January 7, 2009 Designers from The Creative Unit have spent time working with Bombardier, so it's no coincidence that the work they've done on the Higgins-Aube ENERGYA looks a lot like a two-seater version of a Can-Am Spyder. But the purpose of this Canadian concept is quite different; since three wheelers are registered as motorcycles in many states, and motorcycles have fewer regulatory restrictions imposed on them, the ENERGYA is designed to bring racecar levels of ultra-low weight, big power and massive grip to the road that would be impossible if it was registered as a car. As such, it's got a much wider front wheelbase, enclosed seating, roll protection and double the horsepower of the Can-Am roadster.
It's in early design stages yet, and we have no idea how to pronounce its name, but the ENERGYA seems an interesting interpretation of the ever more popular three-wheeler format, in that it aims to create the best open-wheel performance car it can, while distancing itself from the motorcycle concept in all ways but the regulatory.
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By using only three wheels and achieving motorcycle classification, the design team can do away with heavy and unwanted mandatory car design features in pursuit of the project's lofty performance targets: 0-100kmh in less than four seconds and lateral acceleration in excess of 1G. The two-seater is expected to weigh as little as 350kg, and pack a 200hp performance motorcycle engine. As Lotus and Caterham have proven, light weight can be as much of a performance consideration as big power - and this puppy will be well under half the weight of the 901kg 2008 Elise, with about 10 horsepower more than the base-model Lotus engine. That's some serious power-to-weight advantage.
While the ENERGYA only exists as a CAD design at this stage (despite a few hilarious mockup photos showing one sitting in a carpark - see the gallery), the team say it could be production-ready in 18 months with the right investment. With the world's purse-strings running pretty tight at the moment, leisure vehicles like this one might have to sit on the shelf for a while, but we hope at least that a prototype can be built.
Loz BlainView gallery - 8 images