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Electrically assisted vehicle overcomes drawbacks of bicycles

16 June, 2016

The German bearings and automotive systems manufacturer Schaeffler has unveiled a concept two-seater vehicle designed to overcome some of the disadvantages of bicycles – such as their lack of stability, weather protection and storage space. The electrically-assisted, four-wheeled Bio-Hybrid vehicle can travel at speeds of up to 25km/h, does not need a driver’s licence, and is small enough to be used on bicycle lanes, thus reducing congestion in urban environments.

The 2.1m-long, 1.5m-high and 85cm-wide vehicle has a power rating of 250–750W and a range of 50–100km.  It has an automatic gearshift system, and includes an electric reverse gear that allows it to be manoeuvred easily. The battery system is removable and the vehicle’s roof can be stored under its seat using a swing mechanism that transforms the Bio-Hybrid into a “cabriolet”. A smartphone connection gives the driver to access weather reports and traffic updates.

Schaeffler does not expect to see large numbers of these vehicles on city streets in the near future. “Important prerequisites with regard to infrastructure must be fulfilled before this type of individual vehicle can become established in the market,” says Professor Peter Gutzmer, Schaeffler’s deputy CEO and chief technology officer. “Metropolitan areas and major cities must continue to change – and they will.

Schaeffler's Bio-Hybrid vehicle is designed to overcome congestion in city centres

“Cities such as London, Paris and Singapore are already investing hundreds of millions in the development of cycle lanes,” he adds. “High-speed cycle tracks that connect cities, for example, in the Ruhr area in Germany, will enable extension stages of the micro-mobile with higher speeds. There are already discussions in Germany about opening cycle tracks with a legal speed limit of 40 km/h. All of these developments mean that our concept has great potential to change urban mobility.”

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