If you took a pen on a blank piece of paper and tried from scratch to design a vehicle that is the exact opposite of anything you would look for in an urban transport, I strongly suspect you would end up drawing something, that looked a lot like … a car.
[This is part of an ongoing collaboration between Electrek and Fully Charged]
The dilemma of the city
Because the following applies to the classic four-wheeled, four / five-seat road vehicles that we all know and love: As a means of transport for long distances with people and things, they are extremely handy. But to travel three miles through a busy city? They make absolutely no fucking sense. Those equipped with ICE are loud, wasteful, and polluting, but all – even the zero-emission electric ones – suffer from a different problem. They’re just way, way, way too big.
Do you stand on every street corner in London and what do you see? A slowly moving line of two-ton SUVs, each taking up 8-10 square meters of street space, and most of which carry no more than one or two occupants. There they sit, honking their horns to express their frustration at the traffic collapse they helped to cause. It is an absurd condition and something must be done about it.
But what exactly? Of course we have to decarbonise our cities as much as possible – but what should we do the school run in or go to the supermarket instead? Walking is impractical, bicycles and motorcycles are dangerous, e-scooters are illegal AND dangerous, and none of them offers much space for your shopping or your offspring.
Meet the blunder
Believe it or not, the answer could just be a 20 year old vehicle with three wheels and a matte orange paint job. Meet the blunder.
The Carver is a vehicle that was built according to a simple design principle: to bring one or two people cheaply, safely and without rain through a city – and all of it wonderfully. He also has a party trick that sets him apart from other small electric cars such as the Renault Twizy or Citroen Ami: Drive into a curve, turn the steering wheel and the Carver SECURES like a motorcycle into the curve. This primarily results in unprecedented stability in a vehicle less than a meter wide. But almost as important is that it makes the person behind the wheel giggle. It’s a lot of fun to drive.
And for the driver, the advantages of such a vehicle over a large passenger car for getting around the city are almost endless. Not only are you having a lot of fun, but you also spend next to nothing on fuel. Best of all, you’ll spend much less time standing thanks to the Carver’s ability to squeeze your way through motorcycle-sized gaps.
To me, the great appeal of the Carver and other microcars is the fact that if they got popular, they would make our city streets far less inhospitable to the array of wonderful electric micro-mobility devices that have hit the scene. Electric bikes, scooters, skateboards and unicycles would be much safer to ride if they no longer had to share the road with an endless row of two-ton giants with blind spots.
What do you think? Are such microcars the answer to our city traffic nightmares? Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments section.
More fully charged:
Photo: Fully charged
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