It is the brainchild of the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery, a design firm-cum-skunkworks based in Malmö, Sweden, which has worked for brands including Ikea, H&M and Iittala. This is not its first foray into transportation, having previously created both a flying carpet and a jet-powered Vespa. Wheelys, however, they are very serious about.
As a vehicle, it is a tricycle powered by sweat and sun, optimised for all things caffeinated. Built on a basic two-in-front cart set-up, Wheelys 2 is multi-geared with electric assist, solar charging for lights, an LCD screen, a speaker, phone chargers and a wifi hotspot. Cargo areas contain a cooler, a 100-cup water tank, a sink and grey-water reservoir, display cases, fold-up shelving and a roof, all of which collapse into a relatively compact package for racing from crowd to crowd with entrepreneurial haste.
Other accessories are more ephemeral. For a monthly fee of $150 – or no fee at all, for those who bought through the company’s successful Indiegogo campaign – Wheelys provides its buyers with media and website support, best-practices updates and branding that runs from from logo to stationery to a bright red set of hex keys. Operators can order coffee and cups from Malmö, or use their own bean and emblaze any white paper cup with the self-inking stamp that comes packaged with the bike.
The coffee itself is made with caffeineophile-approved pour-overs or vacuum-siphon brewers, with water heated by ethanol burners. Individual Wheelys owners can choose what else to add to the menu, from juice to pastries, fruit to crêpes, soup to nuts. The company also assists purchasers in locating legal territory from which to vend, and acts as a referral agent for local events. Thirty operators of the 2014 Wheelys 1 – a far simpler model – serve portable java on five continents.
Wheelys are delivered in shipping creates that can function as a garage for overnight storage, complete with solar panels that charge a battery to help support that mobile hotspot and other systems – and consequently to help recharge the batteries of Wheelys’ patrons.
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