It’s no longer news that bicycles are making a comeback in the urban mobility space. However, traditional bikes surely do not fit into anyone’s vision of the future of urban mobility. Among other problems, they could prove quite hard to pedal uphill and offer little to zero protection from the weather or crashes. While electric vehicles seamlessly solve the former problem, inventors are still figuring out ways to address the latter. Enter the Podbike – the true mobility device for the future.
Design and features
The Podbike velomobile is a daring attempt to bridge the gap between electric bikes and cars without compromising sustainability. The ‘pod’ nomenclature is quite literal as the driver appears to be enclosed in a pod. However, the ‘bike’ suffix seems to be slightly off, since the vehicle is a four-wheeler in the real sense.
Despite the four wheels, Podbike is compact enough to fit into tiny spaces, and it’s just as easy to enter and exit as a regular bike. The vehicle is partly battery-powered and partly human-powered. When cycled like a regular bike, Podbike gives you the same light exercise as an electric bike. However, there are no gears or greasy chains that could make bikes slightly challenging or unpleasant to ride.
Effortless parking and low footprint
With Podbike, you no longer have to settle for a parking space that’s many miles away from your destination. Unlike traditional bikes, the Podbike can reverse, and its parking footprint is much lower than any four-wheeler you can find. This is owed to the unique parking technology that raises the vehicle and allows it to rest on only the rear wheels. According to the manufacturers, eight Podbikes can fit in a single car parking space!
Rider comfort and safety
Podbike’s four wheels guarantee better stability and rider comfort. The vehicle is equipped with lights and indicators on both sides, making it easier to spot and facilitating the safety of the rider and other road users. The manufacturers also claim that Podbike has energy-absorbing crush zones that can minimize impact during a crash. Plus, there’s roll-over protection and an optional seat belt for riders.
Extra cargo or child seat
Podbike is ideally designed to seat only the rider, but there’s enough space to either accommodate a child or some extra load. This space comes in handy when going grocery shopping or going out with a child.
The manufacturers envision a future dominated by driverless cars, and they have designed Podbike to become a part of this future. According to them, future Podbikes will come with self-parking and self-charging features, alongside many other features that facilitate autonomy.
Updated 6th April, 2021: Podbike is currently available for pre-order via their official website. The manufacturers estimate the initial price for a standard model to be €4,995 (approx. $US5,900) (+vat, shipping and optional equipment). They mention that with 2900+ orders, expected delivery for new ones is in 2022.