Work & Business
PodRide: The car-like electric bike that keeps you coveredApril 13, 2017
If you’ve ever ridden a bike on a rainy day or even a snowy day, you’re well aware of the annoyances of dealing with the elements.
One engineering Swede decided to do something to make the cycling commute a little easier, particularly for those in the harsh winter climates of Sweden.
Mikael Kjellman is the inventor of PodRide, a fully-enclosed, electric bicycle with a “pedal assist configuration.” Complete with indicators, headlights, ventilation, pedals and handles to steer and brake, this bicycle allows riders to safely commute alongside motor vehicles, while being comfortable and protected in the process. The bike comfortably fits Kjellman, a decently tall man, and has room to store a couple of bags of groceries in its rear hatch.
“It has a 250 watts crank-shaft engine, with gear suspension, a comfortable and padded seat, and a recumbent seating position; you end up getting a very comfortable ride,” Kjellman explains in his promotional video for the product. “The range is about 60 km with the top speed with the engine is 10-15 km/hr. This makes it a street legal ebike here in Sweden and most other countries.”
To put the size of this ebike into context, the height of PodRide is comparable to a SmartCar – and this is an intentional design feature, allowing riders to be at the same height as fellow commuters. Where the size is noticeably smaller than a motor vehicle is in its width and length, about 29 inches and 70 inches, respectively. That’s about 10 inches wider than a normal airplane seat.
The bike may protect the rider from rain, snow, dirt and grime, but it doesn’t have much of a barrier to help with the temperature. To get better ventilation, in the summer, you can open the front and side windows. Kjellman also has a little spot for a small electric heater that he uses to defrost the windows in the winter.
PodRide is still in its development phase. Kjellman launched an IndieGoGo campaign, which raised more than 200 percent of its original funding request. The bike has been featured by Mashable, the Washington Post, Verge, Business Insider and Yahoo, among others. According to a December 2016 update, the PodBike should be ready by the end of 2017, with a 3-wheel version releasing six months later.
In the video for the product, Kjellman says while doing the most awesome doughnuts on what looks like ice, “I put a lot of effort in to make it more practical, but it has also proven to be real fun to drive.”