The following is an interview with Greg Fisher, inventor of the Animas Quadracycle, a unique — and durable — four-wheel bicycle for two. The Animas — which is still in prototype phase — will be avaiable both with, and without, a small battery pack. Fisher says he hopes future Animas buyers will strongly consider using solar energy to charge up the Animas that will come with a battery pack, which is something Fisher himself is already doing with the battery-pack prototype.
It’s hard to think of a cleaner, more environmentally friendly form of transportation than a solar-charged Animas, which will be powered both by riders’ legs and the sun!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I am an avid mountain bicyclist and test pilot on the Animas. I have been an inventor and auto mechanic for most of my life.
How and when did the idea for the Animas come about?
The influences for it are ( in order), Ford’s first ‘Quadricycle’, the French Velocars of the 1930s, the Apollo Moon buggies, D.G. Wilson’s pedal moon buggy, and Bryan Keener Smith’s Gila Monster all terrain 2 person pedal quad.
What is the Animas Quadracycle? What are its basic specs?
A two-person recumbent seating, side-by-side, pedal and electric assist, four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle. It occupies about 4 x 5 feet, It’s 150 pounds without batteries and a motor, 300 pounds with batteries and motor. Each rider has separate 21-speed gears and the final drive has three ranges, affecting both riders and the motor.
Is it currently being built for buyers? How much will it cost? When can we buy an Animas?
I’m still building and innovating on the prototypes in my shop in Tucson, Arizona. It’s not in production yet, as we look for a manufacturer to build them. The price-point to make it affordable and produce at a profit seems to be about $5,000. We aren’t able to set a date yet for when it will be produced and available to the public.
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Who is the target market?
People who wish to use their car less, and who want to ride on poor or non-existant roads.
What are the primary uses for an Animas?
Transportation and fun!
Where can it be ridden?
Almost anywhere, but not on a freeway or interstate,
What sets the Animas apart from a conventional two-wheel bike?
The four wheels give it stability. It does not require extraordinary skills to ride.
What sets the Animas apart from other non-conventional bikes (4-wheelers, 3-wheelers, recumbents, etc.)?
Probably the suspension and brakes. Long-travel very supple suspension makes it ride smooth but keeps the wheels on the ground. The brakes are exceptional in their performance and the rear’s ability to be used as a steering(cutting) brake.
What is your favorite thing about the Animas? What do you like most about it?
It is a lot of fun to ride, it makes you feel like superman.
How do motorists respond to the Animas?
They seem to allow me more space than they do when I am on a regular bike.
What type of battery-pack system does it have?
36-volt, 20 amp-hours gel cells, I am experimenting with more capacity.
Can you pedal and use the battery pack simultaneously?
How far/fast can it travel on the battery pack alone?
Without pedaling at all, at top speed of 32mph, less than 6 mi. With pedaling and not going so fast 2 or 3 times that. After the battery is dead, speed is more like 15 mph with as much range as you are willing to pedal for. Changing the gearing out of the electric motor varies top speed and range conversely. The chassis/tires/brakes/suspension is capable of more than 32 mph.
You’ve noted in YouTube videos that show the Aniams that “Solar is in the works” for the Animas — what does this mean? Can you please elaborate specifically on the plans for solar – and what motivates these plans?
I have solar panels I use to recharge the batteries. They do not travel with the vehicle, but are stationary. No rocket science there, since they are charging three 12 volt batteries, D-C to D-C. It’s only practical because of the relatively small (20 AH) batteries. I am trying to design a canopy with thin-film lightweight cells, but their efficiency is lower. My motivation is that charging them from the grid inTucson, means the electricity was generated by coal.
Do you have a web site?