Saturday, April 9, 2016

Schaefflers Electrischer Rad-Wagen

New quad on the block

(dpa) - German car component maker Schaeffler has unveiled a four-wheeled, two-seater buggy powered by both muscle power and an electric motor. The spindly quad is shod with 24-inch wheels and features a windscreen and roof to protect the occupants from the elements. It can be driven at speeds of up to 25 kilometres per hour without a driver’s license. Range between battery charges is given as 50 km. The buggy is quick off the mark, thanks to a battery boost function, and the driver can then decide whether to keep fit by pedalling or let the motor do the work. Gearshifts are automatic.

The novel runabout was presented at a mobility conference organized by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport magazine. It appears to have been inspired by Renault's micro-electric car Twizy, which already enjoys cult status, with a touch of pedicab.  

The buggy is a prototype. Schaeffler, based in the town of Herzogenaurach, said it could go on sale in 2017. It is expected to cost from around 6,000 dollars. Schaeffler chief technology officer Peter Gutzmer said the "bio hybrid" shows how the company sees a future solution for urban mobility.

The quad can transport a driver with a passenger in back and has ample stowage space. The plexi-glass roof swings up and over and can be stored under the driver’s seat.

The compact vehicle with a track width of just 80 centimetres would be legal for use on cycle paths in some countries under existing laws. The electric reverse gear also enables easy manoeuvering. "There are already discussions in Germany about opening cycle tracks with a legal speed limit of 40 km/h," said Gutzmer. "All these developments mean that our concept has great potential to change urban mobility".

Thanks to an integrated smartphone connection, the buggy driver is linked to a large number of apps and can access information, for example, about the weather and traffic situation.

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