Putting the pedal to the metal takes on a whole new meaning with this car.

It has a real engine but the brake and accelerator have been replaced by the pedal mechanism from a bicycle.

Pedalling turns a flywheel that generates an electronic pulse necessary to engage the accelerator and make the car go.

The FitCar PPV is the work of Saudi inventor, Nasser Al Shawaf, together with Dutch engineering partner, BPO.

It is described as the world’s first calorie-burning car.

The FitCar PPV ‘prototype #2’ is based on a standard Audi A4 Avant with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that delivers standard spec performance and economy.

There are three simple settings: ‘Drive Slow’ – for slow moving traffic, ‘Drive Fast’ for highway speeds and ‘No Drive’ when you’re stuck in stationary traffic but with the ability to continue exercising.

There is also a simple rotary dial on the pedals to adjust resistance, depending on what sort of work out is required – from easy to difficult.

“I work in many cities around the world where a 60-minute-plus car commute, each-way, each day is not uncommon,” Al Shawaf said.

“This is an unhealthy way to waste more than two hours every day. So, I came up with the idea of the FitCar – which does exactly the same as any conventional car – getting us safely and comfortably from A to B — however in the FitCar you can exercise while you drive.

“Our studies suggest a calorie burn-rate of more than 300 per 30 minutes. We are increasingly time-poor, and unfit.

“The FitCar PPV provides at least part of the solution to these two problems for those of us wishing to exercise more but without the time to do it.

“I’m really proud of the results.”

Two years in the making, BPO’s Oscar Brocades Zaalberg said the prototype has been trialled successfully by many people in The Netherlands..

We started with a simple ‘buck’ to demonstrate how this could work, then tried it out for real on a SmartCar,” he said.

“This is prototype two, an Audi A4 Avant, chosen for its cockpit ergonomics, allowing for a comfortable cycling position, with enough room for the physical action of pedalling.

“Our ambition is for the technology to be either adopted by a car manufacturer for a new generation of ‘healthier’ city cars, or for us simply to offer it as a conversion kit in to the after-market – for those wishing to add PPV as an optional active extra to their car.

“Once you get in the car and drive it, it is intuitive, easy to control and safe – I would encourage any body to give it a try.”

FitCar PPV is covered by an international patent and is waiting for approval in The Netherlands for road use across Europe.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.