Shark Wheel proves it's cool to be square with mini electric cars for kids
Back in 2013, California-based startup Shark Wheel hit Kickstarter with a very odd-looking cube-shaped skateboard wheel. Now the company has supersized the design for a pair of funky electric cars for kids – the Shark SUV and the Shark UTV.
The Shark Wheel may look like some sort of workshop hot plate accident or a plastic cube that's been left out in the baking Californian Sun for way too long, but the flowing wave shape of the almost square wheel is that way by design.
Said to be based on the shape of a shark's jaw – hence the name – each wheel is roughly a curve-cornered square when viewed side-on and is made up of three ridged sections that appear to roll snake-like when viewed head-on and create a sine wave pattern where the edges make contact with the ground.
Though you might expect a somewhat bumpy ride, the wheel actually offers the same kind of smooth rollin' you'd get from a circular wheel, but is reported faster on smooth surfaces while also proving grippy on rough, loose or wet terrain. In fact, the company boasts that numerous tests in the lab and the real world have proven the design to outperform circular wheels in almost all categories.
The Shark Wheel has so far been produced in different sizes for skateboards and even found its way onto luggage, but wheelchair, farming and scooter applications are also being looked into.
For its latest crowdfunding effort, the company has supersized the wheels and attached them to an electric SUV and an electric UTV, for kids – the former aimed at youngsters aged 1 to 5 years, and the latter for drivers between 2 and 8 years.
The 39.3 x 25.6 x 28.5-in (99.8 x 65 x 72.3-cm) SUV seats one child and the 51 x 33.5 x 36-in (129.5 x 85 x 91.4-cm) UTV will seat two, and both models feature 10-inch Shark Wheels with spring suspension at each wheel.
The SUV sports two 35-W electric motors while the UTV comes with two 40-W motors, both offering a one button start and high/low speed options, as well as forward and backward drive. Colorful LED running lights have been included for additional visual pop, and there's a Bluetooth music player to blast out appropriate driving songs. The 12-V/7-Ah battery in both versions should be good for up to 45 minutes of use for every 8 hours on charge.
There's no indication of how fast these Shark cars will go in the given specs, but the demo vids show relatively slow going so it probably won't be as wild a ride as Tesla's Cyberquad for Kids. However, parents who worry about their youngsters causing all sorts of mayhem can wirelessly control the vehicles using a handheld remote.
The Shark cars are currently at the working prototype stage of development, and Shark Wheel has turned to Indiegogo to bring the electric kids cars to production. Pledges for the Shark SUV start at US$289, while the Shark UTV comes in at $489. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in November. The video below has more.
Source: Shark Wheel