Urban Transport

Video review: The Spira4u electric three wheeler

Video review: The Spira4u elec...
Behind the wheel – or tiller – of the Spira4u prototype model in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Behind the wheel – or tiller – of the Spira4u prototype model in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
View 16 Images
The Spira4U's top speed is limited to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4U's top speed is limited to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4U is aimed at provided economical transportation without scrimping on safety (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4U is aimed at provided economical transportation without scrimping on safety (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Test driving the Spira4u in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Test driving the Spira4u in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Test driving the Spira4u in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Test driving the Spira4u in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Test driving the Spira4u in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Test driving the Spira4u in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4u has a decent amount of storage space in the rear (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4u has a decent amount of storage space in the rear (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4u is a one-person vehicle (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4u is a one-person vehicle (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4U uses a set of motorcycle hand controls attached to a tiller bar (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4U uses a set of motorcycle hand controls attached to a tiller bar (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Switches for controlling the Spira4u's lights, windshield wipers, etc. (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Switches for controlling the Spira4u's lights, windshield wipers, etc. (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Behind the wheel – or tiller – of the Spira4u prototype model in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Behind the wheel – or tiller – of the Spira4u prototype model in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4u is light enough to be lifted up and parked on its rear (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4u is light enough to be lifted up and parked on its rear (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4u three-wheeler has one wheel in front and two in the rear (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4u three-wheeler has one wheel in front and two in the rear (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4U has a foam exterior to reduce weight and help prevent injuries to pedestrians(Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4U has a foam exterior to reduce weight and help prevent injuries to pedestrians(Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4U features a lightweight chassis constructed of a honeycombed composite material (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4U features a lightweight chassis constructed of a honeycombed composite material (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4u on display at NAIAS 2015 in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4u on display at NAIAS 2015 in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Spira4u on display at NAIAS 2015 in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Spira4u on display at NAIAS 2015 in Detroit (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
View gallery - 16 images

Spira4u recently announced that is had begun pilot production of its three-wheeled urban vehicle. To be available in both an electric- and a gas-powered version, the Spira4u employs a honeycomb composite chassis and a fiberglass and foam body to achieve a unique combination of economy, safety and convenience. Gizmag took time out from the floor of NAIAS in Detroit to take the Spira4u for a spin.

The US$9,000 electric version of the Spira4u that we drove in Detroit weighs in at around 236 kg (520 lb) and is fitted with a 10 kW (13.4 hp) motor that delivers a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), with the option to add a second motor. It also uses an unconventional tiller steering mechanism. So how does it drive? Check out our video review to find out:

Video Review Spira4U

Visit our gallery for a closer look at the Spria4u, or to get the full story on its development and move into production see our previous coverage.

Product page: Spira4u

View gallery - 16 images
14 comments
14 comments
Rehab
9k and up? thought this would be around 4k plus battery.
Milton
I LOVE gizmag video reviews!
Thanks guys. This thing looks like a BLAST. I love the concept of putting foam on the exterior of the vehicle. Not sure if I like the idea of a plastic-frame or the 3-wheeled design, but I love this thing as a concept. I'd totally scoot around in one.
Shohreh
Too expensive and it only seats one.
Nick 1801
There is a good reason why Morgan 3-wheelers have the single wheel at the back. It's much more stable that way. Jeremy Clarkson showed us all on Top Gear what happens when you drive a 3-wheeler with the single wheel at the front!
Also, the luggage compartment at the back should be a seat, so that you can take a passenger.
Patrizio Rossi
Please call a good Italian designer ....like Pinifarina or Giugiaro ....now it is TERRIBLE .........
Dan Lewis
It's tricycle configured??? UNbelievable.
I thought it was clear to the sentient by now that if one wants to be able to turn corners at any speed, there would have to be 2 wheels up front. This design has failure designed in. Pity, that.
Milton
before we continue bashing the "trike-like" 3-wheel design, I think it would be revealing to see just how quickly this thing could take a turn and whether or not it lifts that front wheel in doing so.
I seem to recall a Nissan race-car that defied the "trike-like" properties. I'm not saying this eco-box (saying that with good intentions) is stable, I'm just saying we should all be asking for proof before bashing the design out of existence.
Grumpyrelic
Loz, this thing is crying out for a SoundRacerV10 and a 600 watt stereo... Seriously, this vehicle makes a lot of sense. I have driven a BSA 650 through an Ottawa winter - snow drifts and all. 3 wheels and a cabin are good things and it's cheaper than the new small Harley. The gas version is best for me. I can't afford a second $14K car but this I can and it will fit in a pickup truck - including the SoundRacer V10.
Steve Weber
I just stripped the batteries off of a delta (single front wheel) trike so I could transfer to a tadpole (single back wheel) after rolling the delta. Fortunately, the roll occurred at about 2 mph, so no major damage or injury. But if it happened at top speed of 45mph, they would have had to scrape me up with a stick and a spoon. Batteries were mounted up over the front wheel motor to hold it down, otherwise it would just break traction. With the nose light on this one, and appears to be only a single rear wheel drive, could be dicey starting on a steeper hill, like we have a lot of in Seattle, because the front will tend to get light and you will have torque steer that the steering will not be able to compensate. I do like the foam/compsite velo idea though.
bergamot69
The concept of an enclosed lightweight 3-wheeler with tiller steering and controls is a pretty ancient one- the famous British 'Invalid Carriage' designed for disabled people and supplied by the Government (always in a very 'institutional' shade of blue had a very similar layout. They were banned from British roads in 2003 as they were considered extremely dangerous.
That's not to say that this design, with more modern construction, will prove dangerous- although I think a 60mph top speed does sound on the high side.
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