Introducing the PEBL, a car-bike hybrid made from plants!
The PEBL is a new and exciting type of zero emissions vehicle that combines the comfort and utility of a small car with the benefits of a bike. Designed for four season use, the PEBL is a three wheeled, fully enclosed bike that utilizes a combination of pedal and electric drive with a body made from plants. You can pedal as much or as little as you want all year round. It is the world’s most comfortable and functional velomobile, bridging the gap between a car and a bike.
We are a father and son company from western Massachusetts called better.bike and have been developing the PEBL since 2013. When we began to design the PEBL, one of our goals was to not only make a vehicle that was low emissions and healthy to use, but to also be sure that the body was made out of materials that are easy on the planet, low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds), non-toxic and from resourced and/or recycled materials whenever possible. Traditional fiberglassing uses very toxic resins that off-gas a tremendous amount of VOC's, which are known carcinogens and significant contributors to air pollution and the glass cloth can also be hazardous to work with. To avoid that, we spent hundreds of hours experimenting with different materials. The result is an incredibly strong, lightweight, and very forgiving body made from 100% hemp cloth and an epoxy resin made from resourced plant oils. The body sits on a corrosion resistant aluminum “tadpole” style frame that is the most stable three wheel configuration, good for rain, snow and dirt roads.
Using a combination of pedal and electric drive, the PEBL is legally considered a bicycle, due to its top speed of 20 mph and 3 wheeled design, but it has many features you’d find on a small car. Designed for year round use in the challenging New England weather, the PEBL can be ridden fully enclosed in the cold and rain or with the doors rolled up and the flooring under the pedals removed to create a breezy and open ride in the warmer months. There’s even an optional heater powered by the lithium batteries! The PEBL also comes standard with reverse, cruise control, regenerative braking, full lighting, horn an 8 speed internally geared rear hub, suspension, a comfortable and quiet cloth interior like you’d find in a car, a dashboard with a voltmeter, power key, USB charger and lots of cargo space. It can hold up to 8 bags of groceries and has room for two adults or an adult and two small kids and has a carrying capacity of up to 350 lbs. The PEBL offers many other options besides the heater, including a solar roof charger, and comes in a rainbow of colors.
The PEBL comes standard with one lithium battery that can take it 25 miles without pedaling (farther with pedaling) on a charge and can be recharged in 2-3 hours. It can hold enough additional batteries to go over 100 miles on a charge! You can pedal as much or as little as you want, so if you don’t want to work up a sweat on your way to work, then don’t, but if you want to get some exercise on the way home, then you can. The PEBL is also a great way for people with limited fitness and/or health issues to be able to ride and get some fun exercise. The PEBL fits easily into any bike lane and is suitable for urban, suburban and rural environments. Whether it’s commuting to work, bringing the kids to school, getting groceries, running errands or just getting out and having fun, the PEBL has you covered.
All of our prototypes have been sold and we’re hoping with your donations to go into limited production this fall with full production in the spring of 2017. Help us make your journey sustainable and become a part of the solution.
See more pics of the PEBL at: www.better.bike
What about Specs?
- 6061 corrosion resistant aluminum frame with rear suspension
- Hemp & soy composite body
- Vinyl doors with zip up windows
- Full flooring with removable heel well inserts
- Impact resistant polycarbonate windows
- Programable 48v 750W power system
- 16ah Lithium Ion battery
- Fully adjustable cockpit (pedals, seat, handlebars)
- 20mph top speed
- 25 mile range (without pedaling)
- 5 Amp integrated charger (plugs into any standard wall outlet)
- Full street lighting (headlights, brake lights, turn signals, running lights)
- Cruise control
- Regenerative braking
- USB charging port
- Keyed power switch
- Sturmey Archer 8 speed rear hub
- Sturmey Archer 90mm drum break front hubs
- Avid BB7 rear 200mm disk brake
- Oversized 2.3" Kenda K-Rad tires on Alex DM 24 alloy rims and heavy duty spokes
- 6 cubic feet of rear storage
- Transformable passenger seat for 4 cubic feet more rear storage
- 6 Standard Colors: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, white
- Length: 99"
- Height: 54"
- Width: 44"
- Track width: 42"
- Weight: 195 lbs
- 600 watt heater
- Battery warmer wtih dashboard mounted temp sensor
- Additional USB/12 volt power ports
- 110W roof top solar panel
- Up to 3 more additional 16ah batteries for 100+ mile range per charge
- Interior lighting
- Wider tire and wheel options
- Custom coloring
Why Do We Need the Money?
Production facilities for the PEBL are not yet ready. We need new mold fabrication, tooling, larger shop space, and workers. We are in contact with mold manufacturers, tooling suppliers, realtors, and workers, the money is the next step. As well, we are hoping to revamp our website, adding a PEBL owners section for owners to connect, share experiences, and for servicing how-to's.
Level 1: $20,000
We hope to raise enough money to have new molds fabricated for the body panels and jigs for the frame.
Level 2: $50,000
Purchasing industrial vacuum forming table, sewing machine and CNC router for customizing certain parts as well as upgrading other tools.
Level 3: $100,000
Moving into larger production facility and hiring more skilled labor to start full production of the PEBL. Developing EU compliant (250 watt) as well as moped (28 mph/1.9 Kwatt) versions of PEBL. Applying for patents for proprietary parts of PEBL.
Level 4: $250,000
Moving towards more automated methods of producing the frame and body panels to reduce cost per unit and therefore price of PEBL. We want to get as many people as possible using transportation that is healthy for them and the planet!
Click here to see a full description of all the perks:
Risks and challenges
While we are confident that we can make production of the PEBL a reality, we cannot see the future. There may be problems that arise in dealing with new technologies, problems solidifying shop space, worker training issues, supply delays, and tooling issues that we may not be able to predict. The more money we receive, the less likely these problems are to occur.
Another potential risk is the cost per unit. After producing several prototypes, we have a pretty good handle on the cost of materials and parts, and while we have a good idea of the amount of time it will take, and therefore labor hours, we are still building them individually from scratch and won't know until we have more automated processes involving larger numbers exactly how much it will cost to make each PEBL. Our goal is to be able to make them affordable enough to motivate as many people out of their cars as possible!
Lastly, a risk is in prototype testing. We have several prototypes on the road with over 5K miles of riding and have already altered our designs slightly to fix problems that we have had. We do not expect many more problems to arise, but if they do, we should be able to address them quickly.
We are not letting these risks deter us, or we would not be here. While there is no guarantee, we are pushing forward with confidence that we can bring the PEBL to full production next spring with limited production this fall.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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