List of papers

This page presents the abstracts of the papers presented at the 6th European Seminar on Velomobile Design (Copenhagen 2009). See also the program and the original call for papers to see what this is all about.


Ingo Kollibay, Germany — Four-Wheeled Velomobiles

Today there is a certain standard in velomobiles: They are three wheeled, aerodynamically shaped like a drop and mostly have a fairing which is self-supporting. This makes them fast and simple.

The typical disadvantages of this type are limited luggage space, limited braking ability, poor stability against overturning in curves, poor traction in winter conditions and there is always the question where to store it safely.

The concept of the four-wheeled velomobile allows for optimizing every one of these disadvantages with the exception that it is not optimized considering aerodynamics and top speed. Its wider range of abilities makes it more practical for everyday’s mobility needs. So there is the chance to reach a much wider range of users, compared to the typical velomobile owner of today.

Antal Joó / Gabor Joó, Hungary — Possibility and Situation of Velomobile Riding in Hungary

In this presentation, you will find several critical remarks on the situation in Hungary. I would like to underline that the criticism is for the sake of cycling and not against something or some people. I am optimistic that cycling and velomobile riding will some day be so considerable in the transportation of Hungary as is now the case in Denmark, Netherlands or Germany. The changes in the world will force us to do so if our discretion and wisdom should prove to be insufficient.

Jürgen Eick, Germany — Twenty Years of Experience with the Velomobile Leitra

  1. In 1988 I ordered my first Velomobile. Have my expectations been fulfilled?
  2. Questions arising from people who have not yet had any experience with a Velomobile and my answers hereto.
  3. Is the Velomobile simply fun for sports and leisure activities or is it a mean of transportation?

Simon Bailey, England — CabrioVelo™ and WeatherVelo™ – velomobiles for practical daily use

This paper describes two “sister” velomobiles, which have been designed around a common concept: practical personal transport for short to medium length journeys.

The CabrioVelo is an electrically assisted velomobile with folding roof, developed over many years by Christian Wagner ( and styled by Jürgen Mayerle (

The WeatherVelo is based on the CabrioVelo, but specified by the author for the London market, featuring a rigid roof. This velomobile offers a solution to the pollution and traffic congestion caused by cars in towns and cities. The health benefits of cycling are retained; but with the advantages of greater road presence, weather protection, inherent stability and an integrated luggage box.

Various opportunities and challenges of velomobile use in London are also illustrated.

Suhas Malghan, USA — Design and Development of the Turanga Velomobile

Velomobiles have not entered the mainstream of transportation in the US despite the fact that a velomobile would have great utility to a growing segment of society. This paper describes the design and prototype build process thus far to bring a velomobile designed for the American market and consumer. Its design features include a bamboo/balsa laminate structure surrounded by a lightweight fabric and Coroplast body as well as tilting capability, full suspension, nearly stepless gearing and front wheel drive. The prototype is mid-way through the build process as the chassis has been constructed with the body yet to come. Design, manufacturing and marketing issues pertinent to the US market are also discussed.

Andreas Fuchs, Switzerland — Principles of Human-Electric Hybrid Drives for HPVs

This paper discusses the basic configurations of drive systems for human electric hybrid vehicles.

The e-bikes on the market today are parallel hybrids (PHEB, parallel hybrid electric bicycle). In parallel hybrids it is attempted to mechanically add the highly variable torque of a pedalling human with a constant torque of an electric motor. Some vehicles have the motor near the bottom bracket, while others use motors near or in the front or rear wheel. A special case of a parallel hybrid is Michael Kutters drive system where electric and human power are added using a planetary gearset in the rear wheel hub.

In a series hybrid human electric hybrid (SHEB, series hybrid electrical bicycle) human power is converted into electric power using an electric generator driven by the pedals. Mechanical drive power to move the series hybrid vehicle is produced by a motor driving the wheel just as in the case with the parallel hybrids having either a front wheel or rear wheel (hub) motor.

The different kinds of hybrid drives and their disadvantages and benefits with respect to use in recumbents and velomobiles as well as in upright cycles are discussed.

John Tetz, USA — Light and Quiet Velomobiles with Foam Shell

The question I often get is why Zote Foam? My vehicle design is based on the power that average people can put out – not what the enthusiasts can deliver. I know the market isn’t there just yet for average people so I applaud the efforts and interests of the enthusiasts for their support of a relative new industry that is leading us into a much more ecological local alternate transportation system.

Harald Winkler, Germany — 12 kg velomobile made by Meufel-technology

PE-Foam, carbon fibre and sophisticated design make it possible to build a fully enclosed three-wheeled vehicle weighing less than 12 kg.

Heike Bunte, Germany — Velomobiles and their Diversification: An Approach towards Greater Acceptance in Societies?

The diversification of products in our societies is like a Janus face. On the one hand it seems that pluralisation brings ‘bright colours’ and ‘great choices’ for our lives, and on the other hand it seems that all these ‘things’ create more complexity than we are able to handle. Sometimes diversity of products seems rather a hurdle than a relief. In addition, we live in the age of extremes, post-modernity or liquid modernity. A unique sign of this age is social and technical acceleration, in which individuals must design their own life rather than count on stable social structures and social governmental policies. Furthermore, the leading key word in our societies is individualisation, which requires a permanent new concept and classification of the “self”. With regard to individualisation, the aspect of diversification functions as a means to an end. Also, with diversification the growing aspect of complexity comes into societies which the individual has to manage.

Carl Georg Rasmussen, Denmark — Velomobile aerodynamics – side wind effect and operation limits

The wind and the speed of a velomobile cause aerodynamic forces on the fairing, which can be dangerous under extreme conditions. In order to ride in a safe way, it is important to know the operation limits.

The wind can also be helpful. The sail effect adds to the propulsion even in side wind, where there is a considerable head wind component.

Wind tunnel measurements on different types of fairings give more insight in this phenomena.

In velomobile design it is often necessary to make trade offs of ideal aerodynamics to obtain a practical function. E.g. some fairings use a partly open bottom in order to make better conditions for the cyclist to enter and to get out of the vehicle. How much does it mean to the aerodynamical drag?

This, and other design detailles were studied by measuring the drag on a Leitra velomobile in down hill experiments.

Sylvain Lemoine, France — Le Vélomobile accessible à tous

Sylvain Lemoine, Diplômé des Arts et métiers en 2001; spécialisé dans les énergies renouvelables en 2002, c’est en menant une recherche sur le mode vie durable que le vélomobil m’est apparu comme un véhicule optimum pour le transport individuel. Dans le cae l’association 2 bien fêteur nous développons le vélomobile pour tous.

Paulus den Boer, Netherlands — Velomobiles in traffic

Cyclist experience problems enough around their safety in traffic. So one can expect that exceptional cyclists using velomobiles have even more problems.

Experienced velomobilist Paulus den Boer brings you through a number of practical aspects of traffic safety when riding velomobiles. With clear examples it becomes clear that there is more to know about your own safety than meets the eye!

At the end of the presentation you may have some fresh ideas how you too can take care of your own safety even more than before.