Johanson3 Electric Trike: Reinventing Urban Mobility
By Bill Moore
EV World talks with the inventor of the Johanson3 electric trike, Johan Neerman. The son of Philippe Neerman, who was instrumental in the design of many of Europe's transit rail systems, Johan explains the technology behind his stand-up scooter.
What do you do for an encore after your family spent more than a decade helping influence the design of some of Europe's best transit rail systems?
You design a stand-up, electric trike capable of carrying a small family or several hundred pounds of cargo, while also being able to fit through a 30-inch doorway, even fold flat.
That's what Johan Neerman has invented, calling it the Johanson3. Developed in five different models, each with a specific set of capabilities in mind, from being a child's "toy" to a small commercial cargo carrier, Neerman's goal is to provide an affordable, highly-versatile urban mobility platform that provides the vital first and last mile link.
Borrowing from his training in systems engineering and ergonomics - he also studied chaos theory - he began in 2011 to develop a multi-use vehicle, one more in tune with the needs of life in a 21st century urban environment. It would be a vehicle that catered more to pedestrians than cyclists or motorists, hence its stand-up driving position. Even a Geisha can make use of it, as the above illustration demonstrates.
The stand-up design enables the Johanson3 to overcome one of the conventional trike design's biggest drawbacks: cornering. Using a patented combination of springs and rider weigh shifts, the vehicle is said to be relatively stable in the turn, something most trikes can't do without complex leaning systems.
Neerman's various models will offer different electric drive systems, from the number of wheel hub motors to the capacity and chemistry of the battery pack. Because there are no pedals, the trike is considered a motorcycle in the United States. Neerman explains that he's hired engineers to oversee the homologation of the vehicle for conformance to US motor vehicle safety standards. He is also hoping to partner with U.S. firms to manufacture the frame in this country. One of his concerns is the flood of inexpensive, Chinese-made eBikes into the European market. He says he's received hundreds of requests from Chinese firms for samples of his design, which he says he will not relinquish control over, especially the patents on the stand-up platform design.
The pricing on the various models puts them in line with some higher-end, US-distributed electric bicycles.
EV World's Skype video interview is just under 40-minutes and divided into three segments, embedded below. Be sure to listen to all three.
VIDEO PART 1
VIDEO PART 2
VIDEO PART 3
Originally published: 24 Feb 2015
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