NÜWIEL's "intelligent bicycle trailer" aims to help people move heavier loads by bike both safely and comfortably.
The number of different options for personal electric mobility is growing rapidly, with new electric skateboards, scooters, bikes, motorcycles, and more hitting the market every week, but one solution hasn't gotten nearly the amount of traction that the others have. However, for those who love to bike, and who don't want to convert their bike to electric, but would like a little something extra for those days when hauling cargo, an electric bike trailer might be just the ticket.
Electric pusher trailers aren't new, but they are rather uncommon to see, perhaps because the average cyclist isn't interested in adding a trailer to their daily rider, or perhaps because those who do pull a bike trailer regularly aren't too concerned with the extra effort required to conquer hills or long distances. Either way, e-bikes and electric bike conversions seem to get a lot more play in the media and on the roads and trails than electric bike trailers, but a forthcoming unit from a German startup may help to change that.NÜWIEL, a Hamburg-based startup that is working on "clean transportation solutions for last mile delivery," is teasing out information about its electric bike trailer, which could be a method of leveraging pedal power and zero (tailpipe) carbon emissions for deliveries and running errands without committing to an electric bicycle for all bike trips. While the trailer isn't yet for sale, and the company will initially focus on the commercial delivery and logistics sector, an electric pusher trailer might be a viable option for getting to a low-car or car-free lifestyle. Here's a very brief look at the prototype of the NÜWIEL trailer:
The trailer attaches to the rear of a bicycle, similar to the way a kid-carrier trailer does, which means that it will most likely be quick and easy to install or remove, and although the trailer isn't directly connected to the bicycle's pedals or drivetrain, it is said to be able to "know exactly when to accelerate, decelerate and brake." While pedal-assist electric bikes rely on either cadence or torque sensors to control the amount of assistance being applied by the motor, the NÜWIEL uses sensors in the tow bar to measure the movement of the bike, which allows it to properly add force to the bike when needed, up to a top speed of 25 kph (~15.5 mph). The cargo capacity for the trailer is about 90 kg (~198 lb), a regenerative braking feature allows the NÜWIEL to slow the bike while partially recharging the batteries, and the batteries are said to have an average range of about 50 kilometers per charge.
"The use of the NÜWIEL trailers makes deliveries with trucks and cars in the urban area superfluous. Reduce the maintenance costs of your vehicle by a large number and at the same time help to reduce noise pollution, traffic jam and air pollution in cities." - NÜWIEL, via Google Translate
According to Utopia.de, the NÜWIEL will be available to courier and transport companies in the fall of 2017, and to consumers by 2019, but no price has been established yet for this electric trailer. The article also states that the trailer can be used without a bike, as a motorized hand cart, which could be another relevant application for those who want to do their shopping or errands on foot instead of in a car or on a bike.