All-Weather Bikes

The Liberty SUV-----short for Sustainable Utility Velomobile-----was the first velomobile I built. It looks like a small car, but it is actually a fully-enclosed recumbent tricycle with e-assist. It is legally classified as a bicycle, so it requires no state registration.

You can follow the build at


The SUV’s chassis is the TerraTrike Rover recumbent trike.  The all-weather shell of the recumbent is made of recycled plastic, laminated with closed cell foam, over an aluminum frame.  The vehicle has polycarbonate windows all around.

The vehicle can be driven with either electric power or pedal power alone, or with a combination of the two. The SUV has a 500 watt / 24 volt mid-drive motor powered by a 30 amp-hour, 24 volt LiFePO4 battery.  When operating with the motor alone,  speeds can reach 20 mph on the level.  Vehicle speed varies depending upon terrain, wind speed, road conditions, weight, and driver input, etc.

The SUV has an 8-speed internal gear hub providing the right gearing for all speeds and hills. The lower gears make climbing hills much easier with the added help of the mid-drive motor. Like all bikes and trikes there is no reverse. Backing up is done with the feet, through holes in the floor. The SUV has direct steering, with a handle on each side of the seat.  The vehicle is  equipped with disc brakes, operated by a brake lever on the left steering handle.

The comfortable, high-back, nylon seat offers the rider full back support.  The angle of the back is adjustable, and the seat can be moved forward and backward. There are also straps behind the chair seat which can be tightened or loosened to provide the most comfort.

The high, upright seat allows the rider to be on eye level with most automobile drivers, providing better visibility and safety.


The ev-Liberty SUV is “decked out” with a highly visible LED lighting system, complete with very bright headlights, taillights, brake lights, directionals, and flashing lights on top for added safety.  There is also an interior dome light and a loud horn.

The instrument panel has a bike computer which provides information on speed, miles, time, and temperature. It also records trip information, which includes total time, top speed, average speed, etc. The motor’s battery is monitored with the Watts-Up meter, which acts as the battery’s “fuel gauge” and “mpg” meter. There is also a meter for the lighting system on the instrument panel, as well as switches for all of the lights.

Two side mirrors and a rearview mirror, combined with large windows on all sides, provide the SUV with great visibility. There is plenty of airflow with the windows open to keep you cool when the weather is warm. The vent and windows can be closed as needed, when the outside air temperature is cold. This all-weather vehicle has a windshield wiper for driving in rain and snow.

SUV Specs

Built around the TerraTrike Rover recumbent trike frame.

Length 7’ 1”

Width 34” (It will fit through a 36” door.)

Height 51 ¾” (Taller than some sport cars.)

Over 16 cubic feet of usable storage space!

Turning diameter 21’ (It can easily do a U-turn in most streets and roads.)

Wheelbase  length 42”

Sturmey-Archer 8 speed internal gear hub.

Zoom mechanical disc brakes.

500 watt mid drive 24 volt motor

30 Amp-hour 24 volt LiFePO4 battery.

Complete lighting system - 12 Volt, 9 Amp hour battery.


Total weight including the batteries 149 lbs.

Combined (You and your cargo) Load Limit 290 lbs.

Three 20” wheels

Gear inches 24-80

Click here to see more photos of the SUV.

ev-Liberty © Copyright 2011.
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