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Pedal to the Metal: Meet The Twike

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In the realm of quirky vehicles that blur the line between bicycle and car, the Twike takes the crown, offering an eccentric blend of human and electric power that’s bound to raise eyebrows and pulses. Picture this: You’re a fresh-air enthusiast with a penchant for pedal power, but sometimes, just sometimes, you yearn for the ability to carry a friend, some cargo, and maybe even outpace a brisk jog without breaking a sweat. If you’re also harboring a desire to part with a cool $50,000 for the privilege, then the Twike, a “human electric hybrid,” might just be the vehicle of your dreams.

Let’s delve into the peculiar world of the Twike, a vehicle that dares to ask, “What if a bicycle and a car had a baby?” First introduced by Swiss students in 1986 for the World Expo in Vancouver, the Twike’s journey from a pedal-powered prototype to its current iteration, the Twike 3, is a tale of innovation, ambition, and, let’s face it, a healthy dose of eccentricity. This three-wheeled wonder, crafted in the image of efficiency and exercise, offers a driving experience that’s nothing short of “terrifyingly fun.”

At the heart of the Twike is an asynchronous AC induction motor, paired with not one, but two sets of pedals—one for the driver and one for the passenger. No one rides for free in the Twike; everyone’s legs get a workout, contributing to the vehicle’s motion in a manner that’s reminiscent of an e-bike. Despite its pedal power, the Twike is street legal, capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph (downhill, with a tailwind).

The Twike’s design is a testament to Swiss and later German ingenuity, featuring a lightweight aluminum frame draped in a thermoplastic body that reportedly prioritizes minimalism over comfort. Once ensconced in the Twike’s reclined seats, drivers navigate using a tiller-style steering mechanism.

Despite its unconventional controls, including a two-step throttle button, the Twike offers features that border on luxurious, such as cruise control and window defrosters powered by what might appear to be travel-sized hair dryers. It even boasts a rudimentary form of regenerative braking.

The Twike’s raison d’être, beyond giving its occupants a cardiovascular workout, is its environmental credentials. With a battery pack that ranges from the modest to the mildly impressive, depending on how much you’re willing to invest in upgrades, the Twike can offer a range that makes it more than just a novelty. It’s a statement on wheels—a declaration that fun, fitness, and eco-friendliness can coexist in a single, albeit unconventional package.

The Twike isn’t just a vehicle; it’s an adventure. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the journey is more about transportation than the destination. The Twike offers an experience unlike any other.