It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned anything about the development of next-gen TWIKE’s. My TWIKE is a third-generation TWIKE that went into production over 27 years ago and is still in production today!
The first version of TWIKE’s were a human powered recumbent bike for two people, capable of sustaining 50 km/h for 50km. One of the first design studies for this vehicle looked like something from a science fiction novel:
If you want to buy a new one, you can do so by visiting the website of the current manufacturer Fine Mobile and press the ‘contact us’ button. 😀
But why keep producing a 30+-year old vehicle when a newer and updated version would be ‘en vogue‘ right now and would squarely point the middle finger at all the current and generally vehicularly obese set of electric vehicles available by creating the best light electric vehicle on the market by far?
A next-gen TWIKE is fast, safe, connected, hackable, cool, efficient, well designed, with features other EV’s don’t have, a three-wheeler and generally a vehicle that makes people stop in their tracks and come over and ask what the heck this vehicle is.
The first time I saw TWIKE 5 was over 6 years ago – early 2013 on a CAD screen whilst visiting Fine Mobile, the current TWIKE manufacturer.
Since then, we’ve been seeing updates regarding the crowdfunding efforts and lots of rendered images of how TWIKE 5 will look like.
This year, finally, Fine Mobile has not only achieved their financing goal of €2m but went a step further and showed a functional frame of the upcoming vehicle at the last Geneva Auto Show.
After the show, the local Zurich TWIKE chapter was invited to a intimate and somewhat closed-user-group-style Show-and-Tell with the CEO on his way back to Rosenthal. I was very interested to hear what the current development status is and what the current challenges they were facing.
We met on a Saturday afternoon at Zurich’s only accredited TWIKE service centre.
The usual crowd was there – a selection of people who either are TWIKE pilots today and those who have invested into the idea. All in all an interesting crowd. Everyone is somehow interested in efficiency or is linked to mobility and energy.
We’re still a very select crowd – there aren’t any ‘consumers’ here and we all fully accept that this is a joint effort with the manufacturer and that this might take still some time until the vehicle is fully ready as a prototype.
Entering the showroom TWIKE 5 is prominently displayed and can be looked at close-up, unlike during the Geneva Auto Show.
One thing that is immediately visible is how sturdy the frame is in comparison to the current TWIKE III.
Here a reminder how little material surrounds a normal TWIKE pilot:
But given the new vehicle specs, I’d hate to hit anything at 190 km/h with the current frame. I can, however, confirm, that the current frame can easily protect against accidents within the design envelope of the current TWIKE!
And now my own TWIKE, 12 months ago…
The current vehicle specs are very interesting – I’ve been driving electric prototypes such as the eRod and really like the GoKart-Like driving experience – the only thing I was missing was a wind shield!
TWIKE 5 offers the same ample luggage space as a TWIKE III – more than you normally would need and enough to travel long distance. I’m really looking forward to experiencing a TWIKE adventure with a TWIKE 5 and see how low I can get the consumption. [hint, hint @finemobile ;)]
We all gather around the vehicle and look inside, try to imagine how sitting it it would feel like.
A bonus is the CEO, who is the lead for everything regarding TWIKE 5.
We’re a bunch of people able to ask very specific questions regarding energy, propulsion, chassis, batteries and much more. We take the opportunity to ask Fine Mobile’s CEO Martin Moescheid many, many super-detailed questions.
Which he answers us readily whilst showing a few detailed design slides he had prepared for today.
One very interesting piece of information we learnt this evening was that Fine Mobile is currently not only developing TWIKE 5 but also TWIKE 6 (!) – the high-volume consumer version of TWIKE 5 which will follow the first 500 TWIKE 5 series.
The new steering concept is a contentious point of discussion between TWIKE III pilots – how will the change feel when driving? Currently we feel like we’re in gliders on tarmac … will the new concept hold up to the simplicity of the current steering model? How will it feel on German Autobahn’s going at 190km/h?
My take-away for today is – TWIKE 5 is going to be built! HURRAY! I’m really looking forward to seeing a drive-able prototype and getting my hands on it to see how efficiently it can be driven.
At least the current version of TWIKE 5 has the same light-weight and comfortable shell-based seats TWIKE III has – I’m going to feel very much at home in TWIKE 5!
As a bonus, we got to see a presentation by Silvia (aka rotezora) and her efforts to rescue Moroccan stray dogs.
The evening was super-interesting and I’m really looking forward to having some kind of early access to a prototype to show my readers how TWIKE 5 (..6) drives. 🙂 (Martin & Sylvia: thank you & looking forward to driving TWIKE 5 sometime soon!)