Quadricycle electric car
Wards Auto World tipped me off to this delightfully weird French electric vehicle. It is a tiny quadricycle that also seems to use tilting suspension so it handles like a motorcycle. If you watched the Top Gear episode where they took a Tesla electric car to the track you saw how hard it is to make an electric car perform on par with a gasoline car. Since those devil-may-care Brits were slogging the Tesla so hard, it ran out of charge in 53 miles instead of 200 miles like when you baby it. The motor overheated and they had a braking system failure. I was not surprised at the motor overheating. After all, when I was up a Tesla last year an engineer confided “I wish we water cooled the motor like GM did with the EV-1.” But while everyone argues that Top Gear was too melodramatic showing the car being pushed when it really just went onto creep mode, the really important footage was when they showed how poorly the car handles compared to the gasoline-powered Lotus that the car is derived from.
Everything is analog folks and when you put in a big heavy battery pack with 6800 laptop cells, well, you have to give a little something up somewhere else. What the Top Gear hosts did not seem to recognize is that a real Tesla driver will never be slogging on his car as if it was at a racetrack. You will notice they did not complain about the maximum torque at stall that an electric motor gives you. So anyway, as a former auto engineer I do think electric cars have a way to go before they can serve as family sedans. But one thing that is obvious—the smaller the vehicle the more suited it is to electrification. There are tons of electric scooters and cycles that seem to be very viable. These are selling in high volumes and I sure hope everyone in Taipei drives one since the last time I was there the air pollution was so bad it made my eyes sting.
The Lumeneo Smera may look weird, but that because the designers did what they had to do to make a viable electric vehicle. They minimized the height and frontal area. Remember that the word weird comes from the Old Norse and meant “fate” or “foretelling the future”.