Ian Pegram's Electric FF

This was Ian Pegram's last project, still far from finished when he met his untimely end due to the coronavirus in March 2021. Peter Rosenberg was working on it with him and describes it as: "an electric two-wheeler, aimed at sub-registration users, (basically bicycle-level technology but not pedal powered), and his aim was to influence the direction of future legislation in light of developing technology." He continues:
"Ian is pictured testing a prototype version of his electric bicycle. It didn’t fit into any current category with the existing transport regulations, but Ian could see how the landscape was changing. He was in touch with an advisor for the government consultation on future electric road vehicle legislation. His point to get across, was not to place an outright ban on non-pedal assist vehicles (such as scooters) but to allow their use, provided they were safer than existing bicycles, not less safe. Thus he envisaged a new category of vehicle, sub-registration but with age limits and permanent electrical equipment (lights and indicators), and suitable braking performance.
Ian relished the thought of being able to influence future legislation, because making money was never his goal, but reducing harm to riders and increasing ownership of FFs was."

I hope Peter and his colleagues will continue to work on the project. There are some very interesting parallels with Tig Cross's pedal-assisted Electrom FF in Canada. See here: http://bikeweb.com/image/tid/207

This photo is taken from a video of Ian riding the machine, courtesy of Peter Rosenberg. PNB

Ian Pegram's Electric FF

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Obnviously a good development - but...

Ian was clearly on the right track in demonstrating the applicabilty of electric power to very light PTWs. The limited speed and range requirements eliminate the problems of battery packaging faced by full spectrum E-PTWs and applying it to the FF layout as shown in this picture makes even more sense, offring a real possibility of transforming urban transport. Of course the idea could be improved even further, shortening the wheelbase, using composites for most of the structure and so on - but that's just engineering. The real challenge would be political, on two fronts;-

First to convince politicians with no interest in PTWs (not even mentioned in the current census) and possessed of ignorance beyond even journalism. Basically, why would they give a shit about efficient personal transport? Not many votes in filling the cities with lightweight E-FFs zipping past people stuck in cars...

Secondly you have to ask who loses if this sort of thing takes off? Easy. Piaggio. The people who gave us electric bicycles that have to be pedalled. You'd have to out-lobby them, possibly easier in England after Brexit. On the other hand finding manufacturing finance might be more difficult.

I think it can be argued that these challanges, overcoming political ignorance and inertia while getting manufacturers to do the right thing, are the real obstacles to 'mainstreaming' FFs (and many other things). They may seem insuperable to people engaged purely as engineers. But that didn't stop people trying in the past and hopefully it won't stop people continueing to try now and in the future - assuming there is one.

Stand-up e-scooters are a game-changer

Royce, you've strangely omitted to mention stand-up e-scooters. The government has been forced to take notice of them because, 1/ despite being totally illegal to use anywhere in public there are already hundreds of thousands of people using them wherever they please all over the UK and 2/ the Covid-19 pandemic has forced politicians and civil servants to give serious consideration to any alternatives to crowded public transport. I'm sure e-scoots wouldn't have got a serious look-in without the pandemic but there are already more than 20 trial schemes all over the country, including one in Bristol! Obviously, you have to have some form of 'throttle' on an e-scoot because they don't have any pedals, so the EU ban on throttles for pedelecs immediately seems a bit ridiculous. And once it's accepted that you can have an electric device capable of 15mph that doesn't have to have pedals but doesn't have to have a licence, insurance, helmet etc, then a recumbent FF like Ian's looks a damn sight safer than a stand-up electric scooter on tiny wheels with only one brake! Personally, I think it would be far more sensible to make the assisted speed limit 20mph rather than 15mph now we're out of the EU.
I should add that at present, for the purposes of the e-scooter trials, you do have to have a driving licence to hire one of the e-scoots, and there is basic insurance.
Coming to London soon, probably: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/london-host-uk-trial-escooters-transport-for-london-b72225.html
26 trial areas already operating, including Bristol & Bath: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-scooter-trials-guidance-for-users#trial-areas


Somehere I have the letter from the Dept. of Transport explaining why they can't support PTWs as a transport solution because of the very poor safety performance. Older readers may remember the whole furore around PTW safety in the seventies. This was part of my motivation for not only my Two Wheel Trainer control simulator but also FFs themselves.

Now the same D.o.T is legalising stand up scooters, a PTW entirely lacking safety features, or much else. I expect the casualty figures to be so alarming by the autumn that even the lethal clowns who imagine they're running the country* will have to be Seen to be Doing Something. Or, perhaps they are so dangerous that people take extreme care in using them, proving the case for "Risk compensation". As a real-time witness of these scooters in Bristol I haven't seen any evidence of this.

Please don't mistake me for someone who gives a shit about any of this nonsense. It's not just E-scooters, have you seen Triumphs E-motorised bicycle? Literally yesterdays concept tomorrow. "Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad" and they sure did a job on this lot!

I'd love to buy an E-FF that matches Fj's performance envelope and will happily support any production efforts across the entire FF perforamance spectrum. But we don't do 'sensible', Musk will probably get to Mars first.

*No-one is running the country, it isn't being run. It's just a huge slow-motion car crash.

Coventry e-scoot trial stopped after 5 days....

Interesting experience in Coventry last September. This is from Coventry Live, the online version of the Coventry Telegraph, 22nd November, 2020. The e-scoots are perfectly safe though, it says so here, so it must be true!

"Coventry’s e-scooter trials are close to returning and will be set around Warwick University.
A 12-month trial of e-scooters launched in the city centre in September but was paused after just five days due to people riding them on pavements and taking them outside of the trial zone.
Operator Voi said the e-scooters – which can travel up to 15.5mph – were “safe, convenient and environmentally friendly”, but problems arose due to “a few anti-social people”. Work has since taken place with Coventry City Council to get the trials back on track. No date has been given as to when they could return but it has been confirmed that they will centre around the University of Warwick campus. An initial private trial invite to all 54 Coventry councillors was due to take place next week but has been postponed due to concerns over safety during the national coronavirus lockdown."

More here, plus photo of the 'safe' VOI e-scoots:

E-scooter safety

Ah, the power of marketing bullshit! There'll always be 'anti-social' people about, and even more when lockdown ends and traffic resumes. In any case, reality will intrude at some level.

My concern with E-scoots is that if I run over one with FJ it may damage FJ. My favourite experience so far is following one beinbg ridden one handed by a texting rider who used both sides of the road containing several big wobbles.

Let it all come down.