Storck x PodBike Frikar affordable enclosed e-bike velomobile to replace your car

E-bikes are trying to find their way into our hearts on & off-road, but this new 4-wheeled, fully-enclosed Storck x PodBike Frikar e-velomobile just might be a viable solution for some looking to cut back on driving cars. It’s not really an e-bike – this recumbent has four wheels, after all. But it’s at least partly pedal-powered – mixing a bike drivetrain with an e-bike pedelec support. On the plus side, it looks kinda like a cross between a spaceship and a Prius, plus with a totally enclosed cabin, you are protected from the elements so you can ride whatever the weather.

Storck x PodBike Frikar enclosed e-bike velomobile

PodBike Frikar x Storck enclosed e-bike pedelec e-velomobile, headlights

c. Podbike

German bike company Storck and Norwegian micro-mobility start-up Podbike have teamed up to bring their Frikar e-velomobile to a larger market, providing an alternative transportation option for cyclists looking to get out of their cars for short trips. The 4-wheeled, fully-enclosed pedelec is not the first e-velomobile concept we’ve seen from an established bike company, but it looks like it could be one of the most viable solutions. Built on an innovative & simple bike-by-wire system, it also is more affordable than we expected.

Tech details

PodBike Frikar x Storck enclosed e-bike pedelec e-velomobile, grafitti

The 20″ mag-wheeled Podbike Frikar is 2.36m long x 83.9cm wide x 1.19m tall, making it just a bit wider than a modern enduro bike’s handlebar. Even though it has 4 wheels and a shell, Podbike assures that it is classified as a ‘cycle’ within Europe, letting you ride in cycle lanes without any license or registration (much like the Canyon Future Mobility concept).

The 90kg (empty), fully independent suspension Frikar is powered by a pair of 25km/hr limited 250W e-bike motors. There is no mechanical link between the pedals & wheels, rather you pedal input into one motor/generator and the energy is transferred by wire to motors at both rear wheels to propel you – just like the “Bike By Wire” systems we reported on from IAA Mobility. The result is classification as an e-bike, with a design e-assist range of 50-80km and featuring regenerative braking.

PodBike Frikar x Storck enclosed e-bike pedelec e-velomobile, night rendering

The e-velomobile comes equipped with integrated headlights, taillights, operable turn signals & extensive reflectors, plus outside side mirror. It also has a cup holder!, plus phone/tablet holder & USB-charger inside, in addition to safety crumple zones and roll-over protection.

PodBike Frikar x Storck enclosed e-bike pedelec e-velomobile, rendering

Interestingly, Podbike estimates that the aerodynamics of the shell should cancel out the additional weight & rolling resistance penalties making it require an average of about 100W from the rider to pedal along at 30km/hr, what they say is the same as a conventional road bike.

Optional extras already in development include a manual windshield wiper for better visibility in foul weather, an internal fan for better airflow especially in hot weather, a child seat that sits behind the driver, a towbar hook to attach a conventional bike trailer, additional studded winter tires, or extra batteries for extended range.

Podbike Frikar – Pricing, availability & options

PodBike Frikar x Storck enclosed e-bike pedelec e-velomobile, angled port

This is always the trick with emerging technology… the Storck x Podbike Frikar e-velomobile isn’t ready quite yet – although pre-production Frikars are currently touring Norway & Germany offering test drives. Podbike are taking pre-orders now with a 300€ deposit to lock in a reservation for one of the first Frikars. Final prices will start at 4995€, not including VAT, shipping or extra-add-ons.

PodBike Frikar x Storck enclosed e-bike pedelec e-velomobile, city center

Still, that sounds surprisingly affordable when most e-bikes top out over $5000€ for a premium commuter hardtail. Pretty much every performance full-suspension eMTB we’ve seen starts around there, and often tops out over $10,000€.  In fact, that’s also significantly cheaper than Storck’s recent smart, connected gravel/commuter e-bike project Cyklaer.

PodBike Frikar x Storck enclosed e-bike pedelec e-velomobile, side

Full-scale final production is expected to start in about 12 months. Storck & Podbike say they already have over 3000 pre-orders, and are currently expecting to deliver the Frikar to those who place new pre-orders now sometime in 2023. Don’t throw away your car keys yet.

Podbike.com

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Volsung
Volsung
1 year ago

This is so ridiculous that I want it.

mud
mud
1 year ago

I think the biggest hurdle for vehicles like this is the recumbent position. One thing that gives me confidence riding in cities is the tall position an upright bike puts you in – you can see over cars and are more visible to them. Sitting so low, and in a shell that inhibits your outward view of everything, is not safe. You’re vision too is limited.

Mic
Mic
1 year ago

What is the point of this stupid thing why not just ride your bike or an ebike then? Just takes up more space in already crowded bike lanes, uses more plastic and has no advantages unless I’m missing something. Where I live in New York ebikes and the jerks who ride them have already RUINED cycling for those of f us who are serious about the sport and made the roadways, parkways, sidewalks and everywhere else totally dangerous and horrible.

Tim Moore
Tim Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Mic

Good points made, but not everyone lives in such a big city, or a city at all. I would like to cruise around my neighborhood in this.

Jayce
Jayce
4 months ago
Reply to  Mic

The idea is you can ride it in rain and winter. If equipped with air conditioning, then hot summer days too. as it is i can ride for about 3 weeks of the year before it gets too hot cold, or wet. plus the exhaust from cars exacerbates my asthma, so being enclosed could add an air filter too. And i think the main point is to reduce the need for fuel. A regular bike is also less stable on only two wheels. these are typically the same width as a regular bike lane and legally you ae not to ride two abreast on normal cycles. you seem angry for no reason. are you okay? t here are free resources you can call if you need to. take care.

Seiena
Seiena
4 months ago
Reply to  Mic

I suffer from Entomophobia (fear of insects) so badly I am trapped in my house because it is so bad I AM a danger to myself and others when not secured with barriers between me and insects. I want badly to ride a bide or in general just safely exercise in a way that doesn’t have me mindlessly staring at a wall in a gym. which my brain cannot do due to being ADHD and needing to fully engage my brain. With something like this I could go all over the place safely and burn my excessive physical energy.

Nic
Nic
1 year ago

Haters who are “serious about the sport” have mostly RUINED the appeal of cycling and ebikes for folks who might want to start riding…so it might be best to take the chip off your shoulder when out on the streets and be glad those ebike jerks aren’t driving 3-ton autos instead! I’d take one of these weirdomobiles in the bike lane any day over another monster truck on the road.

benito
benito
1 year ago

with four wheels, it has to be more stable in poor weather. if they could somehow provide for better climate control for comfortable riding/driving in all seasons, this kind of concept could really be something

satanas
satanas
1 year ago

Could be viable in flat Northern Europe, where there are lots of dedicated cycle lanes and good driver behavior, but in hilly, congested places with aggro motorists (like here in Sydney, AU) – not so much.

JBikes
JBikes
1 year ago

I don’t understand why this is 4 wheeled vs 3.
It also just seems way to wasteful. Ride a normal bike when weather is good and use an existing leftover car or ride share when you don’t want to ride, rather than buying more waste.

Jayce
Jayce
4 months ago
Reply to  JBikes

4 wheels is more stable than 3, always has and always will be the case. 3 wheels are only created to adhere to archaic laws created to prevent vehicles like this form being created and used.(looking at you northamerica)

Seiena
Seiena
4 months ago
Reply to  JBikes

Doesn’t work if you can’t be exposed to the elements dude to detrimental mental health issues. I would love a velomobile so I didn’t have to drive everywhere which does nothing for my health.

Conal
Conal
1 year ago

and wouldn’t it be good in the Australian summer – hot and humid. A better idea for a colder climate.

Jayce
Jayce
4 months ago
Reply to  Conal

You can equip these with air conditioning just like any enclosed cabin. check our the Daymak Foras.

Andrew
Andrew
1 year ago

I’m sure ” an internal fan for better airflow especially in hot weather,” will be enough for summer days here in coastal Italy..

David Milner
David Milner
1 year ago

Sinclair C5 with a roof…
Shame Sir Clive was a better engineer than he was a businessman.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinclair_C5

None Given
None Given
1 year ago

Never, not never ever. Not until there are pollution guidelines (followed) by the ENTIRE world will I willingly forsake my love of twin turbo V8 cars and SUV’s – until then, I will have fun when I drive (to the trails). If you are going to drive a station wagon, well, you may as well be faster than a Corvette Z06. (and offer to race any Tesla to a city 500mi away).

caz
caz
1 year ago

For those who are spectacularly missing the point – this is being offered as an alternative to cars – it’s another type of all-abilities machine, which could really suit someone who finds an upright two-wheeler difficult to balance/ride. A nervous older person might well appreciate all that extra plastic shell/ protection. Those of us who live in rainy places know that it’s a big barrier to getting more people on bikes – this invention is one solution to that.

Bikebrains
Bikebrains
8 months ago
Reply to  caz

I have ridden recumbent bikes for nearly forty years. I find them vastly superior to the standard, upright bike frame in the key areas of speed, safety, and comfort. While sharing the road with motorized vehicles, the greatest danger I have found is that drivers rubberneck.

The diamond frame was developed in 1885 when the paradigm for individual transportation was based on the horse. A bike frame based upon the horse results in having a seat that is mostly straddled and perpendicular to the hips rather than the optimal parallel to the hips. The ancestor of the recumbent bicycle was invented in the 1890s. The modern long-wheelbase recumbent bicycle was invented in 1914 at which time the paradigm for transportation had changed to the automobile. The seats of the automobile have the proper parallel to the hips design. A long wheelbase recumbent bicycle will always be more comfortable than the standard, diamond frame bicycle that uses a crotch support seat. OUCH!

“Fast Freddy” Markham won the DuPont prize at a record 65.484 mph by riding an enclosed recumbent bicycle. In 2008, Sam Whittingham became the World Champion and won the $25,000 Decimach prize with a speed of 82.33 mph.

http://www.ihpva.org/land.htm

https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/a-complete-illustrated-history-of-the-recumbent-bicycle

Jayce
Jayce
4 months ago

250 W is not enough for uphill or snow conditions
4 wheels is illegal as an ebike in north america
if these are sold as is, they are simply illegal to use.
until the laws are updated for new modes of transportation, the oil economy will dictate laws, regulations, and infrastructure.
Don’t expect these to replace cars until those are changed, which won’t be for at least a hundred or two years.