Pedal-powered Porsche

This ultra-lightweight pedal powered Porsche is a fancier version of the car featured in one of my all-time favorite videos: a pedal powered car that got pulled over by a perplexed policeman:


  1. Typical, if cars can flatten you and your pedal-powered vehicle (bike) into a grease spot then it’s considered to be safe; if you’re on even terms then it’s a “safety hazard”.

    Nice take on Fred Flintstone’s car though.

  2. This seems like a joke to me. The way the fellow is describing how much trunk room it has and how it “AC” worked.

  3. The Porsche is admittedly more classy than the Toronto car (is that a Pontiac or an Oldsmobile?). Too bad he didn’t have a friend along to increase his speed.

    On a side note, I can sense the confusion in the Toronto policeman’s perspective. Unsafe? Technically, it’s a big armored quadracycle or velomobile with better manual brakes. For the lights argument that may be called up, isn’t it still legal to signal stops and turns with your left arm when you’re in a car? The only thing I can see that’s truly wrong is the lack of reflective triangles on the rear of the vehicle to designate a vehicle that moves slower than the speed of normal traffic (not sure what the low-speed threshold is in Toronto/Canada).
    Bicycles, tricycles, quadracycles, and carriages are allowed on most city streets, so how is this different? Is it truly necessary to put a sign that says “human-powered” on the back?

    1. Pedal powered cars really don’t seem safe at all to me (at least when used on ordinary streets).

      They aren’t capable of behaving in the ways other drivers will anticipate and expect (e.g. in terms of acceleration and top speed). In my opinion, predictability on the road is really paramount for safety, and these vehicles are not certainly not that.

      Yes, bicycles, etc. are allowed on city streets, but motorists can quickly identify these vehicles and anticipate their likely movement characteristics and behavior. Whereas motorists are likely to see a pedal-powered car and think “Regular car”, which really seems to be asking for trouble.

      Also, I think it is necessary for vehicles of this size to be able to achieve a certain threshold of acceleration and top speed. What if the car is going through an intersection and an ambulance is barreling towards them from the cross street?

      Obviously people don’t use these regularly, but I still think it’s reckless to bring these onto streets with other, unsuspecting drivers.

        1. Exactly sir, it is much less likely to have an accident when everyone knows that the situation is unsafe so safety must be thrown to the wind. It is the underlying principal to free range kids. If you and they know they are unsafe they will be safest of all.

          This human powered car is completely safe at its maximum speed and so therefore is unsafe at any speed!!

          Lest you think the reference to Nader is pre chance, I say it is not!

          If you back-ended this thing it would leave the driver dead though not burned.

          Captcha: allegheny swimsuit. What the f is that?

          1. I seem to remember that the most stressed part of driver’s education was that NO situation on the road should be taken at face value, from horse-drawn carriages (in the case of the Amish) to the possibility of kids darting out into the street. It is every driver’s responsibility to stay alert, and not to assume that other drivers will do so. I think they called it Defensive Driving.

            I don’t seem to remember anyone stressing that just because it’s a car chassis that it travels as fast as you might do. If that were the case, then the DOT wouldn’t allow most homemade electric cars on the roadways, much less those funky/awesome amphibious vehicles.

  4. As far as I’m concerned, for the moment the Ferdinand sits alone atop the peak of Mt. Coolnosity.

  5. Man, we shd really feature this EuroGadget on the upcoming Ars Electronica (Repair) in September. Awesome!

  6. “the safety factor is… unsafe. ”
    I can’t believe the stupidity of this sentence. He does not know what to say in a coherent and intelligent way. Police is almost the same everywhere, excess of power coupled with lack of clear thinking.

  7. In the second video who were the bike riders in identical yellow tops? Were they police?

  8. Pip-pip, I personally prefer my Porsche petroleum-powered.

    No, okay, it’s a neat art project, I just really like trying to continue alliterative chains.

  9. This so cool on many levels. Boundaries being challenged. Outstanding!

    Let’s see the “Biggest Loser” show adapt this vehicle challenge!!!!! Maybe they could tow a boat or a warning sign, or a trailer full of bicycles to donate to children!!

    Anyway….If I were a policeman, I’d let the pedal car go, just to slow down the too-fast crowd.

  10. Not sure if it was intentional but the BP logo shows up briefly in the upper right corner around the 6 min mark of the Ferdinand clip.

  11. The Toronto car is classic, but lacks the technological advances of the Porsche. According to the “reporter”, it has an active spoiler for speeds over 5kmh.

    Ah, German (or Austrian if my accent-radar is functioning properly) engineering.

  12. I find it difficult to see how it’s unsafe; it barely gets above 5mph. I imagine the brakes aren’t great, but it surely can’t be difficult to stop at that speed. Even if you did hit someone, it’s unlikely to do much damage.

    As for being unpredictable, did you even see it move? It goes so slowly you’ve got an age to react to anything it does. I get the impression that somehow because it’s going slowly drivers will somehow have great difficulty not driving in to it, but drivers handle car-sized objects stationary (or practically stationary) all the time.

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