(PhysOrg.com) -- It's a car. It's a bike. It's the winner of the Double Challenge project sponsored by Citroen. It may look like a prop from the move TRON, but in actuality it is an ultra-compact electric vehicle. Somewhere between a motorcycle and a car this vehicle is light, aerodynamically efficient, economical and cheap to build. The project, which was designed by Heikki Juvonen, a masters degree students at London's Royal College of Art, is called E-3POD Antistatic.
The bike sets the driver in a large wheel, sans the hub of course, along with two other wheels, which provides for a greater amount of stability than a traditional two-wheeled motorcycle could hope to have. The E-3POD was designed as an entry-level electric vehicle for young professionals and students. It has a specific focus of the daily commute and other short distance trips, as the designer expects that most users would still rely on more traditional fossil fuel based combustion engines for trips of any long distance. At least in the near future.
The design in low weight thanks to several features such as the shared suspension for both front wheels, the choice of a scratch resistant plastic in the vehicle canopy, and a rear wheel that doubles as a supportive structural element. Some choices, such as the plastic canopy are only possible because of the electric motors, which produce less vibrations than their gasoline and diesel fueled counterparts.
The vehicle also has some unique advantages on road as well. Unlike a motorcycle this design allows for an isolated personal space, and the vehicle can also tilt slightly in order to get a better grip on the road during turns or lane change maneuvers. In addition, the compact size of the vehicle may make parking in crowded urban areas easier, though probably not any less expensive.
Heikki Juvonen, the designer of the E-3POD, in addition to getting the bragging rights of having his design chosen as the best overall design by representatives from Citroën's Style Centre and Electric Vehicle Development Team, will also receives a six month employment contract to at the PSA Design Centre in Paris, France.
Explore further: Shedding light on solar power