The eROCKIT, from German entrepreneur Stefan Gulas, continues to make waves in the green world for its ingenious eco-design. The two-wheeled electric vehicle combines common bicycle handling (peddling for acceleration) with the power of a motorcycle, allowing cyclists to cover longer distances at much faster speeds with zero emissions. We caught up with Stefan Gulas to ask a few questions about his eROCKIT design.
When you started this project, did you set out to make an eco vehicle?
The direction I am coming from is definitely to build something eco. I would not have built something, be it as sexy as it may be, if it was not environmental friendly and CO2 neutral. To me that would have been morally unacceptable and also business wise very shortsighted. And remember I came up with the idea in 2002-2004 when there was no positive talk about electric vehicles whatsoever.
But the real barrier to eco vehicles is their sex appeal and attractiveness, not accessibility. I wanted to create something that people desperately want. Think of it as a lure to drive people into a more ecological way of living with the vehicle as the most visible part. That is where I put all my understanding and imagination into developing the eROCKIT.
Where did the idea for the design originate?
Well, there were electric bicycles coming to the market with decent speed and one professor even developed a race bike with a 1.1kW electric motor that was capable of attaining a 60mph (96kph) top speed. When I read about it, the driving idea come immediately to my mind - a bicycle that could out-accelerate cars!
How does the eROCKIT differ from an electric motorcycle?
The other electric motorcycles or wheel-electric vehicles have a pretty straightforward idea behind them - take what is already out there and add an electric motor.
Nobody thought about whether the existing concepts are actually adequate for the character and requirements of an electric drive train. We are the only ones who asked that question and came up with a concept that is more appealing as a vehicle than anything out there (once someone has driven the eROCKIT this becomes clear).
The main conceptual change is that we have dared to shake up the understanding that on a motorized vehicle the driver is only a passive passenger who does a little bit to control the vehicle. With the eROCKIT we have humanized motorized vehicles by requiring the driver to actively participate in the propulsion (pedaling) to get the vehicle going. If the driver doesn’t pedal then the eROCKIT will not move.
It sounds a bit crazy but once you get over this aspect the concept becomes very convincing and reasonable (think of exercise, stress relief, inherent attractiveness of something ecological).
Is there any other vehicle like the eROCKIT on the market?
Nope. Nobody has ever done anything close to it or is building anything like it.
What stage are you currently at in production?
We are building our first production vehicles in small quantities.
When can people expect to see the eROCKIT mass-produced?
This is a question of getting together with the right partners to scale up the production and sales of the eROCKIT. I do not have a qualified answer to this question at the moment other than mass production would be very much in our interest to give as many people as possible a vehicle they love to ride and that is eco friendly at the same time.
Anything you would like to add?
Think of eROCKIT and human hybrid as a revolution in the motorized vehicle world. Once you have tasted it, you won't want to go back to standard vehicles anymore (forget the Ducatis and Ferraris - they are boring and passive). Driving the eROCKIT on a daily basis transforms your life for the better. It is more pleasant, more relaxing and fun to ride than anything else in the city and without harming the environment. What else could you want?