Bizarre all-terrain spider car sprouts tandem and mobility versions
The Swincar still ranks as one of the most magnificently weird and wonderful vehicles I've seen in nearly 15 years writing for New Atlas, and this ditch-straddling electric oddity is now available in street-legal tandem and mobility versions.
In essence, the Swincar is a tilting electric four-wheeler, with a hub motor in each wheel and a "pendulum" suspension system that lets it boogie like a moon buggy over ridiculously rough terrain.
Each wheel gets its own multi-joint suspension arm capable of lifting the wheel well above the belly of the car, making it possible to ride across ditches with the cabin relatively steady as the wheels go banzai out to the left and right.
It's not fast; the original e-Swincar brought a total of just 4 kW (5.3 hp) to the table and topped out at a modest 30 km/h (18.6 mph). But it can lean into turns like a motorcycle, climb gradients steeper than 50 percent, ride laterally along gradients over 50 percent with the cabin level, and split its wheels like nothing we've seen.
Popping over to the website on a bit of a "where are they now" kick, I was happy to discover this French company is still around, and has diversified its lineup a little. It's now available, as originally promised, in e-Spider, e-Spider Tandem and e-Spider Mobility versions.
They're not vastly different; the Tandem has a passenger seat, a separate brake lever for the rear wheels, a bit of reinforcement around the suspension, and 50 percent bigger motors for a total of 6 kW (8 hp).
The Mobility version is targeted at disabled drivers, and offers a reclining rally seat, a safety harness and optional telescopic links to swing the vehicle's articulated legs out to 90 degrees, allowing easy transfer from a wheelchair. The controls are now grouped around the steering wheel and totally hand-operable.
The Swincar family is now available in road-legal models. For French roads, it's MAGA-approved (no, not that MAGA) as an agricultural vehicle and speed-limited to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) on the street. In the rest of Europe, it's been approved as an L6e-A quadricycle, so it could legally go as fast as 45 km/h (28 mph) if it had the grunt, which it doesn't.
Swincar has been expanding its global dealer network, and these machines are now available at a dozen different locations across Europe, plus dealers in Turkey, Dubai, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Several of these dealers also rent them out as "experiences."
Prices start at €12,500 (US$14,200) for the regular e-Spider and €15,000 (US$17,000) for the Tandem. Mobility versions are presumably much more of a custom proposition.
Check out Swincar's "extreme off-road" video below, which still tickles us pink.