The shift to electric will open up all sorts of new vehicle categories – and we found this one super interesting. The Twike 5 is kind of like a pedal-assist ebike, except it's a fully enclosed car capable of 120 mph speeds and 310-mile range figures while letting you sneak in a bit of exercise.
Based on a device originally built to take on the Automotive X-Prize challenge back in 2010, the Twike 5 is an ingenious road vehicle that allows commuters to steal a bit of fitness work as they sit in traffic. You sit in the twin-seat, waterproof, lockable cabin and pedal away like you're on an exercise bike – and you are, really. The pedals connect to a generator that tops up the battery on this nifty little jigger as you drive along.
Steering is accomplished through a pair of push/pull levers instead of a steering wheel you might bang your knees on. Oh, and there's pedals for the passenger too, so you can both work up a sweat.
The doors appear at this stage to open as one unit that tilts forward from the front of the Twike, which we're not sure will be a great idea in wetter areas. There's a trunk in back for carrying cargo, making it quite a practical little vehicle.
The price? Well, these are short-run vehicles, so Twike is expecting to charge as much as EU€50,000 (US$56,700) for a fully pimped out Twike 5 with 120 mph (190 km/h) capability and a range up to 310 miles (500 km). Lower power/battery specs will be available, down to a EU€30,000 (US$34,000) model that ships without any battery whatsoever.
Twike says its vehicles can be driven on a range of different car and motorcycle licenses in the EU, depending on its power output. We took a look at the prototype Twike 5 chassis at Geneva, and while the prices are obviously a severe deterrent at this point, we love the idea of working a bit of exercise into what's otherwise dead time during your commute. There's no word on when this machine will make it to production just yet.
We'll stick with our ebikes for the moment, but this fitness commuter class is one to keep an eye on for sure!