Like many guys, when I was about 13 or 14 I was into drawing the cars of the future. To my hormonal and inexperienced cauldron of a prepubescent brain, the cars I drew were clearly superior to the dull people-movers that adults seemed to appreciate. But in reality, the cars I imagined we’d all be driving when I got to be 30 looked more like they plopped right out of an episode of Robotech than something anyone other than a prepubescent teenager could take seriously.
Which is why, when I saw the pics for Honda’s newly unveiled 3R-C EV, I thought, “Wow! That is something my 13 year old self would have thought was totally wicked!”
The 3R-C, set to debut at the Geneva Auto Show, is a three-wheeled electric concept car that represents Honda’s vision of the future for small EVs–fitting somewhere in the nether land between a motorcycle and a car.
Although there are scant few details right now, Honda says the concept’s batteries and electric drivetrain would be mounted low between the 3 wheels to keep the center of gravity low and improve stability. The vehicle has a clear canopy that folds down to cover the cockpit while it’s parked; and when the three-wheeler is moving, the canopy transforms into a windshield.
Honda says the driver is afforded significantly more protection in the 3R-C than in a motorcycle due to the “enveloping” canopy, bodywork and doors, which “reduce the threat from side impacts and improve weather protection.” The 3R-C also has some lockable trunk space on the front, which Honda claims provides “significant” storage for luggage and cargo.
Granted, the 3R-C is only a concept, but it represents what I see as a strange emerging design theme among many major auto manufacturers to present ultra-skinny green-mobiles that look weird. We also saw it last year with Nissan’s Land Glider concept and VW’s L1. Honestly, I don’t have anything against ultra-skinny ecocars… far from it actually… I might even buy one myself. But I just wonder why the manufacturers have to present them in such an abnormal package? If the goal is to spur acceptance, why make them look strange?
Autocar UK speculates that “The trend for this type of vehicle is thought to be related to potential legislation in the US that could split lanes on multi-lane roads in two for use by these narrow single seaters.” What potential legislation that is, I don’t know. Even if that’s true, and three-wheelers are the trend of the future, let’s make some that the average person could drive around without feeling foolish.
In the meantime, let your 13 year old self revel in the Robotech coolness that is the 3R-C.