It's Always Leg Day in This Pedal-powered Audi A4 Avant

its always leg day in this pedal powered audi a4 avant

It’s an idea that seems stupid and brilliant all at once, and a Dutch firm wants it to find a home in Europe’s passenger cars.

Europeans, often portrayed in films as sexy people with a penchant for rich foods and impeccably fashionable clothing, aren’t immune from the sedentary lifestyles and obesity afflicting their Western compatriots. Commutes eat up a lot of time, and not everyone bikes or takes a train to work — even in insufferably progressive Amsterdam.

Following a request from an inventor looking to free up more exercise time during the day, Dutch engineering firm BPO set about converting an Audi A4 wagon to run on pedal power. The car’s turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder still does the work, but it won’t work if the driver doesn’t break a sweat.

A profile in Wards Auto describes how inventor Nasser Al Shawaf compelled the firm to turn an Audi AV Avant into the FitCar PPV concept. BPO’s modifications aren’t brand-specific — the company wants anyone who feels trapped by a lengthy commute to have the ability to convert their own car to pedal power. You’ll just need an automatic transmission. Currently, BPO is waiting on European approval.

The setup strips out both pedals, relocating the brake to a steering column-mounted arm (like those used by people with mobility issues). In place of the accelerator is a bicycle-type mechanism that occupies the footwell. Pedalling the thing spins a flywheel, generating an electronic pulse to engage the accelerator. Pedal faster, and the car goes faster.

“I work in many cities around the world where a 60-minute-plus car commute each way, each day is not uncommon,” Al Shawaf said. “This is an unhealthy way to waste more than two hours every day. So I came up with the idea of the FitCar, which does exactly the same as any conventional car getting us safely and comfortably from A to B. However, in the FitCar you can exercise while you drive.”

The company claims there are three drive modes to accommodate low-speed traffic situations, high speed cruising, and sitting at rest (the driver/pedaller can disconnect at stoplights and in traffic jams to keep the workout going). Pedal resistance is also adjustable.

At first blush, it seems gimmicky and potentially dangerous. How is a driver supposed to respond instantly at times when an immediate foot-to-the-floor burst of speed is required? That’s unknown. Certainly, a video posted to YouTube by FitCar PPV shows a pretty leisurely cruise around a racetrack. The test car also contains a very flat bottomed racing wheel with no airbag to accommodate the driver’s busy legs.

Oscar Brocades Zaalberg, managing director of BPO, hopes that the EU gives its system the thumbs-up. He then hopes OEMs take note and offer the system as an option. It’s safe to say the individual modification route is a safer bet.

[Image: FitCar PPV/ YouTube]

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  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Oct 06, 2018

    Nice, but I'm waiting for the fire truck like I had when I was 6.

  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Oct 07, 2018

    Okay, so I had a particularly exhausting day at work. Now I have to pedal home, great! Because I can't skip the gym if I'm too tired or in pain for some reason (fell and bruised my legs, dropped something on my foot, whatever). And, lest we forget, nobody wants a manual transmission anymore because heavy traffic makes it too much work. So, let's replace that with a freaking pedal system. That's way better.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?