Thanks to Saudi-based inventor Nasser Al Shawaf and Dutch engineering partner BPO, the world first calorie-burning car has been created in the FitCar PPV, a genuine pedal-powered vehicle.
This prototype is based on an Audi A4 Avant 2.0-liter TFSI automatic, which has had its throttle replaced by a bicycle pedal mechanism, mated to a flywheel which engages the accelerator. Basically, the cars electronics turn the driver’s pedaling efforts into throttle action, so the harder you pedal, the faster the car accelerates and vice-versa.
According to its builders, the car can actually deliver manufacturer specification performance and economy, despite the fact that you have to use a pedaling motion to get it rolling. Also, in order to make room for the bicycle and flywheel mechanism, the brake pedal has been replaced with a simple ‘push hand control’ system, like the ones used in motability vehicles.
“I work in many cities around the world where a 60-minute-plus car commute, each-way, each day is not uncommon,” said Al Shawaf. “This is an unhealthy way to waste more than two hours every day. So, I came up with the idea of the FitCar – which does exactly the same as any conventional car – getting us safely and comfortably from A to B, however in the FitCar you can exercise while you drive.”
The business man also added that you can burn as many as 300 calories per 30 minutes in the FitCar.
In order to operate the vehicle, you utilize three simple settings. First, there is ‘Drive Slow’, which is for slow moving traffic. Getting you up to speed will be the ‘Drive Fast’ setup, if for example you need to get on the highway, whereas ‘No Drive’ will actually keep you standing still while you continue exercising using the pedals.
There is also a rotary dial on the pedals helping you adjust the resistance, similar to changing gears on a regular bicycle.
“This is prototype 2, an Audi A4 Avant, chosen for its cockpit ergonomics, allowing for a comfortable cycling position, with enough room for the physical action of pedaling,” said BPO founder, Oscar Brocades Zaalberg. “Our ambition is for the technology to be either adopted by a car manufacturer for a new generation of ‘healthier’ city cars, or for us simply to offer it as a conversion kit to the after-market for those wishing to add PPV as an optional active extra to their car.”
The FitCar PPV has been patented internationally and is currently awaiting RDW approval in the Netherlands for road use across Europe.