Is the New X-1 a Bicycle or a Scooter or a Bit of Both?

scooter bike photo

Photo: Sinclair Research

It looks like a cross between a bike and a bubble: it's an eco-scooter with a highly evocative name: the Sinclair X-1.

This new little "electric vehicle" as it is being called can be "driven" for 10 miles at a cost of 10p. (16¢) with some pedal power assistance.

on road photo

Photo: Sinclair Research

According to the Sinclair Research spec, the car doesn't use any gas, just a rechargeable lithium battery pack. It has a " super efficient MCR pancake motor linked to rear wheel by fixed gear drive chain." The front and rear disc brakes provide 100% stopping power (let's hope so).

The handle bars are adjustable and the waterproof acrylic bubble protects the driver from the rain. The whole thing weighs 30 kg. which is slightly worrying when you think of driving in traffic.

The really big deal about it, and what will surely be the main selling point is that it is classified as a bicycle, so there's no insurance, or road tax to be paid. Neither do you need a drivers licence: anyone over 14 years old can drive it.

It will sell for about £600 ($970) which makes it one of the cheapest electric bikes around. You can reserve yours now for a £100 deposit with delivery in the summer of 2011.

There are concerns about its speed, especially up hill and fear of potholes with those skinny little wheels. No lights for night driving, which is strange.

c-five photo

Photo: raggedclown: C5

The colourful developer of the scooter, Sir Clive Sinclair, is a British millionaire inventor who was ahead of his time. Way back in 1985 he developed an electric car: the C5. It was his dream to revolutionize the industry and make a cheap electric hybrid. Only 12,000 were made and it was a big flop because its slow speed made it unsuitable for long trips and the AA called it a "death trap." His company went into administration after that one, but he has bounced back.

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