Numerous automakers are trying to tackle the problem of personal urban mobility, including Honda with its latest concept, the 3R-C. As populations age and urban areas get more crowded, the problems of moving people around efficiently seems to get more intractable. Last year's Puma concept, developed by General Motors and Segway, was one early approach to the problem, as was the original Segway and Toyota's i-Swing.
Honda's 3R-C is a fully enclosed single-seat three-wheeler powered by a lithium ion battery mounted low in the chassis to help keep the vehicle stable. The design, created by Honda's Milan studio, even features a lockable cargo space in the area ahead of the driver. The low slung seating position would seem to offer little in the way of forward visibility, but the general idea seems a step in the right direction. The 3R-C debuts in Geneva next week.
Honda 3R-C concept World Debut at Geneva International Motor Show 2010
The revolutionary Honda 3R-C concept will make its world debut in Geneva, alongside the EV-N concept which makes its European debut at the show.
Both the three-wheeled 3R-C concept, which envisions a single occupant vehicle for zero emission commuting, and the EV-N urban concept, draw on Honda's vast working knowledge of vehicles utilising electric motors.
This revolutionary three wheeled battery electric vehicle concept shows what a future minimal urban transport vehicle for one person might look like. The battery electric drivetrain is mounted low in the three wheeled chassis, therefore keeping the centre of gravity low and thus improving stability.
The 3R-C has a clear canopy that covers the driver's seat while it is parked and not in use. When 3R-C vehicle is in motion, the canopy becomes an enveloping wind-shield that provides the pilot, who sits low in the vehicle, with significant protection from the bodywork and doors.
The high sides of the safety shell seat give greater safety to the occupant, reducing the threat from side impacts and improving weather protection. In front of the driver is a lockable boot area, which gives significant secure storage for luggage or other items. The 3R-C's designers created a flexible cover that surrounds the upper torso to reduce exposure to bad weather and improving comfort.
The 3R-C study was created by European designers working at Honda's Research and Design facility in Milan.
The EV-N concept, which has only previously been shown at the Tokyo Motor Show will make its European debut in Geneva.
The EV-N is a battery electric vehicle study, which evokes the spirit of the diminutive 1967 N360 city car. Honda designers have incorporated Honda's own solar panels in to the roof of the concept, to charge the car while it is parked. Two of Honda's U3-X, electric personal mobility devices are attached to the inside of each door. The two-door EV-N concept is envisioned with a Lithium ion battery pack, and small electric motor for predominantly urban use.
The two concept vehicles will be displayed alongside Honda's production fuel cell electric vehicle, the FCX Clarity. The World Green Car winner is being leased by customers in Japan and the US, who are experiencing the range, performance and practicality of this unique zero-emission vehicle. Two of the bespoke hydrogen fuelled vehicles are now permanently stationed in Europe for long-term research purposes. Alongside research work, the pair of FCX Claritys are being demonstrated at events like the COP 15 climate summit in Copenhagen, and the Berlin Climate Conference. The FCX Clarity shows Honda's continuing commitment to fuel cell electric vehicles as the ultimate zero harmful emission mobility technology.