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TWIKE Human-Electric Hybrid Tricycle – 27 Years in the Making

TWIKE - Plug-In Human Hybrid Electric Vehicle
TWIKE – Plug-In Human Hybrid Electric Vehicle

A human-powered vehicle, a bicycle specifically, is extremely efficient compared to gasoline-powered powered vehicles today, upwards of 500 MPG according to some calculations.

There is a problem with riding a bike to work every day, though, aside from not being able to go very fast, and generating a sweat, what happens when it rains? Sure, this could be a problem, and the solution doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to switch to a car, especially if you have a TWIKE in your garage.

A TWIKE isn’t just a human-powered three-wheeler with a canopy, though, but a full-fledged plug-in human-electric hybrid tricycle, and it’s been around for longer than you might realize.

The TWIKE was first introduced to the world in 1986, which makes this a labor of love for the last 27 years. The 1,000th TWIKE, currently being produced by FINE Mobile in Germany, just rolled out of the assembly shop. Currently selling for about $53,200, the TWIKE is fully enclosed, comes with fully functioning lights, wipers, and ventilation systems, and is totally legal for highway use, as its top speed is about 55 mph.

Even with a maximum range of 124 miles, Riders, or Pilots as TWIKE refers to them, will probably not opt for hitting the nearest interstate. TWIKE could be the perfect city car, being small, maneuverable, and gas-free. TWIKE isn’t emissions-free however, since it does need to be recharged on the grid.

TWIKE Cockpit
TWIKE Cockpit

In an age where near-zero-emissions vehicles, such as the 118 MPGe Honda FIT EV and the 116 MPGe Fiat 500e, are becoming more popular and more affordable than ever, what place does a $50,000+ hybrid tricycle have in our garages? First of all, consider fuel economy.

Driving a TWIKE could cost 78¢-$1.56 per 100 miles, while the 40 mpg Lexus ES 300h, starting at $38,850 will cost you about $8.24/100 mi. Over the 100,000 mile lifespan of a vehicle, this could save you nearly $7,000 in fuel.

Secondly, consider your fitness. The TWIKE is not an electric bike, but is electric-assisted, meaning that you still have to pedal in order to move. As the electric motors kick in, you can pedal hard at speeds up to 55 mph, but pedaling at a more moderate pace can still get you moving about 30 mph, which is perfect in the city.

Finally, consider emissions. A TWIKE consuming 6.5kWh/100mi generates an average of 8.8 lbs carbon dioxide per 100 miles, while the same Lexus ES 300h generates 49.1 lb/100 mi.

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