In the United States, motorbikes are owned by less than 10% of households. It’s frequently utilized for pleasure, such as a cruiser bike that is taken out on mountain roads on weekends or a dirtbike that is used in the woods or desert for fun. You may see a few motorcycles driven every day and a few more in locations where the weather is nice but it doesn’t rain much.
It’s truly a pity that motorcycles have such a reputation, because they’re among the most efficient forms of transportation, if not the most efficient. Since they only carry the rider and what’s necessary to move them down the road, gas-powered motorcycles can emit fewer emissions per mile than some 4-wheeled EVs (of course, this only applies when driven conservatively). And when powered by electricity, they use 3-5x less power than a 4-wheeled EV. This makes motorcycles cleaner in terms of per passenger emissions than riding a bus and just as clean as taking a train (numbers providing this are available here).
The answers to why more people don’t ride motorcycles to work are evident: safety and comfort. Even though the safety perceptions of motorcycles might be overestimated, it’s indisputable that individuals on bikes are more likely to succumb in an accident as opposed to those driving a car where there is metal armor surrounding them. Additionally, being able to have heating and air conditioning indoors is definitely a perk.
Plus, rainy conditions are often the biggest impediment to adopting a motorcycle for a commute. Fear of slipping around and crashing and distaste for getting drenched keep people from taking a motorcycle seriously in wealthier countries.
However, Carver Electric in the UK came up with a way around this: enclose the vehicle and make it ride on three wheels.
The story of the Carver started with an entrepreneur stuck in traffic. Scooters and motorcycles were passing him left and right, but most people wouldn’t sacrifice the safety and comfort (not to mention the dryness) of a car just to get ahead in traffic. But, he though, why not close it up and get the best of both worlds? And the idea was born.
Narrower, lighter, smaller vehicles would have all sorts of environmental and urban benefits. Better efficiency means less pollution, and smaller sizes means less congestion. So, it’s an idea that’s definitely worth pursuing.
Carver’s approach to a small 3-wheeler is a little different than others we’ve seen, like Aptera or Arcimoto. Most of today’s in-development 3-wheel EVs have one wheel in the back and two up front. Carver has two in the back and one in the front, but allows the vehicle’s body to tip and lean independently of the rear wheels, giving it motorcycle-like maneuverability and roll safety. Plus, you don’t have to have motorcycle skills to ride it, as the tipping and banking in turns is all accomplished by computer controls.
On top of being efficient and easy in the city, it’s also designed to be fun, like a motorcycle. On days with fair weather, you and a friend can open the top up and still have the open air experience without all of the challenges a motorcycle involves. Plus, the company is working on cargo and delivery versions of the vehicle, so all of these benefits could work for more than just commuters.
Featured image provided by Carver.
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