• Jan 5, 2011
As compact as it is (in comparison to a car, anyway), the Can-Am Spyder doesn't guzzle much fuel. But that won't stop some from being lured by the tree-hugging credentials of a "hybrid" badge.

The trike – which is closer in form to a motorbike with an extra wheel, as opposed to a car missing one – is forming the basis for a new project being undertaken at the University of Sherbrooke. A joint effort between the institute of higher learning in the Canadian province of Quebec (where the Can-Am is built) and its producers at Bombardier Recreational Products, the four-year endeavor is focused on developing a hybrid drivetrain for the Spyder. Over its course, the team of 30 researchers plan on producing three successive prototypes in the aim of reducing the vehicle's carbon emissions by 50% while increasing fuel efficiency by the same.

To get there, the Canadian federal government has awarded the team a $6.2 million grant (the Canadian and American dollars hovering around par these days) from the Automotive Partnership Canada fund, with Bombardier kicking in an additional $5.1 million for a total budget of $11.3 million. That's a whole lot of loonies to give an overgrown motorbike a bigger alternator, so hopefully some innovative technology comes from the endeavor.

[Source: CanadianDriver]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have a friend who has owned a Spyder for a few years. He routinely gets around 30 mpg in mixed "riding." That's pretty poor efficiency relative to a true motorbike or small car and I'm not sure if a hybrid is the right answer to that issue.

      Everyone here is familiar with what small cars achieve for typical mileage and I usually get 40-45 mpg on a Triumph Speed Triple and my wife around 50-55 mpg on a Ducati Superbike just to give an idea of what a performance oriented motorcycle gets.
      • 4 Years Ago
      RMc is correct about fuel economy, several members on my marque's group board have migrated to Spyders as legs and other issues have demanded. Gas mileage has always been horrible, the same Bombardier owned ROTAX engines are used around the globe in other bikes-my son's Aprilia Futura regularly got 40+mpg. The bike is large and heavy, but strong as a bull in construction. Give this a vastly improved in-town mileage from the hybrid system, and it will be a very viable alternative to the Goldwings, big Harleys, Big Beemers, and such for touring-and with the large storage capacity and HUGE load carrying ability(compared to all others except conventional trikes), and it actually becomes a much more attractive purchase. Add in the inherent stability of the single wheel in rear, plus traction control, ABS, anti-rollover, power steering, and the dual-clutch semi-automatic, this is very desireable to me. Still can not afford one, but the Touring version with a hybrid drive train? I have to keep working on an eventual purchase.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great, so they can build a more expensive hybrid version of a vehicle no one wants to buy already.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I like the Can-Am Spyder for one reason; when i'm too old to keep up a motorcycle up, I'll have some sort of alternative.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is exactly what I was going to say... Nice ride, but nobody even buys these things and they are expensive already... I love motorcycles and would think 3 times before dropping the money for even a non hybrid version of this thing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Totally agree with Alex.

      If I am too hurt to ride my FZ6 or my wife's old ACE 1100, then I would not hesitate to shop for one of these and put at least one in my garage. Anyone make snow tires for these yet?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've seen a few Can-Am Spyders and the road, and for some reason they seem about as nerdy and awkward as Segways on the sidewalk. I don't see a problem offering hybrid models because it fits their target demographic. I think the biggest problem for the Can-Am Spyder is that's not small enough to park in motorcycle parking spaces.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've always thought of it as more of a snowmobile for the road than a three-wheeled motorcycle. They really should market it like that, they'd probably get a lot more crossover sales from snowmobilers than motorcyclists.