Meet the Karbike: not just an e-bike, but not quite a car

Introducing a mobile contraption that has four wheels, a roof, rear seats for passengers and luggage, and an electric motor good for 47 miles on a single charge and able to store additional range thanks to the solar panel on the roof.

But it’s a stretch to use the word “car” to describe it. In France, where its start-up creators are located, it’s called the Karbike. Naturelle.

Technically, this thing — which looks to us like an enlarged toaster — is deep down an E-bike that wants to be a car. It even conforms to the 250-watt power limit of pedal-assist e-bikes in Europe. It does, however, get a sizable battery with 750-watt-hours of juice providing the above-mentioned range. The roof is aluminum, and the frame is steel.

The Karbike measures 31.5 inches wide. The rider propels the hybrid vehicle using both pedals and the mid-mounted Valeo motor. Speed is limited to about 15 miles per hour.

Karbikes (yes, the company name is the plural of Karbike) was founded in 2022 by Gaelle Richard and Lucas Vançon, two Alsatian engineers, who hope to eventually offer two versions once it advances past the prototype stage this summer. The second Karbike would be a family-oriented model that can transport an adult and two children along with groceries or other goods.

Explained inventor Vançon, “Cycling when it's raining and cold doesn't always make you want to cycle, so I said to myself why not put a roof on the bike and, as we thought about it, we arrived at this concept,”

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