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Could Tim’s homemade electric ‘car’ be the future of transport?

February 27th, 2024 9:00 AM

By Martin Claffey

Could Tim’s homemade electric ‘car’ be the future of transport? Image
On the road: Tim’s second version of the car is blue.

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AN inventor in West Cork has built a prototype pedal- powered car which, he believes, can fill a gap between cycling and driving.

The three-wheeler wooden pedal car was built by Tim Rowe, who is confident that what started out as a hobby venture has a place in Ireland’s transport future.

Tim, from Ballylickey, built the pedal-powered car using marine plywood, cycling wheels, and an electric motor, disc brakes, a 650lb suspension spring, all wrapped in a shiny red vinyl. The pedal-powered car has been out and about on the roads around Snave, Ballylickey, and Bantry, and Tim has now built two versions of the car so far.

Tim built it as a three-wheeler after he made contact with Environment Minister Eamon Ryan, regarding his vehicle.

The ‘car’ has only three wheels, to comply with legal requirements.

‘It’s extremely useful for short commutes. It’s easy to drive, environmentally- friendly and great fun.

Legally, it’s like an e-bike, but it feels like a car. But you don’t need any tax. You don’t need any insurance.

Tim's three-wheeled car is treated like an electric bike.


I really think this has a future in transport,’ said Tim, who publishes his ideas on his popular YouTube channel ‘Way Out West Workshop Stuff’.

Effectively, the car works on a similar principal to an electric bike, with its 250-watt motor supporting the pedal power.

Tim plans to sell the cars for around €3,500 each, but he must first get a European safety standard (CE mark) to sell completed vehicles, which requires further road testing.

Instead, for now, he plans to let enthusiasts source their own materials and build their own car using his plans, which he will sell for €50.

Most of the parts can be picked up easily. ‘It took me around 10 months to build the first,’ said Tim.

Legally, to use Tim’s car, drivers must be aged 14, and can’t go above 25kph while using the motor – though drivers can legally go faster on pedal power when the vehicle is not motor-assisted.

The pedal car has no official name yet, with Tim considering names like ‘Doodlebug’, ‘The Flintstone Flyer’, ‘The Whirligig’, the ‘Little Wooden Pedal Car’, ‘The Bentwood Flyer’, and ‘The Mott’.

This isn’t Tim’s first venture into the world of innovation. His previous inventions, which are made to order, include the ‘Henbarrow’, a special mobile henhouse, and the ‘Chordelia Guitar Machine’, which helps play chords for budding guitarists.

Anyone looking to see his car in action is likely to get a glimpse in Bantry. ‘I drive down to the market there almost every Friday in the vehicle,’ said Tim, who sells garlic, and who has also written a book on beekeeping and his ‘Rose beehives’ beehive keeping method.

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