A velomobile (VM) is a vehicle powered by muscle power, usually based on a three-wheeled recumbent bike, which is particularly efficient due to its aerodynamic body and also comfortable as it protects its rider from wind, cold and rain.
Most VM are made in monocoque construction and are made of glass fibre and/or carbon. The weight of current sporty VMs today is around 25 (DF) to 33 kg (Quest); they can easily reach average speeds of over 30km/h, which is why many VM owners use them to commute to work every day.
These advantages due to the design (aerodynamics) look as follows in figures: A “normal” adult who pedals at a continuous power of 100 watts (trained people usually achieve a continuous power of 150-250 watts) can thus reach
– 19.5 km/h on a “Holland” bicycle
– on a racing bike (lower handlebars) 25.7 km/h
– on a VM (Quest) 33 km/h!! (Source: Kreuzotter.de)
Due to the high purchase costs, however, VM are still rarely found, despite their low maintenance costs and zero emissions. Depending on the model, new prices range between 6,000 and 10,000 euros, with exclusive and individual examples paying considerably more.
Recently, electric drives have been increasingly used to offer less sporty and ambitious drivers a sensible alternative to owning a car.