The e-Trike as a design provocation
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):
Lightweight, tubular construction of core frame.
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
Configured to feel the air rush, the chassis flex, a feeling of being in control of the trike rather than merely sitting on it
Through a familiar steering panel to control motor drive
5. Novel power system
Introducing wheel hub based electric power, controlled by user without pedalling