No need for speed, the AA-Cargo Aidea is a quiet electric workhorse
Being an "oldish" rider schooled on motorcycles with carburettors and two-stroke smoke, I find it hard to imagine a future where electric vehicles (EV) dot our roads.
But at a 2019 media launch in the US, I got a "what-if" moment on board the Harley-Davidson LiveWire, an EV capable of going from 0 to 100kmh in about three seconds while sounding almost like a Star Wars speeder bike.
Last week, I got reacquainted with that EV sound on the three-wheeled AA-Cargo Aidea.
Homologated here in the first quarter of this year, the AA-Cargo is a one-seater suitable for class 2B riders with a rated power of 4KW.
This gives it a range of about 160km on a full charge and a top speed of 70kmh.
The bike is not going to break any land speed records as speed is not in its DNA.
It is in essence a road-legal personal mobility device, great for high-volume deliveries without contributing to tail-pipe exhaust pollution.
With a maximum load of 120kg, the 195kg AA-Cargo is ideal for runs within a township or city.
Living with it is like owning a mobile phone. You clock the one-way 20km distance to work, charge it at the office then ride it home.
Or you could, at the end of the day, "top-up" at any petrol station with a quick-charging facility.
With 60 per cent battery capacity showing on its full-colour digital dashboard, one hour of rapid charging will boost its battery capacity by 30 per cent.
But how does the AA-Cargo, which has a reverse gear, perform on the road?
Well, it is a motorcycle that is always ready to go with no warm-up required.
It is usually the first one to quietly pull away from traffic stops due to its higher torque nature. Its rear wheels are each powered by a motor.
Nevertheless, it can be a stiff and bumpy ride because its telescopic front forks and twin rear shocks are designed to lug heavy loads.
The jolt over big bumps rattles the windscreen shade and the corners of the roof.
At the centre of its handlebars are levers for a parking brake and a tilt-locking mechanism to prevent it from toppling when parked.
There is some comfort, courtesy of a back rest and generous knee room. But its floorboards are restrictive and discourages a rider from stretching his legs.
The plus factor is its straight-line stability due to its one front and two rear wheels design.
You have to be committed at bends by choosing a cornering line early and maintaining some throttle.
However, there is a limit to lean angles - rightly so as you do not want your precious cargo to spill all over the road.
So far, its two lower side boxes, which hide its batteries on the left side, have not grazed tarmac while cornering.
The 4KW AA-Cargo model has a machine price of $18,000. A more powerful 8KW variant will be arriving next month.
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