What looks like a cross between a bike helmet and a high-heeled shoe could help usher in another wave of personal electric assisted vehicles.
Grant Sinclair, who is the nephew of Sir Clive Sinclair - electronics inventor and creator of the C5 electric vehicle, which was way too far ahead of its time - seems to be following in his relatives' footsteps with his latest foray into electric mobility, a fully-enclosed pedal-assist tricycle.
The 55 kg IRIS eTrike will come in two variations, the Eco and the Extreme, with the main difference being the Eco model having a 250W electric motor with just pedal-assist and the Extreme model employing a 750W motor with throttle control for higher speeds (and presumably quicker acceleration). Both models use a 48V 20Ah lithium-ion battery for a potential range of up to 50 miles on a single charge, which is reported to take just one hour, and a regenerative braking feature is said to be able to recoup some of the energy for recharging the battery. The eTrikes have front LED headlights, a rear brakelight and turn signals, and a built-in rear view camera to stream real-time video to the rider's docked smartphone in the cockpit. The bikes also have a dedicated LCD display for access to the speed, distance, battery charge level, and power mode.
The IRIS eTrike is built on a Chromoly steel chassis, with the outer body being a "superlight monocoque Quantum Foam EPP" construction, which is said to be similar to the materials used in ski and bike helmets. The models also include a lockable rear compartment with a capacity of up to 50 liters, which might make these trikes desirable as light delivery vehicles or for service calls, and as they don't require a license or insurance to operate, could lower costs for those applications as well.
The trikes roll on two front 20-inch wheels (with twin hydraulic disc brakes), while the rear drive wheel is a 26" version, all of which are wrapped with puncture-proof tires, and the IRIS uses an 8-speed "road bike gearing" with the shifter on the handlebars. The overhead canopy is made from "aviation acrylic" and the trikes have built-in air vents to keep the rider cool, with "anti-pollution charcoal air filters" to keep the rider breathing clean air while pedaling.
The BBC took a quick look at the IRIS:
The Sinclair IRIS eTrike models can be reserved with a £99 deposit toward the purchase price of either £2,999 (€3,532 / $3,738) for the Eco or £3,499 (€4,121 / $4,361) for the Extreme, with an estimated delivery time in the fourth quarter of 2017. More info is available at Grant Sinclair.