Have You Ever Seen An Electric Tricycle? (You Have Now!)
What has three wheels and is changing the way you carry groceries? The answer is electric tricycles.
We meant it when we said that every vehicle known to man would receive an electric makeover eventually, with electric trikes being one of the more obscure options available.
After all, most buyers would rather go for an electric bike if they had the option. Still, you can’t look past the clear advantages electric trikes can offer.
They’re safer to ride to an extent and are, literally, made to transport groceries and other items at your own leisure.
We’ll be looking at the advantages of electric trikes today — highlighting some fantastic rides as we go.
Understand that there are multiple electric tricycles you need to know about.
Like electric bikes, there are many archetypes to consider.
The Electric Trike Explained
Try to keep an open mind when it comes to tricycles — and to electric trikes by proxy.
Most tend to think of them more as service transport. You know, for selling ice cream, or carrying tourists around Asia, and that’s it.
And then there’s the opinion that trikes are meant for kids.
Trikes have great practical use that fit seamlessly into your day-to-day in the same way a bike would — only it has a lot more space for hauling.
They say you never forget how to ride a bike. Well, with tricycles, you barely had to learn anything to begin with; they’re notoriously easy to ride (especially recumbent versions).
Electric tricycles take it a step further, courtesy of complete pedal assistance. In other words, the peddling is done for you, for the most part, allowing you to cover fair distances without exerting as much energy.
A standard electric trike has two parallel wheels at the back of the ride and one wheel at the front, so no changes to standard versions.
Some electric tricycles out there have more in common with cars than bikes, if you can believe that.
For example, some have weather protection and full suspension. Not to mention side mirrors to see behind you. Moreover, some electric trikes look like small cars thanks to enclosures that wrap around them.
Know that electric trikes with full enclosures, like the Organic Transit ELF Solo, are a lot more expensive than you might think. This electric trike would set you back close to $10,000, or around £7,000 for you UK readers.
Many have taken to calling electric trikes “reimagined mopeds.”
The Different Types of Electric Tricycles Available
Areas like Oxford are big for bikes and trikes. In fact, we visited the city recently and can confirm there are quite a few electric tricycles out there already. Not to mention, dedicated electric bike stores.
But did you know there are multiple types of electric trikes out there?
Bikes have mountain, road and fat electric bikes. And trikes have upright, recumbent and heavy-duty electric trikes available to buyers.
Each serves a different purpose, depending on the task at hand.
Upright electric trikes are easily the most common from a practical standpoint. These trikes take the shape of any standard three-wheeler and share a similar look to electric bikes in how the rider is positioned.
On the other hand, you have recumbent electric tricycles, which are glorified lounge chairs with wheels. You see, when riding these trikes, you’re sat down at an angle with your legs in front of you, rather than straight down with you leaning forwards.
Squidward owns a recumbent tricycle for reference. We don’t think his is electric, but it could be once he gets a good look at the benefits of owning one.
And finally, you have heavy duty electric tricycles which focus more on a large earring capacity.
These trikes are a lot sturdier than most; they’re equipped to handle a lot of weight, be it the rider’s weight, or the weight of the load.
Furthermore, heavy-duty trikes tend to offer a lot more space to accommodate the needs of certain businesses. UPS, for example, use a type of heavy-duty electric trike for deliveries in certain countries.
To recap, there are three main types of electric trikes you should know about:
- Upright electric tricycles
- Recumbent electric tricycles
- Heavy duty electric tricycles
Our Electric Trike Picks
One of the easiest ways to understand electric trikes is to simply see what’s out there at the moment.
It’s definitely easier to find an electric bike than it is to discover the right e-trike. We seriously hope this changes in the future, but your options are rather limited in comparison for now.
You’ll hear of swanky new electric trike startups making headway all the time. Still, most don’t even make it to the mass production stages because of how niche these rides are.
We’ve scoured the world wide web to find the best electric tricycles. For the sake of fairness, you’ll find three trikes below, each representing their respective types.
In other words, we’ve selected three electric tricycles for you to gawk at.
E4TPs Best Upright Electric Tricycle: Butchers & Bicycles MK1 Electric Trike
Maker: Butchers & Bicycles
E-Trike Type: Upright
An award-winning e-trike known for its ingenuity, meet Butcher & Bicycles MK1 electric trike; a masterclass in trike design and movement.
Let’s look at the technical specifications:
- The Bosch Performance Line CX Gen2 motor is capable of providing 75 Nm of torque.
- Buyers have the choice between two Bosch batteries (500 Wh and 1,000 Wh).
- The MK1 electric trike has two 20” tyres in the front and one 26” tyre in the back.
- It has “car like comfort,” complete with a lockable glove box.
In terms of load limits, the bucket located on the front of this e-trike can handle 200 kg max. Then again, what did you really expect? Have you seen the size of this thing?
The tilting system featured is unlike anything we’ve seen, and is one of the main reasons it fills the spot for the best upright electric tricycle. Watch this video to understand what we mean; honestly, you need to see it to believe it.
The trike is practically horizontal when it comes to turning. It looks like it’s collapsing in on itself, yet it’s still in complete control.
You can order this e-trike in two colours: gloss white or matte black. We’d go for the latter if given the option; it looks cooler.
E4TPs Best Recumbent Electric Tricycle: HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs 26 S-Pedelec
Maker: HP Velotechnik
E-Trike Type: Recumbent
Ironic that this recumbent is named Scorpion because it certainly looks like one.
It’s actually one of many Scorpion trikes on sale by HP Velotechnik, only this one is an electric trike that’s totally foldable.
That means you can take it with you just about everywhere!
Visually speaking, it’s one of the most unique e-trikes you’ll find. Recumbent trikes are unique, to begin with, but the S-Pedelec is something else when you attach the transparent visor to the front above the pedals.
The S-Pedelec’s low centre of gravity allows it to travel quick and far on each charge. Speaking of charges, this e-trike uses a 48 V lithium-ion rechargeable battery with a 651 Wh capacity. It also uses something known as a “recuperation function,” which generates energy when braking.
We should also mention the start assist function, which causes this electric trike to accelerate from the push of a button without pedalling first.
We’ve chosen this electric trike due to how different it is from the other two mentioned. This e-trike is built for max performance above all else.
Furthermore, it’s a folding e-trike, taking under a minute to go from space-saving mode to road-ready.
E4TPs Best Heavy Duty Electric Tricycle: Babboe Cargo Mountain Bike
E-Trike Type: Heavy duty
Looking for an electric trike that screams: “fun for the whole family,” do you?
Then we have just the thing.
Our pick for the best heavy-duty electric tricycle is the Babboe Flow Mountain Bike.
Yes, we know it calls itself a mountain bike… But it has three wheels and a massive brown bucket located on the front, so it’s good enough for us.
We say this is a family-orientated electric tricycle because it is one. Images of the Babboe Flow always emote a positive vibe, featuring families on days out in the sunshine.
Dimensions-wise, the Flow Mountain Trike is 84cm in width and 110cm in height, making it one of the larger heavy-duty e-trikes on the market.
The lithium-ion battery is located under the bench and takes around 4-6 hours to charge fully. Buyers have the option of picking between a 400 Wh and 500 Wh version, with the latter being the pricier of the two.
Safety is paramount with this electric trike. It features hydraulic disk brakes located in the front and rear. We should also mention the two seat belts located in the big wooden box on the front.
Good luck trying to find one of these heavy-duty e-trikes, by the way. They’re sold out on a lot of dealer sites, and with good reason.
How Will I Know Which Electric Trike Is For Me?
We say this all the time because it’s the truth: always make decisions based on your own needs/requirements.
Suppose you’re a street vendor looking to step into the future. In that case, you should always, always, always go for a heavy-duty electric trike. Why? Because they’re built just for you. Moreover, some companies make heavy-duty trikes on spec.
So, if you sell sandwiches, they’ll make you something with the appropriate features. The same goes for vendors selling alcohol.
Some heavy-duty electric trikes were built with people-carrying in mind — little people, that is. Just look at the Babboe Cargo Mountain Bike mentioned above. This electric trike was made to carry little ones safely and is a fantastic option for just that.
If you’re planning on spending a lazy Sunday afternoon out in the open, then we’d recommend you look at a recumbent tricycle. After all, you can basically sunbathe as you ride (if you live someplace warm).
We’ll admit, these trikes can take some getting used to. Riding while lying down can be jarring at first. It might be worth going on a few test runs in safe areas before you even think about longer distances.
Speaking of, recumbent electric trikes are fantastic for tackling the great outdoors. You see a lot more of the world, too, as you travel.
It’s like riding in a modern chariot.
Upright electric trikes might be a better option for beginners, as they’re like riding any other bike, only you don’t need to worry about balancing as much.
At the end of the day, budget will dictate which trike you choose. Price-wise, heavy-duty electric trikes tend to be the most expensive of the bunch as they’re made on spec.
Some recumbent trikes are pretty pricey, too (racing versions).
The Benefits of Owning an Electric Trike
Many of you reading this will want to buy an electric trike after you’ve read this section in full because there are many benefits to owning one of your own.
We aren’t kidding.
Some of these benefits are pretty obvious but worth stating anyway. You’ll find that most of these facts apply to trikes generally. Although electric versions are in a league of their own despite the heavy premium.
Stability is Better Than Your Average Bike
“Three wheels are better than two,” is what we’re told by trike companies, but why is that?
Simple answer, really: they’re optimised for stability.
Stability is what keeps you from falling flat on your face when mobile or stationary; it’s simple physics. Three wheels are great for balance, taking all the pressure off of the rider.
Recumbent trikes especially — once you get the hang of them.
They’re a breeze to ride because of this stability, almost guaranteeing a safe journey each time you mount up.
Of course, there will always be a level of danger when it comes to riding on busy roads. But for quick trips to your local supermarket, you should be fine.
Standard trikes are very easy to ride, but electric versions take it up a notch.
Stability is guaranteed no matter what speed option you choose. You’d need to be travelling pretty fast on an e-trike for something to go horribly wrong. And like e-bikes, electric trikes do have a capped speed limit (15.5mph).
They’re a Lot Stronger Than You Might Think
Better control allows trikes to grip the ground more, again, thanks to having three wheels total. This allows them to carry heavy objects — and children, as proven by the Babboe Flow mentioned above.
In our experience, the bigger the box/bucket, the more you can carry.
Stability helps keep the e-trike grounded, but the motor/battery pushes it beyond standard trikes. For example, electric tricycles can withstand greater height differences and stronger headwinds because of the power it contains.
Yes, you might drain the power more by riding up hills and in windy conditions, but these e-trikes are equipped to deal with it in spades.
Range anxiety shouldn’t pose too much of an issue, as long as you’re switching between power modes as you travel. Most e-trikes have eco modes — like electric bikes — that maintains a steady flow of energy without exerting too much power.
It might be noiseless, but the power behind e-trikes is definitely there.
The Work is Done For You
Electric trikes do all the work for you, but we didn’t need to tell you that.
The motors/batteries used make life easier, allowing riders to travel an average of 30 miles per charge. Certain e-trikes can travel a lot further; the only downside is that you usually pay more upfront.
It’s a universal rule that applies to electric scooters and bikes too. Be sure to check out our guide if you’re looking for a cheap electric scooter.
E-trikes like the Scorpion fs 26 S-Pedelec can generate power from the jump. This is a lot different to e-bikes — and most electric tricycles, to be honest — in that you normally need to pedal first before the motor kicks in.
Multiple speed options only add to the functionality of electric tricycles.
It’s very easy to switch between each mode, too. Everything you need is found on the handlebars.
They Look Incredibly Futuristic
Some of the e-trike concepts we’ve seen don’t seem real to us.
You know that saying — “the future is now” — well, that’s more than a quirky saying; it’s a spoiler given the look of some electric tricycles.
The Hase Klimax looks look an umbrella/kite on three wheels. It looks the part and nearly made our pick for the best recumbent e-trike. We chose the Scorpion over this trike due to its ability to fold.
But yeah, definitely check out the Hase Klimax if you can; it’s certainly one of the more recognisable trikes available right now.
If you’re looking to be the talk of your local town, then there’s no better ride to own than an electric tricycle.
Wrapping Up: Have You Ever Seen an Electric Tricycle? (You Have Now!)
As you can see, electric trikes are out there; they’re overshadowed by e-bikes most of the time, but they are out there.
Buyers might have limited options right now, but the fact that you can customise certain rides makes them very unique. E-trikes appeal to families and businesses for the most part. Heavy-duty electric trikes are made for these people.
Although, you don’t need to sell ice cream to own an electric trike. Upright e-trikes are a fantastic alternative to e-bikes, made with transporting cargo in mind.
That should be enough to spark interest amongst certain buyers.
We hope we’ve made that abundantly clear.
What electric ride should we cover next? And no, we won’t cover an electric unicycle no matter how many times you ask.