A number of automakers are exploring alternative means of transportation and auto supplier Schaeffler is following suit by announcing plans to introduce a near production version of their Bio-Hybrid at CES next month.
Created by the company’s new subsidiary called Bio-Hybrid GmbH, the vehicle is being billed as a “new form of personal urban mobility and means of transportation.”
Set to be offered in both passenger and cargo configurations, the Bio-Hybrid is a four-wheeled vehicle that rides on a modular platform which has been designed to deliver high levels of comfort while also meeting “maximum safety standards.” The vehicles look relatively simplistic, but they come equipped with a windshield and roof that allows them to be used in inclimate weather. However, the lack of doors means you might not want to give up your car just yet.
Schaeffler was tight-lipped on specifications, but said the Bio-Hybrid is barely wider than a normal bicycle and can be operated on bicycle paths. The model can also been driven without a license in most countries.
As the bike references suggest, the model is pedal-powered. However, the Bio-Hybrid comes with an electric motor that provides power assist at speeds up to 15.5 mph (25 km/h).
The passenger version “comfortably” seats two people, while the cargo variant eschews the rear seat for a truck bed. Schaeffler says the flexibility of the latter model means it could be used for everything from a mobile coffee shop to a refrigeration vehicle.
Despite the Bio-Hybrid’s simplistic appearance, it’s surprisingly high-tech as it features Bluetooth, 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as GPS technology. These aren’t strange additions as Schaeffler’s Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy and Innovation, Prof. Tim Hosenfeldt, said the company wants the Bio-Hybrid to be the “iPhone in the field of pedelecs.”
Following its unveiling at CES, Schaeffler will begin testing the Bio-Hybrid in mid-2019. If everything goes according to plan, the production model will be launched in 2020.