Nestled away in a small corner of this year’s Frankfurt auto show, the tiny Twike company rolled out its nearly production-ready, X-Prize contending 4XP plug-in hybrid. The sci-fi inspired, jet-fighter cockpit-styled Twike isn’t what you might think it is, though. It’s a hybrid, in that it combines the power of its electric motor with a more conventional power plant – in this case: a human power plant.
That’s right! The Twike is, essentially, a pedal-assist covered bicycle that’s intended primarily as low-impact, zero-emission urban transport. If the batteries go low, you can pedal them up. If you’re going downhill, you can use a form of regenerative braking to charge the batteries. If it’s raining, you won’t get wet. The best part, to me, is that you can use the electric motor more on the way to work and avoid showing up sweaty and stinky, and then pedal more on the way home as part of your cardio/workout routine.
The other best thing about the Twike, though, is that it really can replace a small car – especially with the upgraded battery packs and electric motor with a 45 mph top speed and decent, 50+ mile range as a pure EV at 35-ish mph – which was good enough for a trip around the world, two years ago.
SO, while the Twike might not be perfect for everyone, of course, but if you’re in the market for a small, 2-seat commuter with a proven track record of sales (Twikes have been around, in Europe, for almost a decade), manufacturing know-how (again: decade), and safety (the Twikes have been crash-tested and reportedly meet stringent TÜV standards), the Twike 4XP might be just thing.
Here’s hoping some enterprising American company has the sense to bring one of these over to the ‘States as an NEV, then. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can check out some of the 4XP’s design drawings, below, and get a sense of what it will look like in different color combinations. Enjoy!