Stand-up Electric Tricycle Aimed at Elderly

May 1, 2014
Takashi Takada, Nikkei Automotive Technology
Masayuki Katayama, president of Katayama Kogyo, standing on the tricycle
Masayuki Katayama, president of Katayama Kogyo, standing on the tricycle
[Click to enlarge image]

A Japan-based auto parts maker announced April 30, 2014, that it has developed an electric-powered stand-up tricycle.

The company, Katayama Kogyo Co Ltd (Ibara City, Okayama Prefecture), will start to accept orders for the tricycle in July 2014 at showrooms in Tokyo and via a sales agency and release it in October 2014 at a price of about ¥290,000 (approx US$2,836).

Katayama Kogyo defines the tricycle, "Walking Bicycle," as a new type of vehicle different from automobiles, motorbikes and existing electric-powered bicycles. When the user steps on the tricycle's pedals alternately, it moves forward while being assisted by its electric assist system. Because the tricycle has been certified as an "ordinary bicycle" of the Road Traffic Law by Japan's National Police Agency, it is possible to drive the vehicle on public roads.

The electric assist system consists of a brushless motor for assistance (DC24V) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery whose rated voltage and capacity are 25.2V and 2.5Ah, respectively. The battery can be fully charged in about two hours by using household power outlet (100V). The vehicle can travel about 20km (on a flat road) per charge.

The tricycle measures 1,200 (L) x 595 (W) x 1,080-1,230mm (the height of its handlebar). Its wheel base is 892mm, and its weight is 36.3kg. It is targeted at various age groups, but Katayama Kogyo will first focus on elderly people. The company aims to achieve sales of 100,000 units per year in three years.