When you think of a hybrid vehicle, your mind probably defaults to something that has a gasoline engine and some sort of battery-powered electric motor. But what if you get rid of the engine that's emitting nasty pollutants out in the open and replace it with manpower?

Well, then you get something like the Twike (it's actually called the Twike 3, but we'll stick with Twike for simplicity), which is neither a bike nor a car, but something in between. It's also terrifying to drive, as YouTuber Aging Wheels found out on his own after buying one for himself. With money.

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A different kind of hybrid

The Twike is still being offered today, despite being introduced as a production-spec model way back in 1995. It has an electric motor powered by a battery and a pair of bicycle pedals that can assist the electric powertrain.

The oddly shaped contraption comes from Europe, where it was originally a Swiss student-made project that came to life toward the end of the 1980s. It later became a commercial product that's still available for purchase today, only now it's made in Germany.

The Twike’s main selling point is that it combines the power of an electric motor and battery with a pair of pedals just like the ones you'd find on a bicycle, the idea being that you could assist the electric motor when needed, get a workout, and increase the vehicle's range.

In other words, just like an e-bike. Only e-bikes don't have a roof to protect the rider from bad weather. Another plus for the Twike is that it has seating for two people.

It also has what looks like a pair of Braun hair dryers acting as the sole source of heating for the cabin, which is presumably linked in series to the roughly 400-volt battery pack that powers the machine, seeing how most of Europe has 220V domestic outlets.

It's cramped, it's not very well insulated, and it's very twitchy on the road, especially at high speeds, mostly because of its single front wheel that's controlled via the centrally mounted lever. But it has cruise control and regenerative braking.

Gallery: Twike 3

As for regular friction braking, it has that, too, with a pair of tiny brake drums providing stopping power at the rear and a single rotor up front. It's a hydraulic system but there's no brake pedal as you might expect. Instead, you activate the hydraulic brakes by rotating the bicycle pedals in reverse, just as you would on a children's bike.

Twike says on its website that the range is anywhere between 50 and 248 miles depending on the size of the battery pack, but the unit in the video had its high-voltage battery replaced more than once and it's hard to pinpoint an exact number.

It's also very expensive, with a brand new Twike 3 costing between $35,000 and $50,000 in Germany, which is more than a Citroen Ami, Dacia Spring, or even a Volkswagen ID.3, which starts at about $43,500 in its home country.

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