Cycle power

original solex 1960
Classic, re-released in green

The Velosolex, that iconic French motorised bicycle favoured by such celebs as Gerard Depardieu has been given a makeover for the 21st century writes Mark Houghton.

Called the e-solex (, this brand new model junks the classic old 49cc air cooled 2-stroke motor in favour of an ultra modern Lithium Ion battery pack. Of course you will have to make sure you charge it up using green electricity, or better still – your own solar panel. For the urban eco-warrior this could be the ticket for a zero emission commute to the office. The battery is hidden in the frame and is good enough to give a range of around 45 miles at the most economical speed of 26kph. This might not seem fast but for most of us, half of our errands and trips are less than 10 miles, and you’ll have no trouble getting past all those Chelsea tractors in the rush hour.

And thanks to styling by Pininfarina you’ll even look cool in the process. All the same, we’ll miss the old one, still starring in any film by Jean-Luc Godard.

They are hard to get hold of outside France so you may have to go to for a US take on the subject. “Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) are generaly designed for one person and small cargo capacity, LEV range, speed, and cost are moderate. Electric bikes towing a trailer can easily haul 100 pounds of cargo.

For under $1000, you can be riding your first LEV. Enjoy the advantages of an extra car without the burdens. Replace that costly extra car with an e-bike or scooter, and use the savings to rent a car when you really need one. Or simply enjoy the fun and freedom of a vehicle that goes almost anywhere – including into public buildings

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