Hungarian designers Antro are aiming to introduce a new fuel efficient vehicle to the consumer market by 2012 which (like the recently covered HumanCar) will rely on the muscle-power of driver and passengers as well as a hybrid fuel/electric engine. The designers are also looking to have the three-seater SOLO link up to another to make one vehicle capable of carrying six people.
As more opportunities arise to accumulate wealth in the East, more and more people are being given the chance to own cars which will only add to the world's environmental problems. In order to nip such problems in the bud, Antro has suggested a fuel-efficient three seater where the driver is flanked on either side by a passenger and all three would join forces to propel the SOLO Light using pedals in front of them.
Antro's prototype has been built using a light magnesium alloy/carbon fiber frame and body construction and features electric assist for when the occupants tire or the driver is alone. Photovoltaic cells incorporated in the roof provide the power for the electric hub motors at each wheel and although the current model doesn't have one yet, the designers are aiming to install a fuel engine to give a longer range than the 12 miles or so that the electric motors currently provide. It is intended that the fuel engine will achieve fuel efficiency in the region of 150 miles to the gallon and reach speeds of around 87mph.
SOLO to DUO
Part of the design brief is to make the SOLO modular so that it can be linked to another vehicle to form a six-seater, making the family car that bit more interesting. Antro hasn't made the actual process clear but if the designers can pull it off then having one vehicle capable of splitting into two when required should prove a useful economy and may even serve to help towards lessening inner city congestion.
Of course there might be a problem on a bright, warm sunny day when driver and passengers are in full pelt on the pedals - the large transparent surface area, even if its tinted, would no doubt turn the inside into something of a sweat-box. Incorporating a powerful air conditioning system could make the internal atmosphere a tad more pleasant but at the expense of some of that impressive fuel efficiency no doubt.
The company is also in the process of developing a fuel-efficient, motor and pedal-powered hybird scooter named MOVEO. While patent details are sorted out details are sparse but Antro told Gizmag that it is currently working on the third prototype. We'll keep you informed.