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January 28, 2011

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'Human-electric' vehicle developed by city scientists

LOCAL engineers have produced China's first "human-electric" hybrid vehicle, allowing users to charge it by pedaling as they drive along.

The vehicle, developed by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, can carry two people and luggage. Pedal energy is reclaimed and charges the battery. It can be driven in electric-only mode or pedal plus electric power.

Unlike existing Twike electric cars in operation in Europe, people can recharge this vehicle anytime they want due to an "intelligent battery," developed in Shanghai.

Twike drivers can only recharge the vehicle through braking or moving down a slope.

The intelligent battery also allows users to gauge consumption.

"If drivers are stuck in a traffic jam with the air-conditioning on, their car would soon run out of power," said Jay Lee, President of the Advanced Industrial Technology Research Institute. But using the pedaling option, people can recharge their vehicle, he said.

The 300-kilogram vehicle is 2.65 meters long, 1.20 meters wide and 1.25 meters high. Its top speed is 85 kilometers per hour and it can run for 150 kilometer if the battery can be fully recharged.

The vehicle may go into production in 2012, Lee said.


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