Schaefer Bio-Hybrid has been developing their four-wheeled pedelec vehicle since 2017. The German company has now released this quirky mode of transport, giving us the opportunity to delve into the details.
What Is A Schaefer Bio-Hybrid Vehicle?
Schaefer’s goal was to create an easy way of getting around town as an alternative to a traditional bike or car. Their vehicles are human-powered, but the rider gets assistance from electrical power, in the same way an e-bike rider does. They have a contemporary style that reminds me of the Renault Twizzy, especially the passenger version, as the second seat is positioned behind the rider.
Schaefer has ensured that their vehicles are feature-rich and perfect for transporting people or cargo across town.
Each version is fitted with a roof and windscreen but left the sides open. It is available with either an additional passenger seat, a box body, or as a pickup. Even though the Bio-Hybrid is a four-wheeled vehicle, it is eligible for use in cycle lanes, thanks to its narrow width. Therefore, they allow you to transport cargo or people through the city without getting stuck in traffic.
The Schaefer Bio-Hybrid Cargo Models
Schaefer has specifically designed the cargo models of the Bio-Hybrid with entrepreneurs and businesses in mind. The idea is to create a versatile platform to suit several business models. If Schaefer is successful, you can expect to see Bio-Hybrids configured as mobile coffee shops, small retailers, food delivery trucks and courier vans.
However, the intelligent swap container system allows businesses to reconfigure their vehicles to suit their needs easily.
The pickup version has a large cargo bed, allowing you to load and unload it quickly. Schaefer is primarily aiming for eco-conscious companies with the pickup. Still, it could easily be used as a lifestyle vehicle too. I can see them being loaded up with fishing gear, a bbq or everything you need for a day on the beach or in the park while leaving the car at home.
Also in the cargo model line-up is the “Work” version. The idea behind this version is to meet the daily needs of landscape gardeners, maintenance workers and anyone that needs to safely stow tools in an organised way.
When a Bio-Hybrid is fitted with the cargo box, the rider gets 1,000 litres of enclosed cargo space. Being able to transport goods through traffic with ease, in an eco-friendly way, while having an element of weather protection, opens up many possibilities for businesses.
The Schaefer Bio-Hybrid Duo
Aside from the versatility of the Bio-Hybrid cargo models, the platform ticks a lot of boxes for passenger transport too.
Known as the Duo, the passenger version of the Bio-Hybrid allows commuters to dodge traffic jams and expensive parking charges. Not everyone likes the idea of an electric bike due to the reduced carrying capacity and exposure to the elements. Also, some people don’t like the fact that you can fall off an electric bike.
The Duo’s four-wheeled platform makes it a much safer option than an electric bike, while the canopy protects you from wet weather. Combine this with its eco-friendly drivetrain and two seats, you have an excellent urban transport solution.
One of Schaefer’s target markets for the Duo is large establishments, such as universities and large enterprises. They hope to capitalise on the fact that you don’t need a license to use one. At the same time, its low noise and zero-emission output make it suitable for getting around company grounds or university campus.
I can definitely see large factories utilising a fleet of these vehicles to mobilise their workforce, both inside and outside.
The Technology Inside The Bio-Hybrid
Creating something like the Bio-Hybrid comes with its technical challenges while ensuring your target market is satisfied with the product.
The continuous power of 250W comes courtesy of two electric motors. These motors are powered by a 48V lithium-ion battery, but you can slot in a secondary battery to double your range to 100km. This system gives you a top speed of 25kph, which makes it a Class 1 pedelec vehicle.
You can choose various levels of assistance, so you can turn your commute into a workout or extend your assisted range when you need to. People that ride in hilly areas will love the hydraulic braking system. As you brake, the system recoups the energy and puts it back into the battery, extending your range.
But, the techy stuff doesn’t end with making the Bio-Hybrid go and stop; it is also connected. Using Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and 4G, the vehicle’s integrated navigation system allows you to avoid traffic and seamlessly arrive at your destination. There is also a range of additional functions available via the app installed on your smartphone or smartwatch.
The app allows you to stay connected with your Bio‑Hybrid, no matter where you are. It gives you information, such as the vehicle’s status, service and how many completed trips. In addition to this, it will tell you its exact location if it has been stolen. This feature is essential for peace of mind, especially if it is loaded up with goods.
Will We See Our Streets Full Of Vehicles Like The Schaefer Bio-Hybrid?
We are seeing many cities now implementing initiatives to dramatically reduce their Co2 emissions. For example, Copenhagen wants to be carbon neutral by 2025, and they are well on their way to achieving this. A big part of Copenhagen’s success is that they are making it easier for cyclists. In fact, they have five times more bikes than cars.
The more cities become more attractive to cyclists, there is a good chance quirky transport solutions like the Bio-Hybrid will be more prevalent. Only, one day, they won’t be regarded as quirky, but the norm.
Photos Courtesy of biohybrid.com