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TWIKE – A success story since 1986

When students from ETH Zurich present the first TWIKE at the World Exhibition in Vancouver in 1986, sustainability is still an absolutely niche topic. The “Ur-TWIKE” was a two-seater bicycle with bodywork, weighed 50 kg and could be accelerated to a speed of 50 km/h by pedal drive. The idea was too good to simply be forgotten again afterwards.

In 1991, the TWIKE 2 appeared and four years later the TWIKE 3 went into series production. Years of further development and records followed. In the summer of 1998, a group of TWIKEs travels 10,000 km from Bern via the Baltic States to the North Cape and back via Scandinavia. For this, there is an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest distance covered with e-mobiles and the energy efficiency achieved in the process.

In 2002, the TWIKE becomes a German brand. FINE Mobile GmbH takes over the complete production from Switzerland. Just three years later, a breakthrough in battery manufacturing enabled the range to be increased to 100 km. In 2007, the development of the LION battery even increases the range to 200 km.

In 2010, the TWIKE 4 prototype is constructed especially for the “Automotive X-Prize” and achieves third place in the international competition. 136 teams from all over the world had entered this showcase. TWIKE then sets a new range record at the 1st eRUDA (“Elektrisch rund um den Ammersee”) 2013. The TWIKE 4 reaches 510 km with a current series battery. The Tesla Roadster gave up after just 418 km.

The new TWIKE 5 – Sustainable riding fun in a modern design

As good as the TWIKE 4 was, it was also clear to us that we wanted to develop it further. In the old tradition, the TWIKE 5 will also be a lightweight, highly efficient, three-wheeled vehicle. Just like the “Ur-TWIKE”, it will have a pedal drive. The driver and front passenger can thus support the electric motor. The energy generated in this way can be used to charge the battery while driving, thus increasing the range.

The TWIKE 5 is expected to weigh a maximum of 600 kg. Low weight is of crucial importance here, because only a lightweight vehicle can also be operated in an energy-efficient manner. Although this makes it heavier than the TWIKE 3, the additional consumption is almost completely offset by higher electrical efficiency and lower aerodynamic drag.

The TWIKE 5 is expected to be offered with two different sized batteries. The battery size not only influences the range, but also the maximum power that can be called up. Even the smallest battery size allows a sufficiently high speed of about 130 km/h and a range greater than 250 km. With a maximally large battery, a speed of over 190 km/h and a range of over 500 km will even be possible. Consumption is expected to be 7.2 kWh per 100 km.

In 2019, we presented the new TWIKE 5 first time in the country where TWIKE has its roots: at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. The public and the trade press received the prototype enthusiastically. Now we want to go into series production with it – with your help!

In our next update, we’ll explain why we chose a three-wheeled vehicle.