Just when 2020 and 2021 couldn’t get any weirder, along came the Z-Triton.
It’s always fascinating when people make a point of traveling large portions of the world in weird and wonderful ways. There’s a rich history of people traveling differently just because. Missions such as conquering every country on earth without flying or bikepacking on a unicycle deserve all the recognition that they get.
Make Your Mark
If you’re the kind of person that likes getting bombarded with stares as you make your way through this world, the Z-Triton may be just the vehicle for you. It’s one of the latest designs from Latvian-based company Zeltini. Imagine if Ikea made vehicles, and you’re on the right track. This is the company that in 2018 created an outhouse where human waste fertilized a lavender garden situated on the roof. The smell from the lavender was then blasted back into the toilet by a fan for an enjoyable eco-friendly experience. Hopefully, Zeltini’s track record has prepared you for the ensuing strangeness.
So, the Z-Triton is an amphibious vehicle and house that, by combining human and electric power, should get you from A to B in comfort whilst looking like you’re in a Wes Anderson movie.
Zeltini states that the boat-trike-house has enough room inside for two people to sleep in relative comfort. They have tested the vehicle out, and apparently, it can be used in both winter and summer conditions. The Z-Triton is a tricycle first and foremost, but when it’s time to hit the water, the front-half-of-a-bike front section folds up, and the other two wheels fold away where you can attach inflatable pontoons.
A Real Life Bond Vehicle
Think carefully about how you enter the water though as when using the Z-Triton in “boat mode,” it goes in the opposite direction instead of when you are using it as a tricycle. Simply slot in the electric motor and attach steering and power cables to the engine, and you’re ready to take on rivers and lakes. It doesn’t look like it would be wise to brave anything with white water, though. Depending on battery size, the transformed boat can travel 10km on water.
The little blue wonder also supports you as you pedal on the roads. With its two 250 Watt electric motor hobs and 36 Volt battery, it can assist your pedaling for a range of 40km depending on road conditions and your leg power.
The Z-Triton has all the mod cons a modern eco-conscious traveler would desire. The basics are included, such as lights, horn, windscreen wipers, USB charging ports, two water bottle holders, fold-up passenger seat, aerodynamic umbrella, and even a coffee cup holder. Inside one of the chimneys is an integrated plant pot to encourage the rider to grow their own herbs for cooking. There are also six solar panels, so not all battery charging is up to you and your glutes. The Z-Triton’s designer Aigars Lauzis is a proud dog owner and has even included a seat for your pooch. This can be swapped to add a second child-sized passenger seat if you so desire.
The Inception of Insanity
Aigars’ wacky design ideas began on an overland bicycle trip from London to Tokyo.
“Pretty much two of my inspirations came from the trip. One was the creativity that I saw when I was cycling worldwide, seeing crazy ideas that people are creating in the world. Because of my cycling trip, the idea that I can cycle, but I cannot cross any bodies of water. I was a little bit tired of my tent, which was sort of thin and it doesn’t give you a sense of a house. So, I thought, maybe why not have something a bit more solid” said the 39-year-old inventor.
If you’ve ever taken any long, relatively unplanned road trips by bicycle, you may have found yourself in the awful situation of the night, quickly drawing in with nowhere to sleep. You’ve been riding all day, and your energy is sapped, and you still have the rigmarole of unloading your gear into a hotel room or pitching a tent.
The Z-Triton alleviates this as it transforms into a tiny house with a hatch when stationary. This ergonomic Optimus Prime hosts interior lighting and an extractor fan to get rid of cooking fumes. There’s also a little folding kitchen and dining table. Once you have finished entertaining your guest, you can remove and store the seats, and what was once a kitchen becomes a bedroom.
It will be interesting to see what the traveling and outdoors community will make of the Z-Triton. Travel vlogging YouTubers are sure to jump on board. Zeltini has said the release should be this summer, and anticipation is out there. Individuals can already pre-order the vehicle, and a significant number will make their way to the tourism industry.
The cost may be an issue for some. The base price is expected to be approximately €10,000. It’s a serious cost for something that still hasn’t proven if it can take on some serious miles. Could it possibly be a contender for an even more extreme version of the “van life” collective?
The main test for the Z-Triton upon launch will be seeing how well the assisted motor helps on hill climbs. If you watch videos of the Z-Triton in action, you will notice that the rider is pulling a lot of kits. There could even be another passenger and a pet on board too! Latvia’s geography is made up of 75% worth of undulating plains, the perfect stomping ground for Zeltini’s sophomore vehicle effort. If the transforming trike can make it across the rest of Europe and beyond will have to be seen to be believed.
For the time being, it would be wise to not take much of what Zeltini is doing too seriously. If you look at the official helmet to wear with the Z-Triton, it’s clear that they really don’t care what the rest of the world thinks.