This is hands-down the craziest road vehicle we’ve seen in a long, long time. Dreamed up by four German design students and built like a cross between a Tron Light Cycle and our childhood tricycle, it accelerates to 18.6 miles per hour, powered by nothing but a pair of Bosch 18-volt screwdrivers.
Granted that’s about as fast as, well, our childhood tricycle lumbering down a hill. But it’s not nothing, especially when you consider that this thing a.) doesn’t have a traditional engine b.) can be made (mostly) out of crap you find in your dad’s toolbox and c.) has you staring straight at the frickin’ road. We reckon any speed is more than enough speed.
The students — Nils Ferber, Sebastian Auray, Ruben Faber, and Ludolf von Oldershausen, of HFBK University of Fine Arts Hamburg — built Excentricity for a screwdriver race competition held by another design school in Germany. (Those wacky Germans and their machines!) As Ferber tells Co. in an email, most other entries just rigged existing bicycles, whereas he and his classmates built their ride from scratch. They even designed their own parts in CAD, then had them CNC milled.
How Excentricity works: Battery-operated screwdrivers “screw” into the frame near the rear wheel, powering the bike chain, which then transmits juice to the gearing. The screwdrivers run in the same direction for max power, and overruning clutch gearwheels are used to transmit torque.
To accelerate and brake, the driver squeezes the handles. To steer, he wiggles his body, effectively tilting and bending the back wheel. “This is very different from holding a steering wheel or handle bar but makes the driving very intense,” Ferber says. “The headlong position and being very close to the ground make you easily forget that you are still not exactly the fastest thing on the road.”