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motorized velomobile VM45 can cruise without pedaling using electric-assist function

Katanga creates motorized velomobile VM45

 

Czech company Katanga has created VM45, a motorized velomobile – a human-powered vehicle that combines elements of a bicycle and an enclosed aerodynamic shell – with four wheels and a body made of milled foam, hand epoxies, and fibers. Polyurethane foam was used for the model, which the design team had to mill into several smaller portions due to its large size. They glued them all together in the end to encase the four-wheeled bicycle, or quad-cycle. Hand epoxies and fibers were added later on which after the hardening process resulted in the creation of the motorized velomobile VM45.

 

VM45 uses a type of motor and gearbox system that Katanga calls Valeo-Cyclee Mid-drive, which features automatic shifting and reverse drive. The former allows the motorized velomobile to change gears automatically, while the latter enables it to move backward. The VM45’s cruising speed can reach 45 km/h, which is also the maximum limit for the electric-assist function. Thanks to the vehicle’s efficient aerodynamics and low rolling resistance, VM45 consumes minimal energy, and as a result, the motorized velomobile’s range with its battery can exceed 200 kilometers in energy-saving mode.

motorized velomobile VM45 can cruise without pedaling using electric-assist function
all images courtesy of Katanga

 

 

Two types of suspension to suit cruising types

 

Katanga says that the motor in VM45 still makes the rider feel as if they were cycling and not just riding in a small, motorized car. They can still actively pedal if they want; the motor is there to assist them with the cruise if they ever get tired or may need a break. The motorized velomobile can give them a sporty and stable feeling when cornering, which can encourage the rider to pedal harder if they want to have a more active ride. Katanga has installed two types of suspension in VM45 too to suit the rider’s cruising type.

 

The front suspension is stiffer and has less movement when going over bumps, while the rear suspension is softer and has more travel. This combination can ensure good grip and adherence to the road surface, even on gravel or uneven terrain. The soft rear suspension and the low mass of the rear wheels allow the use of a differential – a device that distributes power to both rear wheels – without causing any loss of traction. This means both rear wheels maintain a good grip on the road surface.

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
VM45 velomobile

 

 

Katanga’s velomobile VM45 with and without motor

 

The headlight of VM45 has three functions: position light (for visibility), passing beam (for signaling), and driving beam (for illumination). The rear light serves as a stop light and also has a lamp for the rear registration plate. The motorized velomobile also has direction indicators, a motorcycle horn, and reflective surfaces to enhance visibility in low-light conditions. In the video Katanga released on July 24th, 2023, VM45 has already hit the road, and from here, the design team says they will plan to focus on durability testing and addressing any issues that may arise.

 

The other part of their work will involve obtaining type approval as a light on-road quad, which is essential to legally enjoy the electric-assist feature of VM45 that churns up to 45 km/h. Katanga is also considering two options for VM45: to offer it as an electric bicycle version, with a maximum speed of 25 km/h and a nominal 250 Watt motor, or to create a variant without a motor, allowing customers to install common mid-drive motors themselves.

 

In any case, final sales prices are not yet determined, but might roughly estimate around 11,000 EUR before VAT for the variant without a motor and around 13,000 EUR before VAT for the motorized version. However, depending on the additional accessories, these prices may change.

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
a velomobile is a human-powered vehicle that combines elements of a bicycle and an enclosed aerodynamic shell

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
rear of motorized velomobile VM45 by Katanga

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
the single-seater ride offers the rider a clear view of the surroundings

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
polyurethane foam was used for the body, which the design team had to mill into several smaller portions

velomobile-bike-car-vm45-katanga-designboom-ban

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
final product of the motorized velomobile VM45 by Katanga

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
VM45’s cruising speed can reach 45 km/h, which is also the maximum limit for the electric-assist function

motorized velomobile VM45 katanga
inside the motorized velomobile VM45 by Katanga

 

 

project info:

 

name: VM45

company: Katanga

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