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Reimagine local transportation by expanding bike paths and introducing ebikes, then transitioning to autonomous climate-controlled LEV pods.



Our current infrastructure is unsustainable and most transportation planning is car-centric and only adds more lanes and more highways.  The EPA average car weight is 4,000 pounds to move an average 176 pound person back and forth to work or to run errands.  This drives up infrastructure costs and energy usage.

Electric bikes are booming worldwide, getting much cheaper and more reliable.  Many cities and towns in the U.S. are expanding bike paths and seeing greater participation for recreation and commuting.  An association of bike co ops could teach local people how to build ebikes from simple kits so that open-source designs can be shared.  This can expand into building open-source battery packs, electronics and bike frames.  Then velomobiles and recumbent trikes can be introduced while continuing bike path expansion, focused on congested areas, major employers and disadvantaged communities and their commutes (ebikes are low-cost transportation with no license required, no registration, no insurance, and negligible fuel and maintenance costs).

It is not a technical challenge to build fully-enclosed, climate-controlled, seamlessly web-connected autonomous "pods" (LEV's) but they are not conducive to mixed traffic with trucks and SUVs.  A long term plan to expand bike paths will allow more affordable infrastructure growth with new "highways" that are restricted to lower weight and lower speed vehicles and designed around local commute patterns.  If the infrastructure can be planned around LEV's it will stimulate their development.

I provided a photo gallery at the bottom here under "references" so that readers can get an idea of what is out there and what designers are working on.  Click on the link and then on the photo gallery for bigger pictures.  The beauty of electric drives is that they are very modular, scalable and flexible in how they are used. Motors can be placed anywhere including in the wheels, and batteries can be spread around for optimum center of mass.

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?

Not sure

What actions do you propose?

- create a network of existing bike co ops and supporting municipalities.

- get funding to supply ebike kits and share curriculum to build and maintain ebikes.  Eventually sales will support further growth, and bike path expansion will result in long-term benefits of reduced pollution and congestion, and improved health and economy while creating a much more sustainable transportation system with improved quality of life.

- find volunteers to use them for commuting, possibly zero cost leasing for pilot programs.

- repeat with subsequently more sophisticated and practical designs.

- there are low-cost open-source design, prototyping and manufacturing tools available that can empower small shops to become local designers and manufacturers in a global open source LEV community.  These tools can be introduced to boost education, productivity and local economies.  By developing a catalog of baseline vehicles, progress can be accelerated with a cooperative network of synergetic stakeholders.

Who will take these actions?

I have been traveling the U.S. and there is already a lot of interest but little funding.  I can start building the network of interested parties and share simple ebike designs.

I built my first ebike in 2006 and can start the process.  I can select readily available common bikes in different categories like cargo bikes, commuter, mountain bikes and recumbent trikes.  There are plenty of proven, affordable conversion kits for both mid-drive and hub-drive systems.  Step one would be to document the source of parts and the assembly process.  Then the bike can be tested to verify speed, range, cost and weight.  Each design will be completely documented on a website (I have space). In short time, a complete menu of vehicles will be available for anybody to copy.  Since these are open source designs, people can build upon them and share upgrades, troubleshooting and more.  Battery pack assembly would be pulled in as an open source item, then controllers, chargers and bike frames.  There are even open source Battery Management Systems (BMS) based on an Arduino board.  This can be an incredible opportunity for education and U.S. production.  Once established, this can improve local economies by empowering small local ebike assemblers and manufacturers with a huge support global network (good customer support has been the shortcoming of the industry to date) and this new local transportation industry will become self-sustaining with local shops building and selling open-source designs that are more maintainable and upgradeable than existing ebikes.

I can start building the network of interested parties and share simple ebike designs.  However, getting serious interest from municipalities requires more than a guy in a garage (me).  Either a single city/town can be selected for a concentrated pilot program or a significant network needs to be created.  Either way, it is an effort beyond a single concerned citizen.  This project is intended to gather support with either funding or a team.

Where will these actions be taken?

I have found a number of prime candidates for pilot programs.  These are cities/towns that already have good bike path systems and bike co ops.  Since I have found a dozen or so already I can assume that there are hundreds of communities in the U.S. alone that are ready and would be receptive.

In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.

No country selected

Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

The world is electrifying our transportations systems.  However, it is much more than replacing a gas engine with an electric motor.  The average electric car gets about 300-400 watt hours per mile (wh/mi).  Ebikes can easily get less than 30-40 wh/mi and  LEV's can be 50 - 100 wh/mi while greatly reducing our infrastructure costs and space.

The electrification can be greatly accelerated by combining the disruptive technology of electric drive systems with the disruptive process of distributed open-source manufacturing.  This plan is simply a start of this concept.


What are other key benefits?


What are the proposal’s projected costs?


About the author(s)

Gary Krysztopik, Electrical Engineer, working on electric vehicles in the U.S. since 2006.

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