Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Lean Green Leaning Machine

I've mentioned the Carver before. But at that time, Carver's website had this to say about American distribution:

Over the past few years we have been receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from American and Canadian automotive enthusiasts. Obviously, as part of the global roll out of the Carver One, we have been looking into distributing to the North American market as well. Naturally, the European-specification model will have to be modified to meet national standards. And there is more to that than meets the eye.
A dedicated team has started an in-depth analysis of the requirements to make the vehicle ideally suited to the North American market. One of the most important modifications involves the engine. Further planned enhancements include the addition of air-conditioning. The retail price for the North American market is yet to be determined. Considering the required re-engineering and transportation costs, the North American retail price is expected to approximate 45.000 USD for a basic model.

Yee-Owch! $45k for an enclosed bike?
Still, I wanted one, and thought the design would be particularly suited to electric or hybrid propulsion conversion.

Looks like someone else thought so, too.

Introducing the VentureOne, a revolutionary 3-wheel, tilting, plug-in Hybrid vehicle. This unique 2-passenger flex-fuel Hybrid vehicle will achieve 100 miles per gallon, accelerate from 0-60 in 6 seconds with a top speed of over 100 mph, yet at a retail price of under $20,000.And if that weren’t enough, imagine combining the performance feel of a sports car with the agility of a motorcycle. This is an exhilarating driving experience that can only be compared to flying a jet fighter two feet off the ground.

I guess some of the R&D has been paid off now, and the construction and distribution of the vehicles has been streamlined. The price has dropped significantly, as well as some performance improvements have apparently been implemented.
Sadly the video on the previously mentioned post is no longer available. Luckily, If you hit the video link on the VentureOne site (aptly named ""), you'll find Richard Hammond going gaga over this beauty, as well as some other great vids.

Although classified as a motorcycle according to the NHTSA (since it has three wheels), the VentureOne has an enclosed body. The reinforced roll-cage construction in combination with front-and-side-impact protection, and a highly efficient passenger restraint system, give the occupants a level of protection comparable to conventional cars — or statistically, 33 times the safety of a typical motorcycle.
Venture Vehicles plans to initially offer two propulsion packages for the VentureOne: the hybrid E50 and Q100, and all-electric Venture EV model. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) will range from $18,000 for the E50, to $23,000 for the all-electric EV model – with a wide range of accessories available for each.

The dramatically greater safety than a bike is definitely a selling point, as well as the fact that you can get you lean fix in any sort of weather. But making it available as a hybrid or EV? I think I just died and went to heaven!

The hybrid E50 will do 100+ mph, 0-60 in <6>The vehicles’ propulsion system is of a series hybrid design. The system consists of a small internal combustion engine connected to a 15 – 20 kW generator, two in-wheel 25 kW electric motors, a four gallon fuel tank, and a 3 kWh Li-Ion battery pack. The system is able to take energy normally lost as heat due to braking and return it to the battery, increasing overall system efficiency. All three models will exceed 100mpg, with speeds of over 100 mph, and 0-60 in 6 seconds or less – a major breakthrough in the automotive industry.

I want one!

Man, this puppy is just begging to have a lightweight teardrop trailer built for it. You know, one that's covered in flexible solar panels. Talk about freedom...

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