A design that pushes the envelope in innovation or just another contrivance that relies on gimmick? The Human Powered Vehicles (HPVs) from The Future People are sure to generate a lot of buzz and furor. But one thing certainly can’t be denied – such types of crafts do stick to the scope of very low (or even zero) emission, thus marking their credibility in the realm of alternative transportation. And that is exactly what their designers have envisaged, with the ‘hybrid’ HPVs fusing the features of both automobiles and bicycles.
To that end, The Future People have showcased two of their velomobile models at the 2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show. Christened as Zeppelin and Cyclone, the variant designs are quite antithetical to each other. For example, the Zeppelin exhibits a pretty futuristic vibe, with its form-focus being on a light yet aerodynamic structure constructed from metal and polycarbonate. The vehicle’s powertrain mirrors this progressive ambit – by incorporating a 750w electric rear motor which would complement the regular human-powered pedaling mechanisms in the front. When translated to figures, the 270-lb (122-kg) velomobile can breezily achieve speeds of up to 25 mph (40 kmph) on a flat terrain, while having an electric range of 20 miles or 32 km (which is equivalent of 700 mpg).
The larger Cyclone on the other hand, harks back to the vintage style of automobiles. This HPV comprises of only a pedal-powertrain, which is accompanied by an advanced spatial construction inspired by boats. In that regard, the interior scope is rather accentuated by the addition of more passenger space (that allows two more people) and also a dedicated cargo space. But where the Cyclone really shines is in its elegant level of aesthetics – fueled by its brushed aluminum-made white shell, mahogany-made interior flooring and authentic leather seats.
Finally, as for the commercial side of affairs, the designers have made it clear that both the models are prototypes, not backed by any immediate mass-production plans. However, the designers are looking at the possibility of making their designs open-source, as a means to challenge the conventional automobile industry while empowering the common DIYers.
Check both the Zeppelin and Cyclone, in their full actions –