- we need a fun and efficient electric
vehicle for local trips. But how does that translate into the real world
without straining the pocketbook? For summers and year-around
Southwestern US climates, UrbaTrike got it right early on. It's
sleek styling and open-air motorcycle feel make it ideal for trips to
work and quick runs to the store, or just pleasure-cruising on weekends.
And with its simple frame and motorcycle front end, there's not really
much building to do. UrbaTrike's minimalist approach translates
into nearly free local transportation, and it's loads of fun to build
and to drive.
UrbaTrike was conceived as a way to put fun
and pleasure into the prospect of saving energy and reducing emissions. It's an
electric open-bodied trike with seating for two and a range of up to 50
miles on its original 48-volt battery pack. By using today's batteries
and controllers, performance can be put on steroids and range can be doubled or even tripled.
If you never driven a trike, it's something like a cross between a motorcycle and a
wind-in-the-teeth fold-down-windshield sports car. And with UrbaTrike, performance can be
tailored to fit your excitement threshold. The prototype shown here is equipped with a
modest 48-volt battery pack comprised of eight 6-volt golf car batteries. With this setup,
UrbaTrike accelerates from 0 to 35 mph in 9.5 seconds and has a maximum speed of 55 mph -
not really wind-in-the-teeth sports car performance. But a 96-volt battery pack (switching
to 12-volt batteries) will push top speed to 75-80 mph and double the
acceleration rate. Adding additional batteries will give it even
more punch. Performance depends on the electrical charge the
behind the motor.
The live rear axle can come from just about any
rear-wheel-drive car, but ours was from an old Toyota.
Virtually any automotive live rear axle will work for
UrbaTrike's electric drive.
The important factor is to keep the track about the same - 54
inches (1370mm). With a wider track, you'd simply extend the fenders
to cover the wheels. If you have to deviate from a 54-inch
(1370mm) track, go wider,
not narrower. The fork is from a Honda 750, but a fork from any large motorcycle will work. The
simple frame is
made of welded steel tubing and the body is made of FRP/foam
composite. You can see the simple design in the rendering in the
left margin. The frame can be built in a couple of weekends. Figure about 150 hours to
build the fiberglass body. Plans give complete dimensions and assembly details. Click on the bottom image in the left margin to
exploded view rendering of how UrbaTrike is built.
UrbaTrike plans come with recommendations and sources
for modern batteries, motors, and controllers.
|Width: 64 inches
Height: 42-1/2 inches
Track: 54 inches
Wheelbase: 82 inches
Battery Pack: 48 Volt (or as desired)
Motor: Originally a Jack & Heinz #G-23-4BT aircraft generator.
Today, an Advanced DC Motors or Warp series-wound motor. Match
the motor rating to the voltage of your battery pack.
Controller: Originally Voltage Stepping. At higher pack
voltages & for smooth, efficient speed control, use a Chopper
Range: Originally, 50 miles (48-V lead-acid) More
than 100 miles with modern Lithium batteries.
Front Suspension: Honda 750 motorcycle fork
Rear Suspension: '67-'70 Toyota Corona, RT-43 series,
or as desired. Uses an automotive live rear axle.
Top Speed: Originally 55 mph. With greater pack
voltage, up to 80 mph.
Seating: 2 in tandem
Body Construction: Fiberglass over foam composite