Nils Ferber Builds Bonkers Trike, Bike Nutters Rejoice!

Nils Ferber has gone from total anonymity to right near the tippy-top of my list of people I will let on my spaceship when the planet explodes – and he’s on that list by virtue of that thing up there:  project “EX”.

The fact that the EX is totally impractical and looks, on the surface, to have been commissioned by the same people who designed Futurama’s Suicide Booth is part the bike’s appeal – especially for those of you us who wanted to fly like Superman and dreamed of racing Lightcycles when we were kids, this looks like hot, battery-powered ticket.

Battery-powered?  Indeed!  This is a green-transportation blog, after all, so you knew the gist of the article would eventually touch on this car’s innovative use of compact li-ion 18V battery-packs and twin high-torque electric motors (below).

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus those are fairly standard-issue 18V cordless drills – the same kind many of you readers may already have stashed away somewhere in your home.  Combined, the 2 Bosch-sourced batteries put enough juice through the CNC-milled “gearbox” to scoot the EX to nearly 20 mph and certainly beyond, if you’re willing to replace the relatively wussy PSR 18 Li2 “motors” with the more terrifying 36V “Brute Tough” hammer drill (also from Bosch) … and let’s be real for a moment:  anyone seriously considering purchasing one of these things is very likely to tick the 36V “Brute Tough” option box, right?


The head-first riding position, trick CNC-machined gearbox, and brilliant re-purposing of the cordless drills aren’t the only bonkers things about the EX.  Ferber’s even designed a new way to steer, creating a metallic “spine” that, by shifting your weight, will actually change the shape and footprint of the EX, allowing it slice and carve corners without over-taxing the relatively narrow bike tires with lateral loads (the single biggest dynamic challenge to all trikes).

Like everything else on this manic device, the fully-articulating metal spine is a thing of beauty (below).

Note:  plenty of room for the 36V option!

I guess, in the end, the EX is a thing of fantastic brilliance and absurdity – or maybe it’s just eccentric and I’m over-thinking things again.

In the Nils’ words, the EX project is less “Must. Die. Now!” lunacy and more an artistic model of “EXentricity”, which he defines as “a deviation from what is ordinary or customary. To match this definition we couldn’t just modify an existing vehicle but had to start designing something new from scratch. The result is a completely new driving concept:  The driver lies headlong on his three-wheeled vehicle and accelerates the ‘EX’ with sprawled out arms.”

Whatever you say, guy – just tell us where to send the checks!, via a bunch of people emailing this to me.


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.