Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on March 16, 2009
If you have $27,500 burning a hole in your pocket, you should check out the Twike by FINEMobile. The Twike is a hybrid “car”, combining traditional electric battery power with your own personal hamstring/calf/quadriceps/abdominal power. The idea is interesting: the typical hybrid braking-energy recapture, plus the ability to pedal energy into the battery while driving.
It’s an interesting idea, in that no one else is using this technology yet… but the overall design doesn’t seem usable for everyday use.
Apparently the Twike is really hot in Europe – it was designed by Swiss students in the 1980s and recently moved into production in Germany. You can sign up for Twike tours via the website and owners can join Twike clubs. (Twike hopes this will take off in the U.S. as well, but I can’t imagine who — outside a handful of pudgy bikers who want to ease and extend their touring — would be into it.)
But it’s not so “G”. Although the appeal of a battery that individuals can charge with muscle-power beckons, the Twike is unrealistic as a commuter vehicle. At least in the U.S. It’s too small and doesn’t have the protection of other promising alternatives to the passenger car. The biggest problem is that it runs on electricity from rechargable batteries that no amount of leg power can recharge. Twike’s zero-emission claim is true at the tailpipe (there isn’t one), but the pollution happens elsewhere (the power plant) which could be more damaging than burning a tank of gas.
But I am rather fond of the way it looks.
Catch the Twike in action here.