Twike Velomobile: a Look Inside the Best

Twike velomobile

Earlier this week, we took a look at a new, enclosed bicycle concept from Virtue Bikes. It was nice-looking enough, and certainly got our attention, but (as I mentioned in that article) it didn’t provide the sort of 360-degree weather protection that you get from a “proper” velo. In light of all that complaining and negativity, it seemed like a good time to highlight something positive – so, here’s a look inside the German TWIKE.

In my opinion, the TWIKE is the best pedal-electric velomobile you can buy today. Between its low weight, fully enclosed bodywork, top-shelf components, and nearly emissions-free operation, the TWIKE has a lot going for it – but that’s not the most impressive thing about the TWIKE. This is: the TWIKE has been in production for nearly 20 years.

That’s right, the TWIKE is not a concept. It’s not some guy asking for your money in exchange for hopes and promises and (if you’re lucky) a refund if it doesn’t work out. It’s a for-real company that will sell you a for-real product. A for-real, 50 MPH human-electric hybrid product that’s good enough to nearly win the Automotive X-Prize. A for-real product that features proven, real-world capabilities in all kinds of nasty weather conditions. A for-real product you can buy, right now, for about $6800 (in “Pioneer” trim, no less).

If, you know, you live in Europe.

In the past, TWIKEs have been offered in the US for more than $26,000 (back in the heady days of 2007-2008, when gas prices first hit $4/gal. and people still had credit), but- for the moment- that barrel is dry. It’s too mad, too, because I think there’s a tremendous demand for a highly efficient, $6800 pedal-electric trike with a 20 year track record of reliability. What do you guys think? Check out the TWIKE’s cockpit and pedal drive, below, then peruse the specs and let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

 

Inside the TWIKE


TWIKE inside

TWIKE inside 2

TWIKE joystick

TWIKE pedals

TWIKE pilot

 

TWIKE Technical Specs


Type of vehicle
EU Three-wheel motor vehicle (2002/24/EG)
CH Dreirädriges Motorfahrzeug
US Motorcycle – Threewheeler
Dimensions / mm
Length x width x heigth 2650 × 1200 × 1250
Wheel base 1870
Wheel gauge 1090
Construction
Chassis Tube frame and aluminium space frame with roll-over bar, 3-point safety belts
Vehicle body Thermoplast LuranS®
Steering Joystick with connection rod and damper
Motor
Type 3-phase-asynchronous motor with integrated reductiongearbox (11,6:1) and differential
Actual power output 3 kW at 2930/min
Maximum power 9 kW
Nominal voltage 230 Volt
Drive system IGBT Inverter with controller and HMI
Pedal drive integrated
Driving performance
Drag coefficient Cw=0,325
Maximum speed 85 km/h
Acceleration 0-60 km/h 9 sec
Range per charging more than 500 km
Max. climbing ability 22%
Battery
Type LiMn, 392 cells
Nominal voltage 353 Volt DC
Capacity 4,8 – 5,8 Ah
Energy 1,7 – 2,1 kWh
Weight 19 kg
Energy density 96 – 116 Wh/kg
Charging time about 1 km/min
Consumption
Efficient 4 kWh / 100km
City-cycle 6 kWh / 100km
Highway-cycle 7 kWh / 100km
Energy equivalent 0,4 – 0,7 l fuel / 100km
Mountains +1,77 kWh / 1.000 evelation gain
Weighti / kg
Empty weight without battery 220 kg
Permissible maximum weight 505 kg
Axle load limit, front wheel 145 kg
Axle load limit, back wheel 360 kg
Chassis
Independent wheel suspension On rear and front wheels
Wheels Aluminum rims, front wheel 1,35“x16”, rear wheel 1,85“x16”
Tire front wheel 2 1/4 – 16” (20×2,25) or 2 1/2 2 – 16” (20×2,50),
Brake system 2-circuit hydraulic system, front wheel disk break, rear wheels drum break, electric motor brake (recuperation with cruise control)
Luggage space
Dimensions / mm Length x width x heigth: 400 × 1150 × 650
Volume for luggage (with 2 seats) / co-pilot seat easily removable

 

Photos/technical info. courtesy of FINE Mobile GmbH.

 

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.