Hybrid velomobile - a formula for success?

What happens when one combines a fast and sporty velomobile like a Waw with the advanced electrical assist/generator like a BionX? Do they reinforce eachothers advantages or their disadvantages? Find out my and others experiences here. If you do not know what a velomobile or an electric assist is, check out the links first. (An electrical assist that helps up to only 25km/h and with power limited to 250W, remains a bicycle by EU law)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A better name: Uphill assist??

Instead of calling the BionX an assist engine or a hybrid assist engine, both of which confuse people who are not familiar with the velomobile concept, perhaps "Climb assist" of "Uphill assist" better describe the function of the bionX in a velomobile? Give me your vote and opinion on the best name in the comments!


...Some explenation on the WHY of this name change...

Because I keep getting questions like "what if it assisted up to 40 km/h ?" Also, people seem to wonder if they should get one if they live in a flat region. Uphill Assist answers both these by pointing to how I see the main function and main reason for acquiring something like a BionX FOR A VELOMOBILE.

In 1999 there was a symposium on assist engines for HPV and velomobiles, and there several papers described how an assist only starts making sense in hilly regions = hence the name Upphill Assist.

When on a classical electric bicycle one tends to ride a lot under 25km/h and thus USES the likes of BionX as an assist engine, with a velomobile most people ride easily above 25km/h even with the assist in place. So there is a shift in function from a more or less constant assist on electric bicycles, to a more temporary function on a velomobile. Also I want to remind the reader that I am a so-called purist that, before, didn't like the idea of any form of constant assist in a "HPV". Well, I still do not like the idea of having assist all the time and a velomobile does not need that either, because it is hugely efficient in a flat region. The uphill assist thing covers its major weakness because it is, relatively seen, a vehicle with a high weight to power ratio (just as trucks slow down seriously on upphill roads).

Of course anyone is free to call it what they want, and perhaps some people might get a light assist as the bionX just for the sake of doing faster redlight getaways (fun too). So as soon as that happens in greater numbers, we will know that this uphill assist naming thing was besides the point.

But as far as I see today, people want these things in a velomobile to "flatten" the hills a bit....

Fourth European Seminar on Velomobiles: Assisted Human Powered Vehicles and Velomobiles. Interlaken Switzerland, August 18, 1999.
Proceedings available through www.futurebike.ch.