Since Nicholas Negroponte first came up with his landmark teething ring visualization of the coming together of communication, computing and content, the term convergence
has become the uber buzzword. Now there’s convergence going on in the personal transport industry, with the car and the motorcycle morphing as car makers attempt to downsize their vehicles to make them better suited to the world’s increasingly crowded roads. This article begins with Nissan’s tandem two-seat, half width tilting car, the Landglider, and examines all the other work being done around the world as narrow track vehicles seriously begin to make their case.
May 19, 2005 No folks, this is not an optical illusion or a Photoshop-enhanced image - this is the Tango. The Tango is a carbon fibre, two seater electric commuter vehicle that will reach 60mph in four seconds and 150 mph in a few seconds more – a radical, pollution-free solution to the problem of transport in congested urban environments. The first batch of 100 vehicles goes to market next week when actor George Clooney takes delivery of the first US$85,000 pocket rocket to come off the production line. A deal between UK-based automotive technology specialist Prodrive and US-based Commuter Cars Corporation (CCC) has seen the Tango vehicle design taken from prototype form to efficient low volume production in just a few months. Plans call for volume production to follow, at which point the projected price for the car will drop to around US$20,000.
The Tango is an electric car no wider than a motorcycle, with a passenger or luggage space located tandem-style behind the driver. It is so narrow that four Tangos can fit in a normal-sized parking space. Despite its precarious looks, it has a very low centre of gravity and will stop , accelerate and corner faster than almost anything else on the road. It may look vulnerable but it has a carbon fibre body shell and a race-approved roll cage structure which make it a very safe, capable and environmentally responsible vehicle.