The e-Trike as a design provocation

Topic AwarenessDevelopmentDesignSafety and securityWomen entrepreneurshipWomen needs in transport New technologiesSmart bikingParticipation cultureNew mobility formsShared modes of mobilityTransport patterns & user needs

We asked ourselves, what is an e-trike? Who would use one? Why would they choose to? When and where would such a device be the perfect solution. And how would it offer advantage to its user?

Three wheeled, pedal powered vehicles (trikes) have been around since the 17th Century,  the name later was coined by two French inventors in 1789. So the concept is well road tested. Coventry indeed has a long history of making such vehicles. But UK uptake of the modern tricycle variant is lower than the two wheeled counterparts. There may be a number of reasons for this, suitability for local infrastructure, higher investment cost, storage issues, or quite simply that they don’t look as elegant/fun as their two wheeled counterparts.

We theorised that an e-trike would necessitate a new aesthetic and new sense of touch, in order to be of interest.

It would still need to be affordable, relative to more typical, personal mobility, which guides the selection of materials and potential manufacturing methods.

It would need to be effective in its environment, meaning that not only could it provide transport, but could be adaptable to suit its purpose. We wanted to reposition the idea of a tricycle. So, as a provocation we conceived a new kind of trike that offered a different personal mobility experience, but ensuring that the familiarity remained. The aesthetic design is intended to be distinctive but always slightly familiar. To achieve this we focussed on the following Experience Highlights (EH):

1. Different/Familiar

Lightweight, tubular construction of core frame.

2. Protection

From sunlight and rain, side protection for confidence in impact or to prevent unwanted intrusion, wider bench type seat rather than saddle, fold down rear seat. Integrated storage unit and lighting

3. Sensation

Configured to feel the air rush, the chassis flex, a feeling of being in control of the trike rather than merely sitting on it

4. Interaction

Through a familiar steering panel to control motor drive

5. Novel power system

Introducing wheel hub based electric power, controlled by user without pedalling

Available translations

Give us your opinion

Evaluating the contribution


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Jump to comment-69

3 years ago

Also, it is designed using very familiar manufacturing methods (tubular frame, etc) but the form is covered in some areas to prevent the basic, spindly design that may discourage some UK interest.

Visually the 'weight' is low down, the upper area is light and illuminated. The sides are a barrier but not a container. The top gives shade or rain protection. The rear provides a storage space and a second seat. The controls (in this design) operate and drive the independant rear wheels, using inboard motors.





Jump to comment-68

3 years ago

I would say that this design explores the notion of personal protection, engaged with freedom of movement but informed by our knowledge about the vulnerability of women when using bikes and other forms of transport. 

Additionally, we are aware that there is a lack of interest in tricycles in the UK market, compared to others. 

The purpose of this provocation then is to suggets a different aesthetic, with alternative propulsion - whilst offering different kinds of protection, which has variations becuase protection means different things in different contexts.

Jump to comment-67

3 years ago

To judge the scale, these tyres are the same as any hybrid bike and therefore commercially easily available.

Jump to comment-41

3 years ago

Hi Paul

this was developed in response to my brief of a tricyle for the UK.rationale was that there is less of an uptake of tricyles in te UK than in other countries, and they appear to be such a good idea.

My question is how would this appeal to the UK market? How have you included issues of gender and diversity in the design?

can I have a package with a person, and how do they get in and out of it?

I can't understand the scale of this. Can you put it next to a bike, or other vehicles? Would it fit in a cycle lane?

can this be made more adaptable to be used by people with reduced upper and lower limb mobility?

The TInnGO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no 824349.
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