Automotive

Bizarre all-terrain spider car sprouts tandem and mobility versions

Bizarre all-terrain spider car...
The Swincar's remarkable suspension system handles tough slopes with aplomb
The Swincar's remarkable suspension system handles tough slopes with aplomb
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The Swincar's remarkable suspension system handles tough slopes with aplomb
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The Swincar's remarkable suspension system handles tough slopes with aplomb
Gratuitous alpine scenery shot
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Gratuitous alpine scenery shot
Tandem version places a back seat behind the driver and gives the vehicle a little extra power
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Tandem version places a back seat behind the driver and gives the vehicle a little extra power
Mobility version can optionally be fitted with additional pivots to swing the suspension arms out to 90 degrees, enabling easy wheelchair transfer
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Mobility version can optionally be fitted with additional pivots to swing the suspension arms out to 90 degrees, enabling easy wheelchair transfer
Pendulum suspension system keeps the cabin as level as possible even when the wheels are negotiating crazy terrain
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Pendulum suspension system keeps the cabin as level as possible even when the wheels are negotiating crazy terrain
View gallery - 5 images

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.

Pendulum suspension system keeps the cabin as level as possible even when the wheels are negotiating crazy terrain
Pendulum suspension system keeps the cabin as level as possible even when the wheels are negotiating crazy terrain

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.

Gratuitous alpine scenery shot
Gratuitous alpine scenery shot

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.

SWINCAR E-Spider - Extreme Off-Road 2

Source: Swincar

View gallery - 5 images
10 comments
10 comments
EH
Really cool - though I hope it can go a little faster downhill. A cargo rack big enough for a frame backpack would be a nice addition. Whats the range and battery capacity, though? Maybe a roll-up solar roof / awning would be a possibility for extending the range in the wilderness.
Ornery Johnson
Surprised they haven't been bought up by a larger company.
paul314
This could open up enormous new wilderness opportunities for the mobility-impaired, which would be really cool as long as the wheels don't do too much damage to the landscape.
Username
I have no idea when I would ever use one, but I'm convinced I absolutely need one!
ADVENTUREMUFFIN
May want to consider the environmental and phycological impacts incurred with this machine on those who like their wilderness untrammeled and unrutted. Taking this important segment of the population into account proactively will assist in funding and acceptance of this unique and cleverly designed vehicle. Having video where this spider car is legal and not a disturbance to nature or nature lovers is one step.
Dan Lewis
I can see where investing types might be wanting in.
I wonder if one might be able to generate enough power through pedal generation to drive all four electric motors.
Probably not, or only at a slow roll.
With all of the mechanical higher rpm bits just at the wheels, the other vitals have more options.
I'm ready for the amphibious version.
StanislawZolczynski
To all those concerned about environment or a practical use, what about a single operator rescue vehicle getting injured out of no-offroad area.
ljaques
Pretty darned cool. I like Jerry's notawheelchair, too, at 1/3 the price.
EH, charging a 5kW battery with an 80-100W solar panel would take days.
JeffK
Designated wilderness areas in the U.S. do no allow any kind of motorized equipment whether transportation or tools like chainsaws. Helicopters are sometimes allowed to pick up injured people if access is so restricted that ground access is impractical or it's a time critical rescue.
Dan
If I'm going to spend that much money. I'll buy a weight shift trike with a delta wing and fly over the country side.