Holy &%$#, what is this thing?
It’s called a Raht Racer, or just Raht. Raht is an acronym for Recharging Anthro-Hybrid Transport.
Is it a bike?
It has pedals like a bike and the pedals make you go, but they are connected to a generator-accelerator system, not the wheels. Your physical work goes into making electricity and forward motion indirectly by contributing to the battery and hence, the motor. When you pedal, the system multiplies, or boosts your pedal effort to automobile/motorcycle speeds.
Why will it make me feel like Superman?
Because when you pedal it, you go as fast as a car.
Do you have to pedal really hard?
No. You pedal as you would an ordinary bicycle; the system boosts your input/effort. You never have to pedal the Raht if you don’t want to – it will still function as an electric vehicle. It has a throttle always available on the steering wheel.
Is it a motorcycle?
It is regulated by the government as a motorcycle, but in most states you won’t need a motorcycle license to drive it; just motorcycle plates. You can think of it as a covered, 2-seat, 3-wheel electric motorcycle with a pedal generator.
Is it a car?
The Raht is a motorcycle with the safety features of a car. Some people are referring to this kind of new class of vehicle as a “Cabin Cycle”, or “Auto Cycle”.
Is it electric?
Yes, the first prototype has a 4.5 kWh lithium ion battery pack and electric motor. The production model will have a 11kWh battery.
Is it fast?
Yes, very fast. It’s an electric vehicle, so acceleration is quick with top speed up to 90 mph.
Do you recharge the battery when you pedal?
If you are moving, the motor will eat up any power you make and you will extend your range. If you are stationary and pedal, you will charge the battery.
How much power can I contribute to the car when I pedal?
This is a highly variable number and we would be dishonest if we made big claims. If you are driving on a flat, even surface at 30 mph, with a tailwind, working pretty hard you might contribute 10%, but if you are in a headwind, going 75, uphill, your contribution will be much less.
Where’s the motor?
In the prototype, It’s in the rear wheel, it’s a hub motor, 19hp. The production model may have the motor mid-mounted with a belt drive.
How much does it weigh?
About 530 pounds.
So, you can just drive it without any pedaling?
Yes, remember the pedals are not connected to the drivetrain (wheels), so it will go whether you pedal or not. Pedaling extends the range of the car.
What happens when you do pedal?
There are 2 modes to choose from when you drive the Raht: EV Mode and Cyclecar Mode. In EV Mode, you accelerate and decelerate the Raht with a throttle, like when you press the gas pedal in a car, or twist a motorcycle hand throttle. The pedals are not driving the car. If you want to pedal and get a workout, you can run an exercise profile program, much like an electronic exercise bike at a health club. This is why the Raht is known as the “drivable exercise machine”. The program runs and you pedal as you drive. All of your energy is captured by the generator system, none of it goes to waste. Workout profiles are managed by an on-board computer, which also has GPS and all of your workout data is reported to you in real time.
In Cyclecar Mode, the pedals respond to pedal input from your legs just like a conventional bike, only multiplied many, many times. Remember, the pedals are not connected to the wheels. The computer in the Raht calculates your pedal input, multiplies it and sends the information to the motor controller. It’s a” fly by wire” system. The amount of boost is completely variable like the volume knob on your stereo. In Cyclecar mode, you can tell the system to follow the actual terrain and the pedal resistance will vary according to the geography of where you are actually driving, or you can set it to a pre-programmed profile and again, run it like a machine at the gym.
Is it a clean, efficient vehicle?
The pedal generator on the Raht is a bit like pouring a little gas into your car as you drive it. That, plus because the Raht Racer is compact, 3-wheel and electric may make it the most efficient highway vehicle ever made.
It’s not safe though, is it?
Yes, it is. The Raht has a reinforced fiberglass body, and roll cage frame. Plus, it has safety features such as seat belts, air bag, impact absorption material, and car grade lighting, none of which you would find on any bicycle. There are about 1,000 deaths and ½ million serious injuries from bike accidents in the US every year, according to NHTSA. Biking on bike trails is great, but on a busy street it is dangerous.
Target MSRP is between $20 & $24,000.