Swincar tilting 4-wheel-drive "spider car" makes light work of bizarre terrainView gallery - 20 images
We love our tilting vehicles here at Gizmag, but we've never seen anything quite like the Swincar Spider before. It's a remarkable tilting 4-wheeler concept that boasts absolutely ridiculous rough terrain capabilities. Each wheel has its own electric hub motor and is independently suspended on a spider-like limb. The result is a vehicle that leans into fast turns like a motorcycle, but can also happily go up or down a 70-percent gradient, ride across a 50-percent gradient that puts the left wheels a couple of feet higher than the right ones, or ride diagonally through ditches that send the wheels going up and down all over the place like a spider doing leg stretches. It looks absolutely bonkers.
Frenchmen Pascal Rambaud, Jerome Arsac and Thierry James have been working away on their bizarre all-terrain vehicle for some eight years now. It now looks almost production ready and includes some really nifty ideas.
First up is the tilting, independent suspension arms that give each wheel an almost surreal degree of vertical and tilting movement. The Swincar can attack terrain you'd never dare point an ATV at, handling extreme gradients and huge ruts with total ease and displaying a remarkable resistance to tipping over. On smoother surfaces, it leans into turns like a Piaggio MP3, but with a wider and more stable base and the additional security of an extra rear wheel – so it should be a blast to carve corners in.
Then there's the steering. It sports hydraulically-actuated 4-wheel steering and braking that should make it quick and nimble to turn, as well as giving each wheel a degree of flexibility to deal with rough and rutted situations.
Finally there's the drive system. Each wheel has its own motor, either 1 or 1.5 kW at this point, driven from a battery pack under the driver's legs that stores 2, 4 or 6 kWh depending on specifications. So against the average sporting ATV this early Swincar is a low-powered vehicle, but moving to more powerful motors and larger batteries wouldn't be difficult. Nor would fitting bigger wheels that'd give the Swincar the ability to get over the odd small log or two.
Still, this is an absolutely unique, silent and emission-free recreational vehicle concept. It seems more or less production ready and the Swincar team is seeking investors, resellers, distributors, supply and industrial partnerships to take things to the next level. They're planning a 2-seater (presumably tandem) version as well as potentially a version with joystick steering that might suit disabled riders.
It's one of those rare devices that looks like it would be almost as much fun on the average drive on a smooth surface as it would be when you found some really gnarly, rutted, trenchy trails to take it over. We're looking forward to taking a ride in a production version one day!
Take a look at this extraordinary vehicle in action in the Swincar promo video.