Meet the Hopper: German pedal-electric bicycle/car hybrid for modern commuting

Hopper Mobility Pedal-electric Bicycle Car
The Hopper is a pedal-electric hybrid offering a 65 km range, 250W motor, and innovative pedal-by-wire system, designed for efficient urban commuting. Images courtesy Hopper Mobility GmbH

The rise of pedal-electric, semi-enclosed bicycle/car hybrids has seen many innovative designs hit the market, and one of the latest to gain attention in Germany is the Hopper. This unique vehicle, blending the characteristics of a bicycle and a car, is manufactured by the Hamburg-based startup Hopper Mobility. Announced as a concept in 2020, the Hopper has already begun making its presence felt on German streets, offering an intriguing new option for urban transportation.

Design and functionality

The Hopper, similar to the Veemo, features a three-wheel design with an open-sided body that provides moderate weather protection while positioning the rider in a comfortable, car-like seating arrangement. One of the significant advantages of the Hopper is that it is legally considered an e-bike. This classification allows it to bypass traffic by traveling in bike lanes and on bike paths, though it is also capable of riding on regular roads.

Performance and mechanics

The Hopper is powered by a combination of human effort and electric assistance. The rider’s pedaling is enhanced by a 250-watt rear hub motor, enabling the vehicle to reach a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph). The motor draws power from a removable 30-Ah/48V/1,440-Wh lithium-iron-phosphate battery, which offers a range of approximately 65 km (40 miles) per charge. An optional rooftop solar panel can further extend this range, adding an eco-friendly edge to the vehicle’s design.

To reduce maintenance and mechanical complexity, the Hopper employs an electronic pedal-by-wire system instead of a traditional chain-drive drivetrain. In this system, the rider’s pedaling generates electrical energy, which is fed into the motor. This energy is then converted back into mechanical energy to drive the wheels, simplifying the vehicle’s operation and upkeep.

Hopper Mobility Pedal-electric Bicycle Car Easy Parking
The compact Hopper is easy to park in urban settings, making it a convenient choice for city commuters.

Variants and features

The Hopper is available in two models: the Passenger model and the Cargo model. The Passenger model includes a second seat behind the rider’s seat, while the Cargo model replaces the back seat with a lockable 300-liter cargo compartment. Both versions can accommodate a maximum passenger or payload weight of 160 kg (353 lbs) and weigh approximately 120 kg (265 lbs).

Hopper Mobility Pedal-electric Bicycle Car Passenger Version
The Passenger version of the Hopper can accommodate two small children or one average-sized child in its back seat.

Key features of the Hopper include a comprehensive lighting system with two 550-lumen headlights, a steering-wheel-integrated touchscreen control center, a windshield defogger, a parking brake, a wheel-immobilizing security system, and two USB ports for charging mobile devices. Additionally, covers to close off the vehicle’s sides are currently in development.

Real-world testing and availability

With support from European Union funding, about 30 Hoppers have already been built and distributed to test users for real-world feedback. This feedback has been instrumental in refining the design of the First Edition commercial version of the vehicle, which is now available for preorder in Germany. The First Edition is priced at €13,500 (approximately US$14,702), making it a relatively affordable option for those looking to adopt a sustainable mode of transportation.

Hopper Mobility Pedal-electric Bicycle Car Cargo Model
The Cargo model of the Hopper features a lockable 300-liter compartment, ideal for transporting goods in urban areas.

Production of the First Edition is slated to begin later this year, and Hopper Mobility is working to expand the vehicle’s availability to other countries. As urban areas continue to seek environmentally friendly transportation solutions, the Hopper presents a compelling alternative that combines the convenience of a bicycle with the comfort and practicality of a car.

Pricing and market outlook

Hopper Mobility Pedal-electric Bicycle Car Tires
The Hopper is equipped with two 20-inch bicycle tires at the front and a 10-inch scooter tire at the rear.

The Hopper’s preorder price of €13,500 positions it as a competitive option in the growing market for pedal-electric hybrids. Its unique combination of features and functionality, coupled with its classification as an e-bike, makes it an attractive choice for urban commuters seeking a versatile and eco-friendly vehicle. As production ramps up and availability expands, the Hopper could become a common sight on city streets, offering a new way to navigate urban environments with ease and efficiency.

Hopper Mobility Pedal-electric Bicycle Car First Edition
The First Edition run of the Hopper is now available for preorder, incorporating feedback from initial test users for optimized design and functionality.

Source: Hopper Mobility