Saturday, September 01, 2007

It’s Electric: the CityEl Trike

Looking like a prop from a campy science fiction movie – where everyone wears pastel-colored jumpsuits, and every computer looks like an 8-track player mated to a Lite Brite – the CityEl city car somehow can’t help but make you smile. At the very least, it will cause most people to grab their camera and start snapping photos. It certainly had that effect on me when I happened upon one on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Compared to many other European cities that face ever increasing traffic and congestion problems, the City of Copenhagen has recorded a measurable decrease in automobiles in the city center since 2003. Copenhagen prides itself for having safe, wide, and very well marked bicycle lanes. It seems to be one of the few cities where bicycle rental locations outnumber Starbucks. Copenhagen also boasts an extensive train, subway, and bus system.
In these green-thinking urban surroundings, it should come as no surprise to stumble upon a car like the CityEl. This three-wheeled, single-seat and electric-powered oddity began life in Denmark. Produced from 1989 to 1995, it was initially labeled the MiniEl. The car I came across happens to be from this original run of cars. Production has since moved to Kitzingen, Germany, where the outwardly identical CityEl is manufactured at a rate of 150-200 per year. In total, over 5,500 MiniEl and CityEl trikes have been sold since 1989.
Read full story here.

No comments: