Fully-Enclosed IRIS eTrike Is an Electric Assist Velomobile With a 50-Mile Range

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©. Grant Sinclair

What looks like a cross between a bike helmet and a high-heeled shoe could help usher in another wave of personal electric assisted vehicles.

Grant Sinclair, who is the nephew of Sir Clive Sinclair - electronics inventor and creator of the C5 electric vehicle, which was way too far ahead of its time - seems to be following in his relatives' footsteps with his latest foray into electric mobility, a fully-enclosed pedal-assist tricycle.

Innovative E-Trike Options

Sinclair IRIS eTrike Eco

Grant Sinclair

The 55 kg IRIS eTrike will come in two variations, the Eco and the Extreme, with the main difference being the Eco model having a 250W electric motor with just pedal-assist and the Extreme model employing a 750W motor with throttle control for higher speeds (and presumably quicker acceleration). Both models use a 48V 20Ah lithium-ion battery for a potential range of up to 50 miles on a single charge, which is reported to take just one hour, and a regenerative braking feature is said to be able to recoup some of the energy for recharging the battery. The eTrikes have front LED headlights, a rear brakelight and turn signals, and a built-in rear view camera to stream real-time video to the rider's docked smartphone in the cockpit. The bikes also have a dedicated LCD display for access to the speed, distance, battery charge level, and power mode.

A Sleek and Efficient Design

The IRIS eTrike is built on a Chromoly steel chassis, with the outer body being a "superlight monocoque Quantum Foam EPP" construction, which is said to be similar to the materials used in ski and bike helmets. The models also include a lockable rear compartment with a capacity of up to 50 liters, which might make these trikes desirable as light delivery vehicles or for service calls, and as they don't require a license or insurance to operate, could lower costs for those applications as well.

The trikes roll on two front 20-inch wheels (with twin hydraulic disc brakes), while the rear drive wheel is a 26" version, all of which are wrapped with puncture-proof tires, and the IRIS uses an 8-speed "road bike gearing" with the shifter on the handlebars. The overhead canopy is made from "aviation acrylic" and the trikes have built-in air vents to keep the rider cool, with "anti-pollution charcoal air filters" to keep the rider breathing clean air while pedaling.

The BBC took a quick look at the IRIS:

The Sinclair IRIS eTrike models can be reserved with a £99 deposit toward the purchase price of either £2,999 (€3,532 / $3,738) for the Eco or £3,499 (€4,121 / $4,361) for the Extreme, with an estimated delivery time in the fourth quarter of 2017. More info is available at Grant Sinclair.