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His other car isn’t a car, it’s a Lexicle

November 22, 2014

carzari-lexicle-01

You know those tricycle contraptions made out of bicycle bits and wrapped in an aerodynamic wind faring? Where the cyclist is positioned on their back or stomach inside what looks like a pedal-powered cruise missile?

Those recumbent torpedoes all seem to be about maximizing the cyclist’s power output while minimizing the drag coefficient.

Yesterday off Cambie Street I saw a completely different sort of trike vehicle. It wasn’t designed to race, just get someone to the grocery store and back again, quickly and comfortably.

Eco (as in economical) neighbourhood transport

I ran across Stuart in the back alley “elbow” at the southeast intersection of Cambie Street and 16th Avenue. He was seated like a driver, or a pilot, in the front seat of what he called the “Carzari Lexicle”.

Stuart admitted to having an engineering background. He told me that he and a group of friends had built the orange-clad Lexicle earlier in the summer.

He tossed it off lightly, like something to do but added proudly that he’d already racked up over 1,000 kilometres in the Lexicle.

That was all he had time to tell me because he had places to go, things to do. He just had time to tell me there was a website I could look up before he began to pedal away.

If such a thing is possible on wheels, the Lexicle waddled its way around a corner and was gone.

The better way to haul the kids and groceries?

carzari-lexicle-02

According to the website, the Carzari Lexicle is a pedal/electric hybrid.

It has a sort of cockpit in the front for the driver and an open area behind, either for a few people or for cargo.

The Lexicle is purposefully designed to be a short haul neighbourhood transporter — to fill a need somewhere between a bicycle-with-trailer and the family car.

It combines some of the comforts of the car with the efficiency of electric power and the affordability of bicycles.

Its signature use is for a parent to take their two children to school, mostly through the back alleys and then, say, go grocery shopping in the area and haul the groceries back home.

The Lexicle vastly improves over what you could do with a bicycle hauling a two-child trailer.

The electric assist has a range between 25 and 30 km and a “cruising speed of 25 km/hr.

It’s described as having a maximum capacity of 300 lbs, which, even if it includes the driver’s weight, still betters the average 100 lbs hauling capacity of a child trailer by nearly a third.

There are hybrid trikes with better hauling specs, notably the amazing Cycles Maximus trike from England, which is designed to get the trike, rider and a 250 kg load easily up a hill with a 20% grade! But with that possible exception, the Lexicle as a total package appears to be superior to available hybrid cargo trikes and pedicabs. 

Stuart is currently rolling around in the only Lexicle — what the team describes as “a work of art” that gets them around town — but the builders appear have ambitions to build on the success of their prototype; making this is a project to keep an eye on. Click on the image to enlarge it.

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