Appalachian student builds and sells electric tricycles

Senior Tommy Ausherman was looking for a quick, safe ride to class each day. What developed not only got him to school on time, it's now become a business.

He builds and sells electric-powered, recumbent tricycles through a company he founded with two friends called FFR Trikes—which stands for Fast, Far, Real. "I was riding my bike to class but wanted something that could keep up with traffic," he said.

Their model is built to travel at 30 mph, in keeping with North Carolina law. It can travel up to 50 miles on one charge. Recharging the battery takes less than an hour, and he's working on how to cut that down to 30 minutes.

"About 10 cents of electricity will take you about 30 to 50 miles," said Ausherman, who is double majoring in appropriate technology andgeography with a minor in mathematics. "My goal is to create an alternative for people, to get them out of their cars and do it in an exciting way."

Ausherman is from Chambersburg, Pa., and will graduate in May 2011. He plans to turn his venture into a full-time business and keep his company in North Carolina.

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