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Tilting 'bullet-proof’ 150mph 3-wheel EV … Urban Jet or urban myth?

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February 2, 2010

The Urban Jet from Cherban ... impressive stats for a concept car but will this jet projec...

The Urban Jet from Cherban ... impressive stats for a concept car but will this jet project get off the ground?

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The race to produce a narrow, tilting, hybrid motorcycle/car/EV continues with another boutique manufacturer throwing its hat into the ring. This time, its Cherban who has released plans of its concept Urban Jet, a 150mph three-wheeler EV that is said to be able to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than 3.5 seconds. It’s a two-seater (bobsled style – though hopefully not as scary) that leans up to 45° into corners, and is reminiscent of the Dutch Carver which unfortunately went bankrupt, even after a very favorable review on Top Gear (see it briefly in our video on the Nissan Landglider and other narrow track vehicles).

The specs on the rear-wheel-drive Urban Jet, which supposedly has the power to rival a supercar, appear more of a wish list at this stage rather than a fait accompli. For instance, the Urban Jet website reports that the body would be made from the same material as bullet-proof vests – Aramid fiber, and that the vehicle’s safety cell would pass FIA rules for Formula One chassis.

To give the vehicle that motorbike handling “feel”, especially when cornering, steering is via a handlebar arrangement and its dashboard features an 8-inch monitor with MP3, 3G and iPod connectivity.

We believe one of the biggest issues for the Carver was that it absolutely chewed through front tires and although the Urban Jet is lighter, it has an even skinnier front wheel, so one has to wonder how this three-wheeler has overcome the problem.

According to Cherban, the front suspension is anti-dive, a-arm, swing arm; while the rear has independent wishbones. Hydraulic discs on the front and rear bring the Jet to a halt and also contribute to the regenerative energy capture during deceleration.

Powering the Urban Jet is a polymer lithium battery (26kWH), which weighs almost half of the vehicle’s total 312.5lb (142kg) – overall weight is 770lb (350kg). Life span of the batteries is more than 1,500 cycles with recharging via plug-in and an inboard charger: 110V, 16A or 22V 16A mono. Full charge can be achieved in 150 minutes, which should allow the vehicle to travel roughly 220 miles (350km).

The Urban Jet’s dimensions are: L: 11.15ft (3.4m) x W: 2.8ft (0.85m) x H: 5ft (1.55m), which Cherban says means it can fit two Urban Jets in a parking space. This would appeal to many motorists who find city parking virtually impossible or have run out of garaging space at home.

The Urban jet is enclosed which means protection from the weather and there’s no need to wear a helmet. While in convertible mode the vehicle has a top speed of 60mph. The trunk has a 20 gallon capacity.

The company says it will never perform any restyling or modification to the Urban Jet, rather, it will replace the model in its entirety, should technical developments necessitate it. Nor will it market any other type of land vehicle under the Cherban brand.

Each Urban Jet will come with a unique plate stating: “Built by Cherban for … “

No word on pricing yet as Cherban searches for sponsors for its adventurous project.

10 Comments

The Urban Jet is eerily remeniscent of the BMW CLEVER, although the back end and leaning system is different - CLEVER & Carver both use rams to tile the passenger copartmet relative to the rear module. The leaning system is like the BMW SIMPLE, or Carlos Calleja's motorcycle trike conversions, amongst others.

I.E., there is nothing new under the sun!

The rear mudguards need to allow room for suspension and tilting movement, but why isn't the front wheel enclosed, to improve aerodynamics (thereby increasing range...)? Is this a free-tilter, or is the tilt assisted in some way?

axelowtl
3rd February, 2010 @ 04:08 am PST

Why is there a "race" to build these things? Who are their target market? And at 130mph, it's a good way to reduce your population! It may be "bullet proof", but I doubt it's Chevy Suburban proof!

Ed

Ed
3rd February, 2010 @ 12:08 pm PST

until these machines move to either a wider front tire or two front tires (in a tadpole configuration; one wheel in back, two up front), they will continue to use up front tires quickly on account of all of the turning and braking forces that go through the front tire.

poidog
3rd February, 2010 @ 03:46 pm PST

What is wrong with these designers? For years now it has been well understood that the way to make a 3 wheeler that will handle and give good service life is to put the two wheels in front. But no, they keep trying to make a "sleek" single front wheel machine. It won't work. Stupid.

randyleepublic
3rd February, 2010 @ 04:29 pm PST

I don't think front tire wear was the biggest issue with the Carver. The biggest issue was the ridiculous price tag.

Gadgeteer
3rd February, 2010 @ 04:49 pm PST

Because of such restrictive safety laws and mandates we have now for cars licensed in the US we miss out on all the cool micro-cars that are now or have been introduced in Europe and other places. The only alternative is the 3-wheeler vehicle registered as a motorcycle (much less restrictive). I agree with other commentors here saying that the tadpole configuration with two steering wheels in front is a much better platform. I just wish those that attempt to manufacture something concentrate more on economy instead of building rocket sleds, delivering a good-looking vehicle that is at a very moderate price point! Cushman did a pretty good job years ago but they also used the delta configuration which made them tippy on corners. My favorite was the sixties model "Trucksters" with the little pickup bed in back and a enclosed cabin with round windshield!

Will, the tink
3rd February, 2010 @ 11:33 pm PST

Glad to see another company increasing exposure for this style of aerodynamic vehicle. I am waiting for the big players to catch on and make highly efficient, fully faired motorcycle/trike.

I agree about the 2 wheels at front and 1 behind design as being more efficient. This is common knowledge in the velomobile designing community.

Also agree with you william about focusing on economic performance rather than acceleraton and top speed. It does not take much power to get all the usable speed (highway speed) you need if the fairing design minimises wind resistance. This is no better demonstrated than by elite sprint cyclists who generate no more than 2kW of power. The world record for 200m flying start on a normal bike is about 82km/h. On a fully faired bike it is about 132km/h !! Amazing that highway speeds are achieved with less than 2kW (granted there are practical considerations for a commuting vehicle that would reduce the aerodynamics).

TNS
5th February, 2010 @ 09:39 am PST

The designers are clever going with the two wheels in the rear. It's a safety feature.... all the drongos in motocars will acknowledge this machine as a car not a bike if it had only the one wheel out back..

Angelo Constantine
8th February, 2010 @ 09:01 pm PST

The one vehicle of this configuration that I liked, both for size and function, is a single seater with a 400 c.c. engine. It was called The Lean Machine, built by GM in the eighties. I saw this machine at Epcot Center and was quite impressed with its performance. Perhaps tire wear is not an issue with this size of machine.

finman
21st February, 2010 @ 11:44 am PST

It's great! This (link below) is the one I'm driving around Copenhagen everyday built in the late 80ies. It's stats are completely hopeless compared to the new one, but the functionality is superb.!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_U5c74OcsPNU/St2LXa_ckLI/AAAAAAAABEo/-r81fLvPYEY/s400/Mini_el_city_1990.jpg

Christian Marcus
25th February, 2010 @ 03:31 am PST
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