low environmental impact and healthy life-style from cycling.
Traditional bicycles have been available for over a hundred years but lack weather protection and high speed capability and offer zero crash protection. Electric assisted bicycles, or pedelecs, remove the burden from pedalling up steep hills or in strong headwind. But they do not remedy the problem of lack of weather protection, nor do they offer any crash protection. Streamlined velomobiles, cycles with a streamlined body, are much faster, have at least some weather and crash protection but lack the ‘creature comfort’ a modern car offers. The PODBIKE® is a new electric assisted velomobile constructed within a sustainable envelope with the following qualities:
By itself each of these targets are not something special, but the sum results in a unique vehicle, the PODBIKE®.
The PODBIKE® improve the velomobile by reducing the gap between cars and human powered vehicles while maintaining sustainability by various means:
The focus is on practicality, safety, low maintenance and high sustainability. The motivation is the ongoing and escalating climate change primarily caused by excessive human consumption of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. Velomobiles are the best in class personal transport based on energy consumption during production and use. It reduce the emissions from transport by a factor of ten or more compared with electric cars on renewable energy and a factor of at least forty compared with modern cars traditional and hybrid ICE cars. They also diminish noise and air pollution, remove traffic jams and require much less parking space. Electric assist velomobiles will also provide exercise.
The increased car usage is in conflict with necessary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Cycles could have been much better for personal transport but bicycle racing regulations has severely limited improvements, especially in aerodynamics.
Several improvements are needed to make velomobile good enough to be an accepted substitute for a car. Important areas include creature comfort, practicality and safety. Avoiding the need for type approval is also important. The velomobile must legally be an electric assisted cycle for market and cost reasons.