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Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by stockey, Aug 25, 2006.
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That car looks pretty fun to drive. The more electric, the merrier.
All the text is in French. . . But it's obviously a Campagna T-Rex converted to battery power. Cool vehicle. Great video clip! I love the Jetsons-like sound as it whoooshes by.
A three-wheeled vehicle has many advantages. With only one wheel propelling it, you don't need a differential. With rear drive and front steering, you don't need CV joints. With three wheels you immediately reduce the rolling resistance by 25% compared with a four-wheeled vehicle, plus you lose the weight of that fourth wheel, tire and brake. Because it's classified as a motorcycle you aren't legally required to have air bags or bumpers. The T-Rex doesn't have heat or A/C either. . . If you add up all the stuff it doesn't have, you can see why it's so light and efficient, and can perform so well.
One might argue that this is a good model to follow for future, larger electric cars. Why not a four-door passenger car with three wheels? From an engineering standpoint it makes pretty good sense. But there would be two big problems. . . The legal problem and the image problem.
The legal problem is, you really don't want a four-door car classified as a motorcycle. You don't want everybody forced to wear helmets, have a motorcycle driver license, etc. I don't think the T-Rex can even be sold with a full windshield in the USA, you have to buy that separately. And not being required to fit bumpers and airbags is not such a great advantage for a family car -- not when people have been buying SUVs on the (mostly false) perception of their safety. You've got to have these things to make it sellable, whether the law requires them or not.
The image problem is that a three-wheeled car would immediately be seen as yet another "electric weirdmobile" like the Zooop, which is exactly the image Tesla are trying to steer far away from. It'll be hard enough to get people to accept a normal-looking electric car, but an electric three-wheeled car would only compound the difficulty.
Someday the time will come for three-wheelers.