From the people who brought you the Hinterland 1, that clone trooper eco-tank, comes something with a little less armor: the Energya three-wheeled vehicle. The tadpole-style Energya weighs just 350kg, with particular attention paid in the design period to reducing the weight of non-suspended components (the inboard front suspension and shock absorber system, for example) while "centralizing most of the mass closer to the vehicle center of gravity for enhancing dynamic performances." Thanks to the three wheels of the Energya, Canadian company Higgins-Aubé Inc. wants to power the vehicle with a motorcycle engine connected to a six-speed manual tranny. Higgins-Aubé is without a doubt playing the it's-not-a-car regs with the three-wheeled design. From today's statement announcing the Energya, "Since the vehicle may do without many of the mandatory systems and components required on an automobile, the motomobile may consequently be made lighter, advantageously influencing its performances" (full statement after the jump).
Should the money from venture capitalists or others come flowing in, the Energya could be available within 18 months and, should everything go well "it is envisioned that the Energya™ motomobile will be offered as an electric vehicle. This will turn the electric-car stereotype on its head, as the same performance objectives will be maintained." Bears watching, but what's with the promo shots with the Energya digitally inserted into real photos?
UPDATE: fixed the part about the aluminum frame. Thanks to Goodcheer and Martin.
Montreal, September 18th 2008 - Higgins Aubé Inc
Higgins-Aubé Inc, a young Canadian company, is proud to show early images of its latest creation, the Energya, a three-wheeled vehicle. The Energya™ three-wheeled vehicle, also now know as a motomobile, is designed as a light, high performance vehicle. Similar to a sports car where the driver and the passenger are seated side-by-side, the Energya™ motomobile has a rear engine that drives the single wheel at the back. The vehicle feels, drives and behaves mostly like an open wheels racecar. The vehicle features a distinctive, cutting-edge aggressive design that reflects its level of performance.
Mechanically, the Energya™ motomobile will be powered by a motorcycle engine having a six-speed sequential manual transmission. It will feature an aluminum frame with inboard front suspension using superposed unequal A-arms. The dampers slightly protrude through the front cowling, both as a design statement and for cooling reasons. Particular attention has been given to reduce the weight of each component in order to produce a vehicle that conveys a dynamically thrilling experience. Particular attention has been given to reduce the mass of the non-suspended components and to centralizing most of the mass closer to the vehicle center of gravity for enhancing dynamic performances. The cockpit is typical of a racecar with only the essential instruments for the road. The seats are very supportive, in pure racecar fashion. Innovatively, half-doors are provided to ease access to the cockpit while providing side-impact protection. Convenience has not been neglected with a small storage space under the front cowling.
The advantage of having only three wheels is manifold. First and foremost, a three-wheeled vehicle is considered, in many jurisdictions as a motorcycle. Since the vehicle may do without many of the mandatory systems and components required on an automobile, the motomobile may consequently be made lighter, advantageously influencing its performances. As Higgins-Aubé shares the philosophy of late Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars™, reducing weight was indeed the cornerstone that led to the choice of this type of vehicle. Furthermore, a three-wheel vehicle having two wheels at the front, contrarily to having a single wheel at the front, is dynamically stable.
Performance targets are set high: achieve 0-100km/h within 4 seconds and lateral acceleration in excess of 1 G . Expect an engine in the neighborhood of 200 hp and an approximate vehicle weight of 350kg. The Energya™ motomobile is aimed at providing exotic car performance at down-to-earth prices.
Styling and design were conducted per state of the art R&D process. "We aimed at solving the main problems related to this compact architecture in sync with engineering. For example, ingress-egress ease and side impact protection were made possible by the use of a half door which also improves general styling by connecting the lower front cowling to the rear fairing with a continuous dynamic line" says Aubé.
Given appropriate financial backing, production units of the Energya™ motomobile could hit the market within 18 months.
As a future step, it is envisioned that the Energya™ motomobile will be offered as an electric vehicle. This will turn the electric-car stereotype on its head, as the same performance objectives will be maintained.
About the company
The two owners of Higgins-Aubé cumulate over 35 years of experience in industrial design, engineering, Six Sigma and in intellectual property. Of these 35 years of experience, 22 years were acquired in all divisions of a global manufacturer of transportation equipment headquartered in Canada, and most relevantly at its recreational products division designing and engineering snowmobiles, personal watercrafts, jet boats, ATVs, three-wheeled vehicles and many more. Martin Aubé is a renowned industrial designer who also holds degrees in Aeronautics and Art history. He also is the president of The Creative Unit Inc (www.creativeunit.com) who provided the design services for the Energya™ motomobile. Danny Higgins is a professional mechanical engineer with a Master of Aerospace engineering. He has designed racecars and personal watercrafts, amongst others. Both owners are motorcyclists and car enthusiasts who share a common passion and vision for outstanding, visionary and paradigm shifting motorized road vehicles.
Higgins-Aubé has given itself the mission to exhilarate the senses of its customers, both statically and dynamically, by providing them vehicles that are as exciting to look at as they are to pilot. Higgins-Aubé expects its customers to be just as passionate about nice vehicles as there are. The motto of the company perfectly reflects its philosophy:
"Combining Technology and Art to Create Objects of Passion".
Higgins-Aubé Inc. is presently looking for serious investing partners who share their passion. As free thinkers, the promoters are ready to consider different investing scenarios, even non-traditional ones, such conducting their R&D as part of a reality TV show, or off-shore offers.