MN friends seek joy of commuting by adding pedals to fast EV




Wanting to take more advantage of his long commutes, Ryan Anderson dreamed of a vehicle that he could pedal, but would be fast enough and safe enough for the highway. Then he discovered that someone just down the road from him near the Twin Cities (Minnesota) had already created a prototype for a highway legal EV with pedal power.

Rich Kronfeld, an avid bike commuter, wanted something for the icy Minnesota winters and that would allow for highway commutes, when he created the RAHT racer (Recharging Anthro-Hybrid Transport). With the look of a kayak (the alpha prototype was created at the We-no-nah Canoe Company), it weighs just 700 pounds.

Anderson joined the company as Chief Technology Officer and they’re currently at work on a beta prototype, though the bike already has a waiting list for pre-orders. The team hopes to create a bike that will reach speeds of 100mph, with a range between 50 and 75 miles per charge.

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21 Comments

  1. Ryan Anderson
    May 7, 2018
    Reply

    Thanks Kirsten for asking us to be in one of your videos. I wasn't quite prepared for how mean people can be, but it's good to see the positive interest and encouragement as well. I guess I should have a installed a towing hitch on my Jetta TDI instead of using my truck…..

    For all of the curious/concerned citizens out there (and the haters), I'll try to address some of your questions (and even some rude comments…which I will rephrase in my mind to respectful, courteous questions/comments) using my best Minnesota Nice approach.

    Why?
    I commute daily 45 -60 miles each way in a 2011 Jetta TDI Manual. I've put 140K on the car, and plan to drive it well over 300K (or even 500K) if possible. I have a lifetime average of 48+ MPG. This commute uses up 2 hours of my day and the challenge for me has always been choosing to spend another hour away from my wife and 5 kids by going to the gym. What this concept means to me is an opportunity to be healthier by combining exercise with my daily commute without sacrificing more time with my family. And, I really believe that there are 1000's like me. I was looking to buy one, and was thrilled to discover that I could join Kronfeld Motors and actually contribute to making this a reality. Neither the founder or I are rich $$. I would just be happy if we could start a company building these, make enough money to support our families, retire, and do the same for all of our employees. That's been one of the challenges to getting funded….we don't want to sell out, we want to do this and make a living at this. This is definitely not a "get rich quick" scheme, it's a good old fashioned "blood, sweat & tears" scheme……imagine that?

    The 6 door Truck:
    I have 5 kids (last 2 were surprise twins) and need room for 7 and my dog and everyone has to be strapped in safely (this isn't pre 90's where you could just cram them all in with no seatbelts or carseats) I still work part time on the family farm (more blood sweat and tears) which is another 45 miles in the opposite direction (now you see why I don't live closer to my day job). I regularly need to tow up to 30,000 lbs and/or haul loads in the truck box. I used my existing 2005 F350 that I have owned since new, and I recycled another salvaged 2005 F250 to have this truck built. I'm not rich, I saved money for 5 years to have this built, and it's built on a budget. The only thing new in the interior is the headliner, everything else is recycled and worn. The only thing new on the outside were the must haves, the exhaust, running boards, and the paint (which was at cost of materials only). I even recycled the drive shafts to make the longer drive shaft. Sure, it also looks cool, but I wouldn't have built it if it didn't make sense (and cents) for me and my family. BTW, It doesn't eat any gas, it runs on diesel fuel, and I run a tuner to improve the MPG. I also hope to do another project someday where I convert the engine to be a veggie diesel (hard to do in MN winters).

    Only 5%? Well, you can make it 100%, but you won't have a life…..
    Its physics everyone! When you commute 50 miles in 1 hour on the highway in a highway safe vehicle, you will be hard pressed to contribute more than 5% of the energy required to do so. So then why even recapture the energy? We say, why not? We needed a way to provide variable resistance too, and this seemed like a good fit. Exercise machines in the gym do this by creating friction or magnetic drag…What a waste!…and they still have to be plugged in! Also, maybe I secretly want my 5 kids to each pedal it for 30 minutes while it sits at home, and charge the batteries up part way instead of plugging it in….lol. So, technically, you can contribute 100% of the energy required, but you would have to sit and pedal it for 20 hours in order to drive it 1 hour at highway speeds. The reality is you most often will only contribute about 5%, or another way to say it is extend your range by 5%.

    It's not a bicycle….
    It's not supposed to be bike lane friendly. As or right now, it's legally a motorcycle until the laws (hopefully) change to provision another class of vehicle. However, we do think that a lot of bike commuters, or those that want to bike commute but are out of range, would like to have one of these. Especially because you can drive it to work without pedaling it (and sweating….your co-workers thank you), and then get a full workout on the way home, whether you pedal 15 miles at high resistance, or 50 miles at a lower resistance. You keep pedaling even when traffic stops, and you can climb hills in your workout, even when the road is flat, or vice versa. You can get the same workout, if you want, no matter what distance you actually travel in the vehicle.

    It's a Proof of Concept Prototype people……look up the definition!
    Yes, the steering needs to be improved; yes, the suspension should allow it to lean; yes, it needs wipers: yes, it needs to be more roomy; yes, it should have solar panels; yes, it needs a 2nd seat for a passenger, luggage, briefcase, or groceries; yes, all these things and more, but all that development takes time and money (we have day jobs and families), so we need to focus on the key concepts first and prove those out. All of those ideas above are already developed and proven, we don't need to reprove those, we need to prove the new concepts. Just as you should if you invent something.

    Price/COGs:
    We would love to be able to build this thing for $8K and sell it for $10K, Why wouldn't we? If we could build it that low cost, we would be able to sell 3x, 4x, 10x more units. We would probably make more money and have a greater positive impact on the world, but the reality is that this is not possible right now until we can afford to engineer the heck out of this thing, take advantage of emerging technologies, and the overall maturity of the electric vehicle supply chain. Tesla's first car didn't sell for $30K, did it? Also, compare it to the cost of Zero motorcycles with the largest battery pack, but now add a roll cage, other automotive safety features, heat, and the pedaling exercise feature. An initial target of $24,000 is pretty realistic. This is what my 2011 Jetta TDI cost me new and I'm on a budget. If this could replace my commuter car, even if only 3 days a week, and give me an opportunity be healthier, and efficiently use my time, I would gladly invest the $24,000.

    Thanks for your time an interest,

    Ryan

  2. jwstout007
    May 16, 2018
    Reply

    I’ve been following the Ratmobile for a few years now, I’m super excited to see any new material on them! Hopefully one day I’ll be able to get one myself!

  3. Ben Marko
    May 16, 2018
    Reply

    It Is a really cool idea, glad to see it will be available soon. But it is a bit pricey, even at 24k. If they could somehow bring the price down to 10-12k, then it would be a steal.

  4. Scott Dow
    May 20, 2018
    Reply

    That thing is sweet! Can’t wait to see the final project someday. This will be great for people in so many different situations.

  5. Justin Bozeman
    May 21, 2018
    Reply

    Ditch the USELESS pedals and sell this car!!!!

  6. deezynar
    May 22, 2018
    Reply

    It's a neat electric vehicle, but the pedaling is worthless to me.  If they made one without the pedals and sold it a the right price, I might be interested.  They need to realize that they are competing against velomobiles, and you can get them with electric assist too.

  7. KELLI2L2
    May 27, 2018
    Reply

    My issue with electric cars is the expense of charging up. People in cold climates go South for Winter because its very expensive to electrically heat their homes…
    We the people are tired of feeding these greedy beasts of capitalism gone greedy.
    We inherently yearn to be free of encumbrances…
    We want affordable living not to be monetary slaves…

  8. Custom Super Store
    May 28, 2018
    Reply

    I would love to do this to a mini van.

  9. Sol Feinberg
    June 1, 2018
    Reply

    I think he needs to pedal a little more than the 5%.

  10. V Star 1300 Adventures
    June 2, 2018
    Reply

    Hmm, that's one hell of a good design. Very nice.

  11. julie r
    June 6, 2018
    Reply

    The premise seems a bit strange- workout while commuting to avoid losing family time going to the gym… Why not spend family time doing activities like swimming, playing baseball, soccer, volleyball… even riding bicycles! I mean, with 7 people you can come up with a lot of cheap activities… sledding or snowshoeing in winter (also cycling with fat tire bikes)… I guess this will probably be considered a mean comment but really I’m just not getting the whole concept. There’s nothing new here except the exercise aspect. Is there a market for this even at $10k, or is it just a ‘cool concept’ that’s trendy?

  12. True Zero Emissions
    June 11, 2018
    Reply

    Very nice! The body design reminds me a little of one of my favorite electric cars, The Aptera EV. Although the aptera didn’t have pedals, which is a nice addition 🙂

    My girlfriend and I are working on adding solar cells to our M365 EV scooter, which we are interested in adding as a range extender for the EV scooter. We just ordered the Genasun lithium boost charger, which will connect the solar cells to the 36 Volt nominal lithium battery. We plan to use the SunPower Maxeon 3 solar cells, monocrystalline type. Your video has inspired me 🙂 have a great day!

  13. Duggy Dugg
    June 15, 2018
    Reply

    Lights ?

  14. Solexx X
    June 16, 2018
    Reply

    The steering is kind of klunky. It would be better to use a joystick for steering and breaking. Easily adaptable electro-mechanical actuators. Good concept though. There are many of these in the market.

  15. FoxFire
    June 18, 2018
    Reply

    As someone who also lives in Minnesota and bikes to work, I would LOVE to own one of these. That said, once its more of a completed project could you also sell the plans for these for DIY solutions? OR offer more trimmed down versions that dont have variable resistance or something.

  16. Frank Bonilla
    June 20, 2018
    Reply

    NICE! 🙂

  17. S/V Adma
    June 21, 2018
    Reply

    There are non-electic versions of this that do up to 60 kmh. Only adding 5 % must be a really unfit individual or something is wrong with the math. I do think this concept is sound. We need to downsize the electric car to its minimum weight. If we all want a Tesla the grid will not cope. Being able to use it in peddle only mode would extend the range and give you an option over an empty Tesla.

  18. Chobaca
    June 22, 2018
    Reply

    Problem is it'll cost way more then a used car

  19. Brandi Shin
    July 6, 2018
    Reply

    I would like to see this with a solar power boost option

  20. Grant Lingley
    July 17, 2018
    Reply

    Really love this guys initiative…dreams of it and gets on with it…yes a prototype but appears well engineered…good for you!

  21. Bob Americana
    July 19, 2018
    Reply

    i would be interested in a trike that has this body on it. we ride all year long in florida but we are exposed to rain every afternoon , 8 months out of the year. if you could reduce the width to 32 inches outside dimension. make its primary power source pedal power(3-5 speeds), then add a hub motor of sorts but limit its speed to 20mph (license requirements over 20mph) it would legally be considered an e-trike . if you sold what i am describing for a cost of 1000-1200 bucks it would sell like hot cakes here.
    i would buy 2 of them.

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