ScooterMan101 wrote: ↑
Mar 25, 2018 12:44 pm
Until the price comes down to around $ 2,500 for a bicycle version, or
$ 4,000 - $ 6,000 for a motorcycle ( electric ) version like the Elio, they are just not going to sell much here in the U.S.
Whoever manages to do this first and sell enough to justify the business of making them is probably going to make some money.
If a car can be mass produced and sold at a profit for $2500(Tata Nano, Tara Tiny, ect), then certainly an electric velomobile can be made for less than that. It's all a matter of production volume.
The problem is that in most jurisdictions with electric bicycle laws, the true potential market for electric velomobiles would be severely restricted because the ability to legally use the strengths inherent to the platform would be restricted in such a way as to keep them from performing like cars.
In most of Europe, electric assist is limited to 15 mph. In the U.S., there are so many different laws and regulations that vary city by city, county by county, state by state that its legality would be difficult for the customer to immediately ascertain, and federal law limits them to 750W/28mph.
But I think that a car-like vehicle could be made to cruise at 70 mph, with the rider inputting some of the power, and the vehicle could be done in such a way that it was practical to use in place of a car for transporting a single occupant and also consumed less than 30 Wh/mile at that speed(whereas most cars when converted to electric would consume 300+ wh/mi). Making one accelerate like a high-end motorcycle would really add some appeal, and I would think such a vehicle made capable of reaching triple digit speeds could potentially have a large market in the $15-20k price range were it not for legal restrictions, and possibly be even way cheaper than that to mass produce.
Current law exists to protect the the status quo in the U.S. of automobile use for all transport for a significant percentage of the population. The mass transit systems we used to have in the early 20th century were leaps and bounds ahead of what currently exists in most of the U.S., although things have gotten slightly better in the last two decades in parts of the country with regard to mass transit availability, cars are currently overwhelmingly more convenient to use for most people than are mass transit or electric bicycles. This also needs to change, but that won't happen as long as corporate lobbyists write the laws governing us. This country's bought government is still stuck pursuing the "what's good for GM is good for America" policy as it has been for a century now.
There's just too many chains of industries that feel entitled to our money, whether they get it "voluntarily" for each car bought, dealership repair made, or gallon of gas consumed when most of the U.S. has few or no viable and practical transport alternatives, or whether they get it forceful through the tax system that is used to fund the wars used to secure the resources that keep the industry going and the environmental damage caused by the manufacturing and consumption of the resources required to make our automobiles-reliant society function.
Car addiction in the U.S. was a deliberate policy decision more than it was a default consumer choice.