Automotive

Swincar tilting 4-wheel-drive "spider car" makes light work of bizarre terrain

Swincar tilting 4-wheel-drive ...
Swincar's ridiculous degree of independent suspension freedom allows it to keep a driver upright over some very strange terrain
Swincar's ridiculous degree of independent suspension freedom allows it to keep a driver upright over some very strange terrain
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Swincar's ridiculous degree of independent suspension freedom allows it to keep a driver upright over some very strange terrain
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Swincar's ridiculous degree of independent suspension freedom allows it to keep a driver upright over some very strange terrain
Swincar - capable of handling a 70% slope head on, and travelling across a 50% slope sideways
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Swincar - capable of handling a 70% slope head on, and travelling across a 50% slope sideways
4-wheel steering and a tilting body allows Swincar to lean into corners like a motorcycle
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4-wheel steering and a tilting body allows Swincar to lean into corners like a motorcycle
Swincar is a heck of a climber
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Swincar is a heck of a climber
Swincar makes a comfortable ride out of tough angles
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Swincar makes a comfortable ride out of tough angles
Swincar - looks almost like a wheeled spider
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Swincar - looks almost like a wheeled spider
Swincar makes light work of tough descents withl braking, electric drive and steering on all four wheels
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Swincar makes light work of tough descents withl braking, electric drive and steering on all four wheels
Swincar concept diagram
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Swincar concept diagram
Swincar concept diagram
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Swincar concept diagram
Swincar concept diagram
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Swincar concept diagram
Swincar concept diagram
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Swincar concept diagram
Swincar's wild suspension system looks absolutely bizarre over variable terrain
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Swincar's wild suspension system looks absolutely bizarre over variable terrain
Swincar tilts into turns a little like a motorcycle, which should make hard cornering a lot of fun
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Swincar tilts into turns a little like a motorcycle, which should make hard cornering a lot of fun
Swincar's extraordinary capabilities are best demonstrated on tough, sloping terrain
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Swincar's extraordinary capabilities are best demonstrated on tough, sloping terrain
Swincar looks like a hoot to corner hard in
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Swincar looks like a hoot to corner hard in
Swincar - tough underside looks like it could do with some extra ground clearance
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Swincar - tough underside looks like it could do with some extra ground clearance
Swincar on an alpine adventure
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Swincar on an alpine adventure
Swincar - perfectly comfortable when the left wheels are two feet higher than the right ones
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Swincar - perfectly comfortable when the left wheels are two feet higher than the right ones
Trench-like terrain causes Swincar to do some bizarre things
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Trench-like terrain causes Swincar to do some bizarre things
Swincar - strong resistance to rollover, but the seat back acts as a roll bar in an emergency
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Swincar - strong resistance to rollover, but the seat back acts as a roll bar in an emergency

We love our tilting vehicles here at Gizmag, but we've never seen anything quite like the Swincar Spider before. It's a remarkable tilting 4-wheeler concept that boasts absolutely ridiculous rough terrain capabilities. Each wheel has its own electric hub motor and is independently suspended on a spider-like limb. The result is a vehicle that leans into fast turns like a motorcycle, but can also happily go up or down a 70-percent gradient, ride across a 50-percent gradient that puts the left wheels a couple of feet higher than the right ones, or ride diagonally through ditches that send the wheels going up and down all over the place like a spider doing leg stretches. It looks absolutely bonkers.

Frenchmen Pascal Rambaud, Jerome Arsac and Thierry James have been working away on their bizarre all-terrain vehicle for some eight years now. It now looks almost production ready and includes some really nifty ideas.

Swincar - capable of handling a 70% slope head on, and travelling across a 50% slope sideways
Swincar - capable of handling a 70% slope head on, and travelling across a 50% slope sideways

First up is the tilting, independent suspension arms that give each wheel an almost surreal degree of vertical and tilting movement. The Swincar can attack terrain you'd never dare point an ATV at, handling extreme gradients and huge ruts with total ease and displaying a remarkable resistance to tipping over. On smoother surfaces, it leans into turns like a Piaggio MP3, but with a wider and more stable base and the additional security of an extra rear wheel – so it should be a blast to carve corners in.

Then there's the steering. It sports hydraulically-actuated 4-wheel steering and braking that should make it quick and nimble to turn, as well as giving each wheel a degree of flexibility to deal with rough and rutted situations.

Swincar's extraordinary capabilities are best demonstrated on tough, sloping terrain
Swincar's extraordinary capabilities are best demonstrated on tough, sloping terrain

Finally there's the drive system. Each wheel has its own motor, either 1 or 1.5 kW at this point, driven from a battery pack under the driver's legs that stores 2, 4 or 6 kWh depending on specifications. So against the average sporting ATV this early Swincar is a low-powered vehicle, but moving to more powerful motors and larger batteries wouldn't be difficult. Nor would fitting bigger wheels that'd give the Swincar the ability to get over the odd small log or two.

Still, this is an absolutely unique, silent and emission-free recreational vehicle concept. It seems more or less production ready and the Swincar team is seeking investors, resellers, distributors, supply and industrial partnerships to take things to the next level. They're planning a 2-seater (presumably tandem) version as well as potentially a version with joystick steering that might suit disabled riders.

It's one of those rare devices that looks like it would be almost as much fun on the average drive on a smooth surface as it would be when you found some really gnarly, rutted, trenchy trails to take it over. We're looking forward to taking a ride in a production version one day!

Take a look at this extraordinary vehicle in action in the Swincar promo video.

Source: Swincar

Swincar e-Spider

26 comments
William H Lanteigne
So, what are the engineering barriers to installing, say, a 500cc ICE to replace the battery pack?
xock
William, the electric motors are hub motors like the ones you can install in most bicycles. The ICE would have to be used just as an electric generator as the design has no transmission and no easy way to implement one that I see. You could use an ICE per wheel, sort of an ICE hub motor but there is none now that I know about, think of the torque and stresses and then syncing all motors. So you could replace the battery with an ICE generator plus smaller battery as range extender but no direct power to the wheels.
Pete0097
It would be great as a vehicle to explore Mars with. The thing needs a generator to make it practicle as an off road machine unless the batteries can keep it going for several days at full power.
Wolf0579
An ATV wheel chair!
Mirmillion
Beautiful concept but they forgot one thing...it will still get high-centered (clearance not mentioned)unless they can force one or more wheels to move in a downward direction to compensate for angle of departure where the diagonal direction is not available (such as trail or tight corner). Great job!
boomer
A true French vehicle with that much suspension travel.Think Citroen or the Renault 2CV...A really nifty concept and I bet there would be some practical uses too...
the.other.will
A concept crying out to be scaled up.
CaptD
These would be popular as a fun ride or even racing similar to go-cart tracks. PS: All Gizmag article should have the estimated cost of the item reviewed since without that, the articles are much less informative!
Galen Sjostrom
... is that Steven Spielberg driving it in the video??
godscountry
very nice,It looks to still have problems with becoming high centered on steep angles on both entry and departure,nothing that cant be worked out.