After years in development, Sway Motorsports has unveiled a prototype of its tilting three-wheel electric scooter, one with a rather sportier bent than the tilting electric three-wheelers we've seen before, such as Sidam's Xnovo. And though this is a relatively low-powered machine, judging from the videos this thing isn't without agility and zip. Clearly the Sway is pitched squarely at the leisure market.
The scooter is the spare time project of IDEO toy-designer and Rhode Island School of Design alumnus, Joe Wilcox. Prior to his current stint at IDEO, Wilcox worked at NASA's Johnson Space Center and MIT on various space-oriented projects. I'm not one for arguments from authority, but it's probably fair to say that Wilcox knows a thing or two about design.
We got in touch with Wilcox to find out about the Sway scooter's spec, and though the final details could change (it's not due for release until 2013), Wilcox was able to reveal some particulars.
The prototype pictured here is powered by a 60-V, 20-Ah lithium iron phosphate battery pack, which gives the vehicle a range of about 10 miles (16 km). Sway Motorsports intends the production model to include a 60-Ah pack for a range in the order of 30 miles. The wheels are driven by a 3500 W hub motor in the Sway's solitary rear wheel, giving the 230-lb (104-kg) scooter a top speed of 40 mph (64 km/h). The Sway's overall dimensions are 52 x 35 x 40 inches (1.32 x 0.89 x 1.02 m), and its three wheels are 10 inches in diameter.
All the lighting from the headlights to the turn signals (plus some decorative strip lighting) is LED-based.
"Notable about this design is the patented placement of the batteries in the wing/foot platform that extends back from the bottom bar of the linkage," Wilcox told Gizmag - an innovation which keeps the battery away from the tilting mass and helping to keep the Sway's center of gravity as close to the road as possible.
As for that tilting mass, the scooter's tilting steering mechanism is perhaps its most eye-catching feature, and is probably best observed in motion (see the video below). There's no final word yet on pricing, but one can expect the Sway to be rather more expensive than its more staid, tilting brethren, if only due to tighter production runs.
Source: Sway Motorsports
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