Podbike is finally launching its covered electric four-wheeler. The Frikar is a single person vehicle with similar spec to an e-bike and is primarily aimed at commuters.
Podbike was founded in 2016 and its four-wheeler has been in the offing for a while now – indeed we reported in 2018 that the aim was to launch later that year.
Clearly that didn’t happen, but after raising over €3m from investors this year, the firm has now struck a partnership with German bike brand Storck that will see the Frikar made available from a network of retailers.
So, first question: what is the Frikar?
Podbike are describing it as an e-bike. This is obviously inaccurate in a number-of-wheels sense, but it’s a way of highlighting the fact that it’s a low power electric vehicle where motor assistance cuts out at 25km/h.
This means it qualifies as an electrically-assisted pedal cycle, which means you shouldn’t need a driving licence, registration or insurance.
“It is basically an electric assisted pedal cycle camouflaged as a microcar,” says the firm.
It’s not unlike Schaeffler’s Bio-Hybrid.
The Frikar is 84 centimetres wide – the same as a standard bike trailer – and is therefore suitable for use in bike lanes (although we can definitely envisage a scenario where this becomes a topic of debate out in the real world).
Although it’s fundamentally a one-person vehicle, there’s enough storage space behind the driver that you can add a child’s seat.
The main benefit of the Frikar over an ordinary e-bike is however that it’s fully enclosed. It also has roll-over protection and crush zones, while the four wheels and their suspension provide stability and a smoother ride.
All of this adds weight of course, but strikingly the Frikar is so aerodynamic that Podbike says it offers similar drag to a racing bike. The firm reckons the 877Wh battery is good for 50-80km.
“Our ambition is to develop a personal transportation solution that offers a safe and sustainable alternative for the daily commute to work,” said Podbike co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Per Hassel Sørensen. “When you consider that more than 50 per cent of all car journeys are less than five kilometres long, they could be easily replaced in many circumstances by the Frikar.”
The Frikar starts at €4,995. You can order through the Podbike website.