- Jul 27, 2015
Created by Canadian cyclist/entrepreneur Fabrizio Cross, the original Electrom LEV (light electric vehicle) was certainly more substantial than an ebike, but narrower and more agile than a three-wheeled, fully-enclosed velomobile. Among other things, it featured a swing-away front fairing, a full LED lighting system with turn indicators and brake lights, plus a rear cargo space that doubled as a sort of "rumble seat" for a passenger.
One feature that really distinguished it, however, was its Generator & Chain Drive system – that system, along with the other features, has been carried over into the production model. Here's how it now works… At low speeds, two separate drive chains relay the rider's pedalling power to both an onboard generator and the motorized rear wheel. In this way, the rider can push hard to engage the high-geared direct-drive rear hub motor as the Electrom gets up to speed or climbs hills. The rider and the rear motor are assisted in their efforts by a much lower-geared front hub motor – so yes, the vehicle is in two-wheel-drive at this point. Once the Electrom reaches a speed of 15 km/h (9 mph), however, the rear-wheel drive chain starts freewheeling, so all of the rider's pedalling power goes into the generator. Because the rear hub motor is now being driven only by that generator and the battery – not directly by the pedals – the speed at which the rider is pedalling doesn't determine the speed at which the vehicle is travelling. This means that the rider can continuously pedal at a comfortable rate (around 80 rpm) while using a throttle to control the speed. And as an added bonus, no shifting of gears in necessary. Additionally, the front hub motor automatically shuts off at speeds over 28 km/h (17 mph), putting the Electrom into power-saving rear-wheel-drive while cruising.
It was four years ago that we first heard about the Electrom, a one-of-a-kind two-wheeled pedal-electric vehicle with a unique dual drivetrain. Well, you will soon have the chance to buy one of the things for yourself … although some assembly will be required.