Podbike Promises the Future of Urban Mobility but Has a Queue Longer Than a G-Wagon

Podbike 15 photos
Photo: Podbike / Elpedal AS
PodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbikePodbike (German Customer)
I'll be honest; people don't like it when you mess with their web of whatever they have in mind, and in the past when I've exposed manufacturers or put them in a certain light, I've actually gotten heat from them. Well, let's do it all over again!
This time around, we shed a bit of light on an urban mobility project that was supposed to be up and running two years ago; a recent Facebook post shows the first vehicle as being delivered this year. So, what's going on with the rather wonderful machine we see in the image gallery?

It's called the Podbike, or Frikar E-Bike, and it's an urban mobility vehicle designed to take the timeless action of cycling and give it a bit of an automotive allure, not to mention four wheels and a fully enclosed interior suitable for one occupant.

Now, the Podbike has been in the news before, mainly back in 2022, when we covered its "delivery" stage. At that time, over 3,400 pre-orders were declared on the manufacturer's website, and another declaration was made that deliveries would begin later that year. As a side note, this project was already in the works as early as 2019.

Photo: Podbike / Elpedal AS
Well, this year, 2024, I decided to check back in on the manufacturer's website, and to my surprise, I found that this product is still in its pre-order stages. However, there are now over 4,600 reservations for this thing. But things get weird once we visit Podbike's Facebook page.

According to this social media platform, Podbike has been delivered to a few customers throughout Europe over the past year, mainly in Scandinavia and Germany. There are also posts about this machine being tested in countless events throughout its history and even receiving award after award for its abilities.

So, what's going on? Why aren't people getting their Podbikes? Well, as I researched this project, I found that Podbike declared that it would be adopting a new business model, favoring small-batch production over pumping out all the customers' products all at once.

But this means one of the longest waiting lists possible. Heck, customers could be in queues for their Podbikes for years. That's G-Wagon status! Still, things seem to be moving along. A post from this year (at the time of writing) in February showcases a shipment of these babies - at least 12 units - heading out to Germany, but it wasn't until March that the first customer picked up his Podbike, and that's the one and only post available from Bavarian clients.

Photo: Podbike / Elpedal AS
Now, I'm no detective, but that one photo comes across as really sketchy. I've added images to the gallery and invite you to take a closer look at the general ensemble. One key element of the story is that the Podbike is priced starting at €9,500 ($10,200 at current exchange rates) and requires €300 to be reserved.

So, things aren't exactly dead, and the project isn't coming across as a rug-pull with a few test vehicles scattered throughout Norway and Germany attending meeting after meeting, but I honestly feel we need to consider the snail's pace of things in this project appeals to your so-called 'green' soul.

With some of my skepticism out of the way, let's also take a closer look at why this concept - I feel we can still call it that - is scooping up award after award. All this starts with the Podbike's general function and design, that of enclosing the rider in an "aerodynamic" shell; I'm not sure how aerodynamic you need to be at a top speed of just 25 kph (15.5 mph), but hey, that's just me. The real takeaway is that you can now ride a bike through rain, snow, and shine without ever getting wet or catching a cold. Oh, and the fact that it can become a cabriolet if it's a sunny day.

Photo: Podbike / Elpedal AS
Part two of the story has to do with the Podbike's electric capabilities. The fact that it relies on nothing more than a battery pack and 250 W motor to function puts it in line with the whole green movement going on in the past few years.

As for a few other tricks we're in store for, things like an optional child seat, up to 160 liters (42 gals) of storage space, and on a full charge, up to 60 km of range is possible. Oh, and while the Podbike's 250 W motor will only assist you up to 25 kph, downhill, the manufacturer states that 60 kph (37 mph) is possible, but that's true for just about anything with wheels and some notion of aerodynamics. As the manufacturer's website says, "Still have doubts?"

Personally, I do; until posts of people receiving more than one Podbike per country start popping up and testimonials from actual users surface, I'll be keeping a close eye on this project.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Editor's note: Images in the gallery showcase an array of Podbike designs.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories