Green Lite Motors just unveiled a three-wheeled, two-passenger hybrid vehicle that looks like it could be the child of a motorcycle and a Prius. The prototype balances efficiency, comfort, and safety with a unique chassis propelled by a hybrid gas/electric motor which can propel the vehicle up to 85 mph. While not exactly a rocket, the vehicle is highly adept at handling different driving conditions and it has the potential to squeeze 100 miles out of a gallon of gas. The two front wheels are offset from the chassis to provide natural roll when cornering.
The design is still at the prototype stage, but after only a couple of years in development it’s getting close to production. At Autodesk University 2011, CEO Tim Miller described how his dream of developing an efficient mode of transportation lead him to explore how a three wheel vehicle could have the cornering characteristics of a motorcycle with the stability of a car. Using AutoCAD and Inventor software Miller created a simulated model where moving parts like the complex front suspension could be developed and prototyped by manufacturers.
The two front wheels utilize Green Lite’s “smart stand up” technology – a hydrolic suspension that keeps the car standing up when parked (check out this video to see it in action). As the vehicle approaches a turn, the wheels tilt the chassis into the turn like a motorcycle. This allows for great stability and handling and allows the driver and the passenger to sit upright.
A gas-electric motor is strapped onto a chassis and cage. The motor has three drive modes — all-electric, hybrid, or gas only to maximize performance on the highway or efficiency in town. Wrapped in a full shell, the vehicle will provide riders with the comfort of climate control and the convenience of not having to suit up in motorcycle gear. In the city the vehicle will be able to squeeze into the smallest of parking spaces. Out on the open road, the unique handling should be a blast, hugging corners and keeping pace on the freeway.