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Monday, June 6, 2016

Sparrows, I-Roads and Elves, OH MY!

not actual size but close.
My youthful Bix.
I came upon this funny little cutie, at right, at the Riverfest. A Sparrow. It's a one person, three-wheeler, electric car which looks like a roller skate. This is one of my Bix’s ancestors!

Autoweek has a mocking post up about them – The Corbin Sparrow was the clown car of tomorrow.  Mostly the author seems to be mocking the Sparrow's looks and size.
Built by Mike Corbin of motorcycle seat fame, the Sparrow was meant to be the three-wheeled city runabout of the future…
Most of its 1,350-lb weight was due to crude lead-acid batteries -- this is primitive electric vehicle technology, the Windows ME of EVs. It takes 4-6 hours to charge at a 110-volt socket. The range, according to Woolery, is “shitty.
 "Go on," he said, with a tinge of sarcasm behind his flippantly reassuring voice. "Take it up to 45, 50. It's freeway capable."

"I don't want to die in this," I protested.

"Yeah," he agreed, "That would be humiliating."
Alright funny men but the concept is fabulous. Meyers Motors, who bought out Corbin, is now working on a four wheel version.

Toyota’s got a new car – labeled a "personal mobility vehicle." I think that translates as "small." Like the Sparrow, the i-Road’s an electric three wheeler. Currently, best I can tell, it’s only available in Europe but back in ’15, it was being tested in San Francisco. Will this break into the US market anytime soon? Seems like this’d be perfect for the parking hells of Boston and New York.
This new concept in urban mobility “Toyota i-Road” combines the potential of both cars and motorbikes. Based on the future of urban transport, we have worked to ensure next generation performance in terms of driving, size and environmental performance. (source)
Pretty damn sleek and snazzy, no?

Better yet and perfect for me – the ELF. This is an enclosed recumbent-ish trike with "electric assist." This is just what I need for running errands around town or popping over to the bookstore for an emergency sci fi infusion.
What is “electric assist”? Can I switch between pedaling and motoring easily?

An ELF can be used just like any other bike or trike that only needs the strength in your legs to make it go. What makes the ELF more fun and useful, however, is the electric motor that gives you a boost of power whenever you need or want it. You can maximize your calorie burn by just using the pedals, stay cool and comfortable by letting the motor do all the work, or any combination of the two. It’s up to you! (source)
AND, when not pedal powered it’s SOLAR powered! How majorly awesome is that?! Answer: VERY. Also too, there's a 2-seater version which purportedly accommodates an adult or two kiddles in addition to the driver. This is totally on my big wish list.
The ELF is a solar and pedal hybrid vehicle powered by you and the sun. “The most efficient vehicle on the planet”, it is a revolution in transportation and gets the equivalent of 1800 MPG.
Watch this!

How long before we hit Jetson Time with cars that fold up.

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