I’ve been following François Garneau of Canadian company Velomtek with great interest for several years now, and I’m delighted that he has been able to deliver the first units of his VT1 velomobile to customers for almost a year now. François has been through a winding road of development, including a dead end in the form of a delta velomobile called the VX2. Today, he’s concentrating entirely on the tadpole version of the VT1, and although he also offers it in a non-motorized version, the vast majority of his sales are e-assisted. And no wonder. From my perspective, the Velomtek VT1 is first and foremost a practical velomobile that favors compact size, maneuverability, ruggedness, ease of getting in and out, and more space for riders and cargo. And of course all this translates into more aerodynamic drag and more weight. However, these disadvantages are easily erased by the use of an electric drive. And it makes the velomobile, which weighs 34-45 kg / 77-99 lb (upon config), a more acceptable mode of transport also for people who are not powerful enough to commute to work or shopping every day with such a heavy bike. The motor also allows the rider to arrive at their destination faster, cover more distance and arrive without breaking a sweat.
In any case, Velomtek is not as visible as similar projects such as Podbike Frikar or Podride, but François is quietly working mainly on the gradual improvement of his product and on the optimization of production, and customers will certainly find him at the right time. After all, it’s currently the only manufacturer of fully-faired velomobiles in North America. The other similar project in Canada is Elektrom, but that is a different machine in many ways. To find out more about the current situation at Velomtek, I asked François a few questions.
How long have you been delivering VT1s to customers?
We began the ordering process in the summer of 2021 and it’s been going on ever since. We delivered the first VT1-e-14s electric velomobile in November 2022. We then delivered several other VT1-e-14s to Canadian customers. Last September, we delivered the first red VT1-14s without electric assistance. We have also delivered first velomobile to the USA.
New customers can view product specifications here https://velomtek.com/products/ Then they can fill in the basic form: https://preorder.velomtek.com/en/ which is used to obtain a detailed quotation/manufacturing contract with up-to-date prices and options.
What developments are you working on?
On the technical front, we have modified several design elements and manufacturing techniques in recent months to make our products even more high-performance, reliable, durable and easy to maintain. This applies to the electrical system, motorization, structure, bodywork, etc.
The VT1-e-14s delivered few weeks ago and those currently in production will incorporate these latest updates. We have made several modifications and options since serial number 001. Continuous improvement at all levels is part of our daily routine. The biggest change in recent months is the use of the Grin All Axle V2 direct drive engine in the rear wheel.
On the commercial front, we aim to promote our products with other distributors in Canada and the United States in the coming months.
What are the current biggest challenges you are facing?
There are a number of challenges involved in building electric and non-electrically assisted velomobiles. Right now, it’s probably getting the word out about this type of vehicle, made in Canada for the North American market, to future users who don’t know it exists!