Is it possible to buy a traditional pedal rickshaw and stick an electric bike conversion kit on it? The rickshaw I've seen is the type when the rider is at the rear and so has two wheels at the front and one at the rear.

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  • 2
    Electric rickshaws are quite common in touristic places allover the world.
    – gschenk
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 20:24
  • Its not going to be cheap - you'll need to look at the total load weight and size the motor accordingly, Remember its an assist not a replacement for pedalling. Separately, if you're doing this as a business there may be other legally-imposed limits and requirements, like a taxi/bus driver's licence, lighting, seat belts/lights/helmets etc.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 21:35
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    If you're in Europe, any more than a 250W motor even on a cargo bike requires all sorts of things that normal cycling doesn't (summary article. However 250W pedelec delivery bikes are useful, even in the hilly city where I live, as are un-assisted bakfiets for transporting children. It would certainly be a nice way to take the kids to school, on the right roads (which are rare round here)
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 9:45
  • Yes the Baofeng BB looks great but is too powerful for the UK, think I will give this daydream a miss. I like the idea in theory but given the roads, the expense of it and regulations I don't think it's practical. This was the video that got me thinking about it BTW: youtube.com/watch?v=O6Ti4qUa-OU Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


Tadpole-style trikes with one wheel in back are quite easy to electrify.

You can either use a rear hub motor or a bottom bracket motor. Given the high startup torque requirements with rickshaws and thus the desirability of low gearing and a range of gears, I’d recommend a bottom bracket motor such as a Bafang BB - the only concern is if there’s enough clearance to mount the bottom bracket motor around that frame. This allows you to have a pretty good range of gears using a rear derailleur or internal geared hub such as a Rohloff on back.

You can reprogram a BB motor controller so that max assist is limited to 250 watts or max assist speed is limited to 30 kph or whatever your local laws are. Proving that your assist is limited in such a fashion to a constable that is trying to write you a ticket is another matter.

Hub motors that have two or more gears are available but their long term reliability is still unknown — and even with gears, hub motors unfortunately don’t have great starting torque.

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