• Nov 3rd 2010 at 7:55PM
  • 20
KOR EcoLogic Urbee Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

KOR EcoLogic brought a proof-of-concept for its Urbee three-wheeler to this year's SEMA Show. The company has partnered with Stratasys for unique 3D-printed body panels that are carved from high-density plastic that are supposed to increase the vehicle's longevity. While technically a three-wheeler, KOR EcoLogic says that the Urbee will meet all automotive crash standards.

With seven lead-acid batteries, an electric motor that sends power to the front wheels, a small range-extending gasoline engine and rear-wheel steering, the Urbee boasts the definition of an unconventional drivetrain. KOR EcoLogic says that the company will have a small fleet of testers out and about soon, with full production landing sometime around 2014.


  • KOR EcoTec Urbee rear
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee front 3/4
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee front 3/4
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee front
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee interior
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee rear
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee rear
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee engine
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee rear
  • KOR EcoTec Urbee interior

Photos by Zach Bowman / Copyright ©2010 AOL


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seen articles on this car in a couple of places and the writers are clearly missing something. The FDM process is the quickest way to get complex one of a kind ABS plastic prototype parts. FDM will not be used to mass produce anything. The process is not ideal. Injection molded parts have a better finish, are more accurate and are stronger using the same materials. Once design satisfaction is achieved, and production is a go, then expensive/time consuming injection molds will be made. When the injection mold is made, parts can be produced quickly and efficiently. FDM cannot compete in mass production.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Doesn't look too cool with nose cone off. Small trike looks like another one of the new tasty snacks and Hors D'oeuvres for the Hummer/ large SUV crowd. Bite size treat any one? Yum Yum!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hah, lead acid batteries are what bankrupt Vectrix. Their customer base would be early adopter, tech savvy. They would not settle for yesterdays news.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rear wheel steering on the road is pretty scary to contemplate. The weight in the nose is good, but they really should use lithium, to get a lot more voltage/range/durability. I hope it uses regenerative braking? Is the ICE using a multi-gear transmission, or a single gear, or direct drive? What is the electric only range and speed, and what MPG does it get in parallel hybrid mode?

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Advantage of rear-wheel steering in slender trike is that it is easier to test that rollcage. It would definitely be harder to do that with front wheel drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I also like the use of stainless steel (it certainly looks like it). This means that it will last a long time, it doesn't need paint (which adds weight and makes it hard to recycle) and you don't need to engineer it based on a (partially) rusted state -- it will stay strong, so you can use lighter tubes, all else being equal.

        I assume that the steering wheel and column swings up and out of the way, so the driver can get in more easily?

        It is too bad their web site is so thin on information. http://www.urbee.net/home/
        And it is also ironic that the bodywork is the main part that is incomplete.

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh, the headroom looks pretty darn low, and the sight lines out through the windshield seem lousy. You are looking out through a "slot" with a vertical height of about 9-12 inches.

        They have some interesting solutions here -- a full parallel hybrid is unique. I question the wisdom of the rear steering and I'm not sure what advantage having just one rear wheel has; other than simpler steering mechanism.

        Sincerely, Neil
      • 4 Years Ago
      My Saturn has plastic body panels. It was built in 1994. I don't understand why every car (at least every hybrid or electric car) uses them. I have no dents, no rust, no misaligned panels, and no rattles.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I had a 94 Saturn, too! The only problem I see with them is that, while they don't dent under low impact, they completely shatter with any significant impact. Where a sheet metal part could be bent back out after a collision, a plastic one would need to be completely replaced. At least that's what happened to my front fender... :o(
        • 4 Years Ago
        1. they don't save enough weight to make a difference.
        2. as jason said... they shatter. I've seen it in person, it ain't pretty. I think i'll take a crumpled up piece of metal than exposed door /frame innards any day..
      • 4 Years Ago
      carved? printed? wood?
      story seems a little messy.
      not a fan of trike

      light weight and aero is good but not sure the front edge is good aero design. small range extender is good too. nice experiment but would need a few tweaks.

      the wheels look like dragster front wheels :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hi Neil
        yeah it looks like a reverse trailing arm suspension like a motorcycle rear wheel but the casettes look hollow in the view in through the windshield and there is a chain running through the passanger seat : )
        maybe chain drive runs parallel to the suspension arm, maybe only power on one front wheel.
        the front wheels don't seem to turn either so it's real wheel steering.
        I'd probably try to have the propulsion on the rear wheel to avoid that mess or maybe in wheel motors. there are some fairly large ones so two of those can probably well power such a light vehicle. that would probably be much better.
        the steering wheel mechanical path would still be a problem though. only drive by wire can really be elegant but that comes with great engineering responsibility.
        then it might actually be a pretty neat vehicle. somewhat dangerous because other cars are so heavy but maybe that's a cross we have to bear.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hi Dan,

        They look like Yamaha motorcycle wheels to me. :-)

        I can't figure out quite how the front electric drive is set up -- the cast units look fancy: are they housing a chain drive, or gear drive, and is the motor(s) under the people's knees? Are those castings swing arms? There is linkage up to the horizontally mounted shocks.

        Just curious...

        Sincerely, Neil
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is not what I was expecting after reading the story earlier today...for some reason I interpreted "body" as "monocoque", which would be sickness.

      Don't get me wrong, this is still pretty cool, but I feel like there are much more cost-effective ways to produce lightweight plastic body panels for cars.

      How does it fair after being impacted? Does it crack and crumble? How easy is it to repair if a panel gets damaged? These are questions that need to be answered before taking this concept with anything more than a grain of salt.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hmm.. in 2014, i would think a vehicle with lead acid batteries and a gas engine would be considered outdated.

      7 lead acid batteries = 84v = slow.

      I thought companies stopped trying to sell these silly little things? Looks like yet another NEV to me..
        • 4 Years Ago
        Forgot about that resistance factor with Lead Acids. As for the weight, I've built an e-trike of 36V with some 12AH Lead batteries. If these guys use small batteries then they can beat the weight. 25AH Lead Acids give 2.1KWH and 135 lbs. Not good compared to Li but it could work.
        • 4 Years Ago

        84V not necessarily slow. All depends on weight, aero, and motor/controller specs.

        This thing looks light, aerodynamic, and as a bonus has tall skinny tires. Should be faster than a lot of folks are willing to go (80+mph) if they have good electrics in it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It is when you've got peukert's effect happening on lead acid batteries.
        84v can be reasonable in a light car if you have long gears and are dumping a crap-ton of watts into a motor with a verrry long gear ratio. but that ain't happening with lead acid.

        By the way, lead acid batteries are heavy as hell. This thing is going to be substantially heavier than it could be in the order of hundreds of pounds if it had lithium batteries.

        What a waste of a light and aerodynamic shell; those lead acid batteries instantly negate the low weight chassis instantly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ahh, been wanting to build an e-trike with lead acid myself... the theft protection is built in since nobody can carry the damn thing, haha!

        Any vehicle specced to carry 2 people in a reclining position, pass our safety test, etc. is gonna end up in the 1000lb. zone or beyond, period! so 84v is not a lot of juice, and however much lead acid you put into the thing to go anywhere near 50 miles is gonna mean the thing is gonna be packed to the brim with lead..

        That's why i think this is a NEV. Good speed + range are not really possible with lead acid.
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