New electric bikeboard offers cool new way to cruise through the city

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Admin
three wheel electric scooter BIKEBOARD
Berlin - Buzz past obstacles slalom-style and overtake whole queues of traffic with ease. This promise comes from the makers of a new electrically-powered bikeboard and they hope the three-wheeler will be a hit with trendsetters and senior citizens alike. The Swiss-engineered device promises silent running too, with only the whirr of an electric motor to be heard. Billed as a perfect solution for "people who are passionate about environmentally-friendly mobility," the tricycle is lively too. The so-called carving axle allows it to lean into corners, giving a feeling similar to travelling on skis.

Two variants are available with a 500-watt or a 1,000-watt motor and the scooter can cover up to 60 kilometres in electric mode before recharging. According to Swiss inventor Walter Egli, the running costs of this innovative vehicle work out at about 20 euro cents (around 30 US cents) per 100 kilometres.

The more powerful bikeboard variant is said to ensure an effortless uphill ride, even with a heavy load and it can whizz along at a top speed of 31 km/h.

Egli recently opened his first European showroom for the bikeboard on Berlin's Kurfuerstendamm boulevard together with dealer Michael Renn. Egli believes the board is an ideal mode of transport for the golf course or airport apron and a rival to the Segway two-wheeled self-balancing electric vehicle which has been around since 2001.

The use of vehicles such as the bikeboard and the Segway on public streets in Germany is allowed but they are both classed as mopeds and various restrictions apply. Both a license plate and insurance are required and users are obliged to wear a crash helmet.

According to Egli, the bikeboards - which have been produced in the United States since 2008 - are ideal for young and old, and accessories include a seat and a luggage rack or shopping basket. Apparently the oldest customer for the new three-wheeler is an 89-year-old woman from Florida.

Germany's large and influential motoring club, the ADAC, is also in favour of the new form of personal transport. Spokesman Michael Pfalzgraf said the vehicles "contribute toward making the city a cleaner place and also increase a person's radius of activity."

Experts say the bikeboard could be an ideal way of getting around for the elderly and for commuters tired of being snarled up in traffic jams.

Berlin pensioner Kaete Tresenreuter, 85, is sceptical and she believes that with a list price of 3,000 euros (4,460 dollars), a bikeboard would be far too expensive for most elderly people. Tresenreuter is the founder and deputy chairwoman of an organisation which represents senior citizens. She says that bikeboards would be too dangerous for elderly people to use them on busy city streets.

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