otoVelo Australia developer of CitiPod

The CitiPod vision: The future of urban mobility

The CitiPod is an innovative urban transport solution for the multiple challenges faced by cities and towns. Enabling people to move effortlessly and cheaply without pollution of the environment is key to a city's economic success. However, most cities suffer from disastrous:

  • Urban traffic congestion;
  • Parking limitations;
  • CO2, NOx and other particulate pollution;
  • Limited safe cycling routes, with reduced use in bad weather.

Most urban journey are under 5km. These journeys do not require heavy, polluting vehicles. Electric cars are not the solution. These vehicles:

  • Most cost over £20,000 per unit;
  • Require a massive charging infrastructure
  • Blight cities with particulate emissions;
  • Do not solve congestion problems.
CitiPod concept image
CitiPod concept image

Cambridge Electric Transport's Vision

The CitiPod vision is bold. It will:

  • Reduce urban transport carbon emissions to zero and cut energy consumption substantially;
  • Dramatically reduce congestion;
  • Reduce costs, making it affordable for everyone.

For city authorities the CitiPod offers the following benefits:

  • It doubles road capacity, being less than 800mm wide;
  • Uses existing road infrastructure better than current legacy use, with no need for new electric charging infrastructure;
  • Removes pollution by being electric-powered;
  • Consumes low levels of energy being ultra-lightweight;
  • Maximises parking space usage: each car parking space can accommodate four CitiPods in drive mode and over 12 in upright storage mode.
  • Reduces wear and tear on road infrastructure, being ultra-lightweight (<60kg).
  • Turnkey fleet management system enables rapid deployment of bike share fleets across selected areas.

For people, CitiPods offer the following advantages:

  • An active and healthy travel mode
  • Low purchase price (target price <£3,000)
  • Low running costs (estimated 0.5 pence per mile electricity consumption)
  • Low maintenance costs similar to those of an electric bike.
  • Full weather protection for the rider, who is enclosed if desired;
  • Increased safety and reduced injuries compared to bikes:

> By surrounding the rider with a protective cell;

> By being speed restricted, conforming to e-bike regulations,

> By being stable on three wheels, therefore safe for elderly and even disabled riders

  • Includes a rear compartment to transport small children and/or shopping.
  • Street and cycleway legal for children 14+ years
  • No licence and insurance requirement.

CitiPod Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

CitiPods will be available for individual ownership but we expect most CitiPods will be deployed in sharedtransport services. Using a mobile app, customers will:

  • Locate the nearest available CitiPod;
  • Unlock it;
  • Navigate to their destination;
  • Pay;
  • Relock the CitiPod, when they arrive.

The CitiPod offers an ideal last mile solution as part of a seamless inter-modal urban transport system. Fleets of CitiPods will be available for hire at:

  • Bus and train stations;
  • Major employment centres;
  • Tourist attractions;
  • Community centres;
  • Other transport hubs.

Current Developments

The CitiPod design team is currently working on the development of an advanced prototype e-trike design that will be legal to use worldwide.

The vision is for a “direct steer” all-weather full suspension recumbent with a narrow track for agility and the ability to lean into bends like a bicycle. The two-wheeled prototype (photo right) demonstrated it is possible to have a stable yet narrow vehicle that tilts like a bicycle but is direct-steered like a car. CitiPod’s unique ability to steer without counter-steering and to self-balance means it will always go in the direction it is pointed and does not require previous riding skills. This car-like design will be legal for 14-year olds and yet allow elderly riders to cycle safely long past the time when most will have given up. Its design also allows comfortable long-travel air-suspension to be fitted, giving the CitiPod an exceptionally smooth ride.

The CitiPod design will exploit the knowledge gained by this first prototype to allow convertible or enclosed versions to have a car-like seating position. Its 450mm seat height, ease of ingress and exceptional agility will require a highly innovative chassis and steering system. CitiPod will have three wheels for static stability, with electrically driven rear wheels and chainless front-wheel drive. Its self-balancing chassis will be stable over speed bumps or undulating terrain and have excellent traction even on low grip surfaces. CitiPod’s unique bubble canopy design will be open in fine weather but convert to near full enclosure when required. So CitiPod will allow users to reach their destination all year round wearing normal clothing but carrying shopping, back-packs or even small children. Such load carrying capacity makes the chassis ideal as a delivery vehicle too, and a last-mile delivery version is also planned.

Software Platform

CET is currently assessing software developers with a view to contracting the development of the vehicle control system and the fleet management system, including vehicle tracking, security, user interface/mobile app and payment gateway.

The CitiPod business model includes the development of a comprehensive turnkey solution for partner fleet operators in multiple cities.

CitiPod design work in progress

CitiPod Team Meeting, Cambridge, 29 January 2020
CitiPod Team Meeting, Cambridge, 29 January 2020
CitiPod Team Group Photo. 29 January 2020
CitiPod Team Group Photo. 29 January 2020
CitiPod prototyping and testing
CitiPod prototyping and testing
RotoVelo brainstorming meeting Jan 2018
Briefing Coventry University auto design students undertaking a CitiPod design project

Future developments

Our vision for the future includes:

  • Autonomous parking;
  • Autonomous battery-charging
  • Autonomous redeployment for ride-hailing;
  • Solar cells for battery charging, further reducing the CitiPod's carbon footprint;
  • Dedicated safe routes for rapid movement;
  • Fully autonomous cargo models, for last-mile, small-load delivery.
Citipod proposal by Coventry University
One of the CitiPod designs developed by auto design students in a project with CET

CitiPod sponsorship opportunities

CitiPods provide a highly visible, mobile platform, with unique brand values. They could link your corporation to a unique, green urban transport solution. This would promote your brand and enhance your Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

Contact us for available sponsorship packages.

Partnership opportunities

CET aims to propagate the CitiPod concept across the world through partnerships with transport operators, vehicle manufacturers and city authorities.