PODBIKE® is a human powered vehicle with electric assist, an e-bike with four wheels, providing weather protection and seats one adult plus a child inside a filtered air cabin. PODBIKE® will be made from easy reusable materials that together with high efficiency results in personal transport with minimum environmental impact.
Traditional bicycles have been available for over a hundred years but lack weather protection and high speed capability and offer zero crash protection.
Electric assisted bicycles, or pedelecs, remove the burden from pedalling up steep hills or in strong headwind. But they do not remedy the problem of lack of weather protection, nor do they offer any crash protection. Streamlined velomobiles, cycles with a body, are much faster, have at least some weather and crash protection but lack the ‘creature comfort’ a modern car offers.
Our target has been to develop and construct an electric assisted velomobile solving all the following requirement within a sustainable envelope:
- Easy for occupants to enter and leave vehicle
- Having lower air drag than a racing bike
- Excellent ride comfort independent of road conditions
- Complete weather protection
- First class cornering stability
- Small parking space
- Room for passenger (child) within weather protection
- Human powered propulsion with motor assist using no derailleur, or gears, nor chains
- Improved safety compared to existing velomobiles
- Easy to mass produce
THE STARTUP// Elpedal and Podbike
The Founder and R&D Manager, Per Hassel Sørensen, grew up nearby Scandinavia’s largest bicycle factory (Øglænd/ DBS in Sandnes), and he started early to make his own bicycles. In 2010 he built his first velomobile from a Dutch kit. He added an electric assist motor and a homemade battery with surplus li-ion cells from electric scooters.
While studying at University of Stavanger for an MSc in Sustainable Energy Technology (part time 2011-2015), he decided to explore the possibilities of improving the velomobile to make the vehicle more suitable for the masses. His master thesis “Velomobil: redefined” became the technical basis for Podbike®.
In 2015, Per Hassel decided to go all in to realize his dream of creating this new personal vehicle. In April 2015, his wife Anne-Lise Heggland joined the startup as CEO, after working more than 20 years in the Oil & Gas industry (within Finance and Management). Together they started to develop the family company Elpedal AS and hired Montaag (Stavanger/ San Francisco) to do the industrial design and branding of Podbike®.
While Per Hassel continued with the further product development and IPR activities, Anne-Lise took care of the Business Development including applications of governmental funding for prototyping. In January 2016 the company Podbike AS was established and in February Podbike AS received grants from Innovation Norway.The prototype project started March 2016 and is scheduled to be finalized during Q2 2017.
In addition to Per Hassel and Anne-Lise, the team is consisting of highly qualified personnel within Software Development, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics/ Mechatronics and Marketing & Sale, hired in on hourly basis since early 2016. From 2017 the team has been expanded with resources within Supply Chain and Document Control.