Wednesday, April 03, 2013


The as-yet unnamed electric moped from Dr.Nathan Jauvits
I bumped into Nathan Jauvits on a San Francisco sidewalk, and was intrigued by his moped, the first home-made electric two-wheeler I've run across.  The chassis is based on a '78 Puch Magnum, but an off-the-shelf electric motor and a power pack built by Nathan transforms the machine into something far from the buzzy, smoky original - an example of which I 'accidentally' purchased at the Bonhams Las Vegas auction - that will teach me to gesticulate in the front row!
I'd consider this conversion for my Puch Magnum...
Dr. Jauvits, an engineer for product designers New Deal Design (who packaged the Lytro variable-field camera), also added a regenerative braking system to the moped, which has a range of 20 miles using a high-output motor which no young man could resist ('It beats all the cars at traffic lights')...I reckon with a less powerful motor and a lighter throttle hand, more miles could be squeezed out of that battery pack.  The moped, which he's yet to name, can be plugged in anywhere for a recharge, and he hopes to market a version when the bugs are worked out.
Looking ordinary on the streets of SF's Mission District, until you look closer...
When I queried him about the safety issues with a completely silent 35+mph moped, he pointed at the speakers atop the battery pack, 'I let my iTunes announce me'...which is probably beats the open expansion chambers used by Moped Army regulars...  The electric moped apparently requires no driver's license or road registration, falling into the same legal category as the ubiquitous NYC delivery-guy electric bicycles.  Good luck with your project, Nathan!

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