Have you ever felt a bit envious when a sports car zooms past you while you’re on your bicycle? Do you find yourself thinking that bikes just can’t compete with cars—they’re not big enough or fast enough, and you end up soaked if it rains?
No worries! A Czech manufacturer has designed a unique shell for an electric bike, giving it the appearance of a submarine. Meet the Katanga VM45 electric bike.
Though it looks like a car, it’s, in fact, an electric bike. The body is made of fiberglass, carbon fiber, and epoxy resin, and its doors don’t swing open—they lift up automatically, resembling the gull-wing doors of luxury cars.
Inside, you’ll find a single-seat compartment with a straightforward seat design. The vehicle is currently undergoing testing, so the final version might differ. There are handles on both sides of the seat, with the dashboard on the left displaying functions like speed, light controls, and more.
Similar to cars, the bike’s interior components include a horn, two rearview mirrors, a complete lighting system, brake lights, and reverse lights. Once you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll be in a reclined position, which offers more comfort than regular biking.
If you lower the doors, there’s a sunroof above for an open-air experience. For those who prefer social distancing, this fully enclosed electric bike provides an ideal personal space.
Driving it is quite exhilarating, making you feel like a small missile on the road.
Due to its extended front section, riders of various heights can comfortably fit. If you need to carry luggage, there’s a designated space at the back for smaller items. For larger items, you can open the front hood, providing 350 liters of space. The bike can carry a maximum weight of 200 kilograms.
Katanga’s drive system is the Valeo Effigear from France, equipped with the Cyclee 750 W mid-drive motor, delivering a peak power of 1500 W and a torque of 130 Nm. It comes with a 1.24 kWh battery. Tests have shown a range of up to 255 kilometers in economy mode.
Similar to Pinion’s MGU, Cyclee combines the motor with a gearbox, offering seven gears and a reverse gear, allowing manual or automatic shifting. Katanga mentioned that some final improvements are needed for the drive system before the final version.
The bike offers good driving comfort with a full suspension chassis. The front suspension travel is 45 millimeters, while the rear has 60 millimeters to absorb bumps on the road.
The braking system is responsive, with a 90-millimeter drum brake in the front and a 160-millimeter disc brake in the rear.
The company expects to receive approval from the European Union for the vehicle within a year. The European market will have a version with a 250 W motor, limited to a speed of 25 kilometers per hour. The estimated price is around 13,000 euros.