Low-speed quadricycle a perfect 'picture vehicle' for Monty Python alum
The little Renault Twizy electric vehicle is making its way to the big screen in a bizarre and futuristic new movie, The Zero Theorem. The film is from director Terry Gilliam, a Monty Python alumnus and director of the feature films Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Honda is less an automaker, it has been said, and more of a motor company that builds vehicles into which to put its engines. That sort of perspective goes a long way towards explaining the mind-boggling diversity of the company's product lineup. The Japanese industrial giant makes lawnmowers, marine engines, robots... even jet aircraft. It's also one of only a handful of companies that makes both cars and motorbikes. We recently had the chance to sample something that falls in between.
Taking a page from Renault and the Twizy – the page that says you don't need real doors on a tiny electric vehicle – Honda has unveiled a new version of its tiny MC-β EV. That's tiny in terms of overall size, battery capacity and range. Should it ever go on sale in Europe, the MC-β would be considered an L7 vehicle, which is a classification for vehicles that weigh 400 kilograms or less (not counting battery weight) with a maximum power output of 15 kW – typically mot
If you don't look too closely at the spec sheet (available here), it appears that KLD Energy is ready to release a small, highway speed EV for under $10,000. But then you notice that the $9,800 price is just for the "system," which here means the battery, motor, controller and charger. That's the cost to put the KLD powertrain into a small, four-wheel passenger vehicle, which no one has done yet but there are talks that may see that happen.
Ask the representatives at the Belumbury booth at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and they won't tell you how much the Dany quadricycle – available in both electric and gasoline versions – actually costs. Instead, they say that if you option the heck out of this little car, you won't spend any more than 30,000 euros. Think of it as an ending price.
Honda is developing and/or already selling vehicles with hydrogen, natural gas and hybrid powertrains. But when it comes to pure electric vehicles, the company only offers a limited palette. In the US, that means the small-scale Fit EV project. In Japan, it now means the just-announced Micro Commuter Prototype (and more of the Fit EV project).
Called the "world's first e-quadricycle," a small EV from Ample International was on display at the Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS26) in Los Angeles this week. Named the Eo, the one-seat (or two- or three-seat) vehicle has a maximum speed of 65 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour) and has a range of 200 km (124 miles), according to a representative at the booth. Ample's Shida Zheng told the Neon Tommy website, that, "It is a four-wheeled motorcycle, completely powered by electricity."
Though exempt from formal crash test standards in most countries, vehicles like the electric, Indian-built Reva – sold in England as the G-Wiz – have occasionally been subjected to informal tests, and the results have raised eyebrows. Years ago, Top Gear subjected a G-Wiz to EuroNCAP crash tests to see how it would hold up. The vehicle struck a barrier at 40 miles per hour and, well, let's just say the G-Wiz nearly vanished.
Funny how the Internet operates. Treehugger wrote about the Trailcart, and then we and BoingBoing did as well. A BoingBoing reader thinks, hey, that's kind of like what my husband built, and mentions it in the comments. So then Treehugger writes about that homemade pedal/electric hybrid 4-wheeler. Now we're doing the same. We're so incestuous around here.
Teh intertubez are clogged with examples of all manner of contraptions and do-hickeys cobbled together by folks with lots of imagination and the desire to get about town sans clouds of exhaust or pools of perspiration. Many are laughable or, even worse, forgettable. I stumbled across this little handmade runabout and thought, "Hmm, that's actually not half bad. I want one of those." So, I thought I'd share it with y'all (hey, I am in the South) and maybe get your thoughts.
We don't use the word "quadricycle" around here much. But over in the UK, quardicycles are a specific vehicle type defined as "a vehicle with four wheels whose unladen mass is not more than 400kg (excluding batteries if it is an electric vehicle) and whose maximum continuous rated power does not exceed 15 kW," according to the Department for Transport. Basically, a teeny-tiny NEV (just right for Elton John).
Volkswagen's recent foray into motorcycle-inspired cars with its GX-3 concept had us prowling the web for other hybrid creations, and we discovered this all-asphalt monster quad, the creation of French car and bike tuner Ludovic Lazareth. The Lazereth "Quadrazuma" is powered by a Yamaha GTS 1000 4-cylinder engine, producing 120 hp at 12,000 rpm. Considering its curb weight of 837 pounds, performance should be, well, inspiring.