Anywun Wide a Twike?

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ArcticFox
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It all starts in the human heart. That gets the blood pumping, which gets the legs moving, which gets the Twike rolling. These are the words being quoted by the company for Twike, a fantastic pedal powered human electric hybrid car. The fully electric, zero emissions Twike car was originally designed by some students in Switzerland in the 1980s and then taken on by a German firm, Fine Mobile GmBH, which added electric batteries and regenerative braking to the current iteration. The product site says that the fitted 5-gear box allows comfortable pedaling at speeds between 15 and 45 mph. The good thing about the car is that you can pedal to produce up to 500 watts in tandem with a passenger to extend the range of the car by up to 50%.

Twike

Twike

Twike

Twike

Twike

Twike

Twike

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reikiman
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

I've never ridden one but always thought it was a great wonderful idea. To me the twike is a great balance of efficiency, exercise for the rider, smart use of resources, etc.

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astar
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

Quote:

I've never ridden one but always thought it was a great wonderful idea. To me the twike is a great balance of efficiency, exercise for the rider, smart use of resources, etc.

Smart use of resources, except the green kind with dead presidents printed on them. This thing costs $26,000. I like the light weight and aerodynamic/weather resistant design though. Needs major cost reduction before they would sell very many.

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reikiman
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

Quote:

Smart use of resources, except the green kind with dead presidents printed on them. This thing costs $26,000. I like the light weight and aerodynamic/weather resistant design though. Needs major cost reduction before they would sell very many.

Well, yeah, I totally agree with that. When I first heard of the Twike the cost was $18,000, and still eye-popping-high at that. Yup.

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spinningmagnets
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

I could see some of these selling if it was in a region that is relatively flat and the price was $4995. I can imagine two "green-minded" college students pedalling to class on a cold Kansas morning.

Occasionally I see an interesting 3-wheeler, and I've pondered the Delta/Tadpole question. I believe the common delta will always be relatively cheaper because only one wheel has a steering linkage.

I like the tadpole because its hilly where I live. I think if I was headed downhill on a delta when someone stepped out in front of me, the sudden steering maneuver might cause a flip. That, or at least the expensive nosecone wouldn't be pretty anymore.

After reading the "Aero-Civic" posts (among others) I am daydreaming of garage methods for forming a body about this size.

The bike I would like to build when I retire soon is similar to the Messerschmitt K200 microcar. Two tandem seats, semi-recumbent, tadpole with the two front wheels being 20". Also having frame allowances for the future addition of a stealth motor and battery/controller in the rear.

So far I'm thinking of sewing together a large inflatable bladder for the bulk of the internal mass (and also for easy removal after set-up). Then tacky-glue and shave styrofoam (or some similar easy-to-form solid) according to a stack of cardboard templates. Then smooth with wax and begin covering with fiberglass.

Any suggestions for better materials or processes? The front fairing would be one piece with the windshield. In winter, the right side and aero-tail of the body would bolt on, and the left side would have clamshell doors like a 1965 Lincoln Continental. The two doors when closed would form a relatively flat large oval. Is there a clear plastic I can heat and bend slightly for windows?

Several years away, but must I do the homework now. $26,000 can buy a convertible 1971 VW bug lead/acid 45 MPH EV (with Series-Hybrid trailer)...PLUS, a 45 MPH lead E-Moto...PLUS a Lithium E-bike.

reikiman
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

I've been researching fairings and stuff recently.. and came across a nifty looking velomobile which it seems some have electrified. And its interesting to compare its cost with the Twike.

http://www.go-one.us/ - home page videos

Quote:

The go-one is more than an enclosed bicycle [actually tricycle], it's a "Human Powered Vehicle" [HPV], complete with headlight, backlight and turn signals. By the end of this year these electrical conveniences will be expanded to include an optional 500 Watt electric assist motor.

On the price list it's real easy to get to $15,000 and you still have to assemble itself. This is just a recumbent bicycle with a shell but that they apparently have put enough polish and finish in the design that they call it a "Human Powered Vehicle" (HPB). The site doesn't describe the electric assist motor but one could easily imagine installing a crystalyte (equiv) based rear wheel drive.

Contrast with the $18000 price for the Twike when I first heard of it, or the $26000 price it has now, and it's kinda the same ballpark. This go-one is smaller and not quite the same kind of vehicle. But if you were to take the design and expand on it with a grow-ray it would end up being a Twike at kinda the same price point. I suppose.

So....?

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spinningmagnets
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

David, I just spent some time the past few days going over the links on your "researching fairings and stuff recently" and it is a great resource. Thanks for the research you do.

I think I'm fairly good at "Googling" but I hadn't come across most of those links yet. The page on making a very professional looking bubble canopy from the "barracuda" race bike is a real gem. http://www.wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/bubbles/hpvbubbles.htm

I was imagining something like this http://www.aerorider.com/

stretched a little for the second rider, with the rear swingarm having a wide front so a motor or engine could fit exactly between the pivot points (like the "Jackalope")

Like a sig I saw here, I would like to "Be the change I want to see", so I not only want one for myself, I want it to be easily repeatable. Using off-the-shelf parts as much as possible, the custom frame backbone/swingarm could be bought or made from the published specs on the website.

Later, the body and/or the motor/engine could be added as money allows. The rear wheel would have a common cluster/derailler on the right and a large diameter freewheeling sprocket on the left with a disc brake caliper in the 9 O'Clock position. http://www.bitterendchoppers.com/Brakes.html

The Twike is way too expensive, it sits side-by-side, and a sudden turn on a downhill would roll it (a low tadpole would slide).

childress
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

Yes.

I've piloted Twike 433 back and forth to work from late fall '07 to today. YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gny2ef9lU2o

Far more info than you'd ever want to know at:
www.uiuc.edu/goto/twike

If anybody finds themselves in central Illinois, look me up, I'll give you a ride and teach you how to drive it (takes about 30 seconds).

In response to some of the questions/comments:

Price: You can get a Zap Xebra far cheaper than a Twike (about US$11k). It is manufactured in China, and from what I hear, you get what you pay for. However you CAN get them. That is the major problem with commercially manufactured EV's -- being able to get one: I've been on the US waiting list for a new Twike for almost 3 years. In the end, do you want to drive a Geo Metro, or a Porche? I'm not a big 'you are what you drive' guy, but in the case of going green, I know that Germany and FINE Mobile specifically is a very green country/company. China? Not so much. I'm willing to pay for quality and Earth-friendly manufacturing.

The price swing from $18,000 to 30,000 can be almost entirely attributed to the slipping of the US dollar internationally (the Twike is manufactured in Germany, and priced in Euros). War (and poor domestic economic policy) is the gift that keeps on giving. We're going to be paying for it for several generations. Back to the Twike, if there were a manufacturing plant in the US, the price would probably fall back down to the $18-20,000 range, and we could potentially become exporters (the US is a favorable manufacturing country again -- one advantage of a weak currency -- w00t! w00t!)

To me it's similar to the difference between particle board furniture and real wood: You can easily repair real wood furniture, and if well made becomes heirloom. Twike 433 is 10 years old this year, and very repairable as it's made out of solid components/materials. I've been able to make easy repairs myself because it uses quality components. FINE Mobile is committed to the old Twikes, and while 433 has the older NiCad batteries, the newer LiIon batteries are backwards compatible -- that's huge in my book.

The side-by-side driver/passenger arrangement is useful to me in that I can easily talk and keep an eye on my passenger (typically my 6-year-old daughter on the way to school), as well as instruct other passengers how to drive it, while they're in the passenger seat and I'm in the driver's seat: the accelerator/decelerator are buttons on the steering tiller located between the two seats, which means the Twike is one of the easiest motorcycles to teach how to ride, as it's exactly like a Driver's Ed. car -- the trainee has accelerator/regen brakes, and I have the manual brakes (which cutout the motor) on my pedals (backpedal to activate, just like an old coaster brake). I -always- make a point of finding an open parking lot to let the passenger get a feel for how easy it is to drive, and do some relatively high-speed turns to demonstrate the stability. For younger drivers (5-year olds, 13-year olds) I can have them put their hand ontop of mine and learn to get a feel for driving it that way.

The questions regarding stability are from my personal twiking experience unwarranted: I've never had either of the rear wheels lift off the ground on a 90-degree turn at 18-20mph. It, like the tadpole wants to slide: Empty, 433 weighs between 5-600 pounds. 80% or more of that weight is between the rear wheels (battery weight -- you can easily pick up the front wheel, even with a separated shoulder), and it's concentrated at a distance of 6-12" off the ground. It has a very low center of gravity. While I agree that the dynamics of three-wheeled vehicles makes two-wheels in front steering like Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion more stable, I have not found this to be a problem under sane driving, and I've intentionally done insane stuff -- driven it on iced over parking lots, done doughnuts in the snow -- all in the name of science, mind you with no other cars around.

There are no hills in Central Illinois, but the Twike was originally designed by the Swiss. They have some pretty big hills over there I hear... call them 'the Alps' I believe.

From getting groceries to dropping off & picking up my 6-year-old and 1.5 year old from school and daycare (for the short trip to and from daycare on slow residential streets the little one rides in her old carseat in the boot of the Twike, so it's a 2.5 person vehicle -- there are no laws in Illinois pertaining to children riding motorcycles: no helmet law either, just 'wreckless endangerment of a person under the age of 18' which if you take any precautions at all is difficult to prosecute...), the Twike has become my daily around town driver, no matter what the weather. As a motorcycle, 433 parks for $34 a year anywhere there's a 'Motorcycle parking permitted' sign vs. $400 a year for a single car parking spot and it may take a year or two before you get a car spot within easy walking distance (US Standards) of the building you work at (I work on campus at the University of Illiois). It costs about 10-50 cents to 'fill up' for 30-40 miles per charge (that's $3-5 for a 'car tank of gas,' figuring 300-500 miles per tank). The girls, especially the toddler, LOVE the Twike. She giggles when she gets put in her old carseat, because she knows that she's going to be clipped into the back of the Twike (she gets an excellent view out the rear window). She hasn't been in it in a while and we left her old carseat on the floor, so this morning she climbed into it of her own accord and she started signing/saying 'dad, dad, dad, dad' -- I did demo rides for the neighbors' grandchildren last night and the little whelp was very PO'd each time I left and she wasn't in the Twike ;-)

Oh yes, the full quote is from Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" It is one of my favorites: We get approximately 10,000 new students each year through the U of I system, and by merely driving back and forth to work I expose the next generation to the wonderful world of EV's (if I'm not pressed for time, I will typically offer a ride and teach 'em how to drive it).

The most frustrating thing in the world is to have someone who 'gets' that "it's not that bad, when you average that $30,000 over 10 years or so (replacement lifespan of the battery pack) that the packs can be replaced, and the motor easily rebuilt" and then have to tell them it doesn't matter how much $$$ they have, it is extremely difficult to get a commercially produced EV in the US that is built from the ground-up as an EV, not a conversion. Most EV's violate the first rule of the green trinity: REDUCE. The Twike does this quite easily, which is why it can get between 250-600 mpg equivalence -- not that I'm bashing converted EV's, just pointing out an inherent design flaw -- if you've got the time, patience and ability, great! Most don't. Most also don't need a 2-5,000 pound vehicle to take them the 25 or so miles or less 50% of the Average Americans drive in a typical day (http://www.pluginamerica.com/images/driving_habits_graph.jpg) -- this is from an 1990 study, but I haven't found an updated graph based on newer information...

Like I said, if you find yourself in Central Illinois, and you swing by C-U, I'll be happy to give you a ride... fair warning, they're horribly addictive though.

Mik
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

childress wrote:

I'm willing to pay for quality and Earth-friendly manufacturing.
.........

The most frustrating thing in the world is to have someone who 'gets' that "it's not that bad, when you average that $30,000 over 10 years or so (replacement lifespan of the battery pack) that the packs can be replaced, and the motor easily rebuilt" and then have to tell them it doesn't matter how much $$$ they have, it is extremely difficult to get a commercially produced EV in the US that is built from the ground-up as an EV, not a conversion.
............
Most also don't need a 2-5,000 pound vehicle to take them the 25 or so miles or less 50% of the Average Americans drive in a typical day (http://www.pluginamerica.com/images/driving_habits_graph.jpg) -- this is from an 1990 study, but I haven't found an updated graph based on newer information...

Thanks for this excellent report!

The graph you linked to shows an interesting fact:

driving_habits_graph.jpg

The arrows at 50% and 80% are located at the Real World Range of my Vectrix under relatively severe conditions, ie. high speed, hilly terrain, stop and go, 111kg pay load.
In other words, over 50% of Americans could do their daily driving on a Vectrix without recharging on the way, and over 80% could use a Vectrix if they can recharge at work.
("over" 80% because the range will be better for all those not driving in demanding terrain).

Of course the Twike is much more reliable at this stage, but I do not know how many years it took them initially to iron out the bugs.
Other advantages are of course the aerodynamics and weather protection ot the twike (although I don't know how hot it gets in there in the sun).
My main concern is that without the ability to reach the same speed as the rest of the traffic, combined with the aerodynamic = low profile of the Twike there might be a higher risk of getting run over than on a more powerful bike.

The twike is overall a much better design from an environmental and health point of view, because it has less wind resistance and uses muscle power as well as electricity, thus letting you exercise with no time loss.

But the Vectrix is available right now, and it's price is not bad at all if it is bought instead of replacing an aging car.
Keep the old car registered and use it when the Vectrix is down, the weather is bad or you really need a car. It will save money from day one in such a scenario.
You also get to do the other important thing you mentioned without waiting a few years:

Quote:

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" It is one of my favorites: We get approximately 10,000 new students each year through the U of I system, and by merely driving back and forth to work I expose the next generation to the wonderful world of EV's

and at the same time you get the fun of riding the most advanced and available production vehicle on this planet.

In an ideal scenario the purchase of a Vectrix would save you so much money that you will have accumulated the purchase price for a Twike by the time you have made it to the top of the waiting list!

Don't believe it?

Here is the scenario:

Say you want to sell an older car for US$8000.- and buy a new one for US$21000.-
You have saved the difference of US$13000.- so there will be no interest payments etc. to keep the example calculation easier.

You spend US$11000.- on a Vectrix and US$2000.- on protective gear for two, anti theft devices, a top box and installation of an additional power point somewhere.

I further assume you would have kept another car registered and serviced anyway so that the costs related to that can be ignored in this scenario (most American households have several cars I hear).

You drive 80km a day on average and do that with the Vectrix for 80% of the time. That saves you 365 days x 80km x 80% = 23360km worth of petrol per year.

Your new car would have used 12l/100km petrol, which makes it 2803l of petrol per year.

Once petrol prices hit US$2.00 per liter this will save US$5606/year.

You would spend about US$200.- on electricity if it's US$0.10/kWh, and lets just assume that this stays the same or gets better due to government incentives for EV's.

US$30000.- for a Twike / US$5606/year = 5.35 years until you have saved the money to buy a Twike!

And if I assume an interest rate of 4% on the money you save that will pay for the entire electricity cost!

Anything wrong with these calculations?

Mr. Mik

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Mik
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

The Twike website is easily the best and most informative EV vendor site I have ever seen so far.

Unfortunately the various English translations are very poor reflections of the German Twike site.

The German Twike site is free of unneccessary hype and exaggerations.

It explains technical details and the history of the company and the vehicle.

It gives detailed and believable range estimates for various scenarios.

You can design your own model and it tells you the exact price it will cost.

Have a look even if you do not read German.

Click your way through all those sub-menues and you'll realise just how crappy the majority of EV designs and websites are.

You might also realise that a well designed, mature, efficient high-tech EV is not going to be as cheap as you would hope.

www.twike.de/

Mr. Mik

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childress
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Re: Anywun Wide a Twike?

The German Twike site, and the corresponding Twike Klub pages are -awesome-. The support I've gotten via e-mail to do basic repair work on 433 from Stephan Meiser has been more than adequate, and while he can't give me repair manuals, he has pointed out other sources on the Internet for me to investigate more about the guts of the Twike...

As a non-German speaker, the easiest way to surf/browse the Twike Klub websites and other pages is to pump them through Google's language services -- http://translate.google.com

The Twike has a decent Wikipedia page (with links to the Twike Klub) -- www.wikipedia.org/wiki/twike

Quote:

You might also realise that a well designed, mature, efficient high-tech EV is not going to be as cheap as you would hope.

THANK YOU!

It should be noted (without getting too political) that 3 years ago when I was first interested in a Twike, they were selling for around US$20k. Since then, their price in Euros hasn't changed much, but it's gone up to US$33k. That's all to do with the slide of the US dollar on the forgien currancy exchange markets.

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