..just read another good article at Low-Tech Magazine on velomobiles:
If you've not heard of a velomobile, they look like this... (foto left)
and are popular in Europe.
A velomobile is a "recumbent tricycle with aerodynamic bodywork"
If you've never ridden a recumbent trike, its kinda like a lawnchair on wheels.. (foto right)
Adding the light weight bodywork "protects the driver (and luggage) from the weather" and because its aerodynamic, it can go much faster than a bike but with much less effort..
..up to 30 times less effort at higher speeds on the flat.
The downside of velomobiles is the increased weight (62 to 75 lbs) which causes slower acceleration and climbing speed.
Adding an electric assist motor and small battery pack seems to overcome this issue..
"the electric velomobile is everything that the electric car wants to be...but isn't:
a sustainable alternative to the automobile with combustion engine"
"Imagine that all 300 million Americans replace their car with an electric velomobile and all drive to work on the same day. To charge the 288 Wh battery of each of these 300 million eWAW's, we need 86.4 GWh of electricity. This is only 25 % of the electricity produced by existing American wind turbines. In other words, we could make a switch to private vehicles operating on 100 % renewable energy, using existent energy plants.
Now imagine that all 300 million Americans replaced their cars with an electric version like the Nissan Leaf, and all drive to work on the same day. To charge the 24,000 Wh battery of each of those 300 million vehicles, we need 7,200 GWh of electricity. This is 20 times more than what American wind turbines produce today, and 80 times more than what electric velomobiles need. In short: scenario one is realistic, scenario two is not."
..and of course, since its mostly powered by "biomass energy" - the food you eat - think of the health benefits!
(especially if we could get most of those cars off the road).