It’s not quite a car. Nor is it a bicycle. And it could be mistaken for a futuristic pram. In fact, mö is a pedal-assisted electric trike powered by solar panels. And the result may fill a gap in the market for those wanting to combine the environmental benefits of cycling with the creature comforts of a car, and an electric motor to boot.
The prototype has been legally certified in the European Union and can reach speeds of up to 45 km/h, on par with a racing bike. But unlike a bicycle, mö is fully enclosed, lockable and can fit 2 people. It has 5 electric gears and 3 mechanical ones and is steered by a joystick in the middle of the cabin. There’s also storage space for small items like bags and groceries.
The electric trike is the brainchild of Spanish entrepreneur Gonzalo Chomón. Talking to Auto Futures, the Evovelo CEO said: “I use my car every day for short 10 to 15 kilometre journeys and thought it was stupid to be moving such a large vehicle such a short distance.”
Despite the environmental benefits of cycling, Mr Chomón avoided riding his bike because he didn’t want to get wet in bad weather. He also needed to carry luggage and lock it securely when he wasn’t with the vehicle.
“Most Europeans have been owning cars for many years, and we know how bad they are in our cities – so we have to find solutions. Ours is just one possibility,” he said.
Mö’s battery holds up to 1,200 Wh giving it a range of 50 kilometres. Solar panels keep the battery charged. A single hour in the sun will yield 5-10 kilometers of range, and the vehicle will fully recharge in 3-4 hours. The battery also regenerates when the brake is used.
“It’s the only vehicle that when you park it and you go back to it, it’s got more gas in it than when you left it,” said Mr Chomón.
The trike has a front crash crumple zone and side impact protection. Other safety features include seatbelts, hydraulic brakes, headlights, turning and brake lights.
“If you compare this vehicle with a BMW it’s not so safe, but you can’t compare it because it’s not meant to go at the same speeds and on the same roads. But if you compare it to a bicycle then it’s much, much safer,” Mr Chomón said.
The environmental benefits are obvious as cities around the world try to find new transport solutions to reduce pollution and fight congestion. Mr Chomón believes the electrified trike could play a role.
“In London in the winter when it rains and it’s cold, you don’t want to go on a bicycle. While this may be slightly slower than a car, the truth is with traffic, you won’t go any slower than other cars on the roads,” he said.
Many customers come from the rural areas of Spain, where there’s a need to go short distances between villages, but no public transport available to complete the journey.
The company of 6 employees has around 90 orders placed and hopes to begin production before the endnote the year. Spanish power company Global Power Generation has purchased a stake and will run the production line. Mr Chomón said he “hopes to make a big jump next year when we invest on marketing. But right now we are very focused on engineering and production.”
Weighing less than 100 kilograms, the vehicle ships fully assembled or in a flat pack which the customer assembles. “It’s like Ikea furniture – making it 20 to 30 times cheaper to ship and assemble locally.”
The product’s designs are open source to encourage innovation, meaning anyone is free to view them and make their own version. It is 140 cm wide, 200 cm long and 130 cm high means meaning it doesn’t take up much space and is easy to park. Mö is expected to retail for around 4,500 euros.