Being able to lean into a corner has to be one of the greatest joys of riding two wheeled transport. Adding more wheels to a bike may increase stability and make it easier to ride, but it also strips that sublime pleasure away. Unless the multi-wheeler can tilt too. Poland's Jacek Skopinski has developed an interesting four-wheeled electric scooter called the EV4 that does just that.
"Moving within Warsaw, which from year to year is becoming more and more jammed, I lacked alternative means of transport, which could easily get around street jams, Skopinski told Gizmag. "I could simply not accept the daily, pointless and costly waste of time. I began to think about the development of an innovative vehicle that would allow for faster urban transport."
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On his checklist of must-haves, the head of light aircraft design, construction and repair firm Aero-Service set about making a must-have checklist, which included that the vehicle must be faster than a bicycle, be cheap to run yet be a high quality product, be small enough to ride on bike lanes, in parks and through forest tracks, and get from A to B faster than a bicycle but emission free. He decided on an electric drive four-wheeler for stability, but one that wouldn't be too large for use in narrow cycle lanes.
"From the very beginning the EV4 was designed and constructed just like an airplane," revealed Skopinski. "Hence, I aimed at a low weight. Nearly all components are made of highly durable aeronautical aluminum alloy. An interesting fact is that the main frame of the vehicle is riveted just like in the case of airplanes. This approach makes the main frame even more durable and lightweight."
He went on to explain that the EV4 has an adaptive suspension system featuring two bicycle shock absorbers with adjustable damping and welded aluminum wishbones designed to adjust to the shape of the terrain at any given moment and keep all four wheels uniformly on the ground. Its two 500 W electric motors, geared belt drives and 36 V Li-ion battery pack in either 20 Ah or 40 Ah configurations offer a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) and a range of between 30 and 50 km (18.6 - 31 miles) with the 20 Ah battery installed and up to double that with the larger pack on board.
The four-wheeler sports hydraulic disc brakes on each of the four wheels ensure short stopping distances. It's 150 cm long and 60 cm wide (59 x 24 in) and benefits from a height-adjustable seat. Sans battery pack, the EV4 tips the scales at 41 kg (90 lb), which increases to 47 kg with the 20 Ah battery installed and 53 kg with the 40 Ah pack. There's a twist-grip throttle and ride information, such as speed and remaining charge, is displayed on a handlebar-mounted LCD display.
Currently in its fifth iteration, the EV4 is now available to buy for €5,000 (US$7,000). It can be seen slaloming along backstreets, covered carparks and public parks in Poland in the video below.
Update March 2: Jacek Skopinski has advised revised pricing for the EV4, as follows:
New base price of €3,300
Optional 36 V 20 Ah PB gel battery for a range of about 30 km – €285
Optional 36 V 20 Ah Li-ion battery – €715
Optional 36 V 40 Ah Li-ion battery – €1,430
Optional drive and battery computer – €180
Source: Aero Service