January 7, 2009 Designers from The Creative Unit have spent time working with Bombardier, so it's no coincidence that the work they've done on the Higgins-Aube ENERGYA looks a lot like a two-seater version of a Can-Am Spyder. But the purpose of this Canadian concept is quite different; since three wheelers are registered as motorcycles in many states, and motorcycles have fewer regulatory restrictions imposed on them, the ENERGYA is designed to bring racecar levels of ultra-low weight, big power and massive grip to the road that would be impossible if it was registered as a car. As such, it's got a much wider front wheelbase, enclosed seating, roll protection and double the horsepower of the Can-Am roadster.

It's in early design stages yet, and we have no idea how to pronounce its name, but the ENERGYA seems an interesting interpretation of the ever more popular three-wheeler format, in that it aims to create the best open-wheel performance car it can, while distancing itself from the motorcycle concept in all ways but the regulatory.

By using only three wheels and achieving motorcycle classification, the design team can do away with heavy and unwanted mandatory car design features in pursuit of the project's lofty performance targets: 0-100kmh in less than four seconds and lateral acceleration in excess of 1G. The two-seater is expected to weigh as little as 350kg, and pack a 200hp performance motorcycle engine. As Lotus and Caterham have proven, light weight can be as much of a performance consideration as big power - and this puppy will be well under half the weight of the 901kg 2008 Elise, with about 10 horsepower more than the base-model Lotus engine. That's some serious power-to-weight advantage.

While the ENERGYA only exists as a CAD design at this stage (despite a few hilarious mockup photos showing one sitting in a carpark - see the gallery), the team say it could be production-ready in 18 months with the right investment. With the world's purse-strings running pretty tight at the moment, leisure vehicles like this one might have to sit on the shelf for a while, but we hope at least that a prototype can be built.

Loz Blain

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