Sunday, January 24, 2010

Driving home in a future winner?

Less wheels,less size and gasoline free – at least somebody is thinking outside the box

By Mark Richardson

Is this the future of personal transportation?
The Triac electric commuter, seen here at the Detroit auto show, is the brainchild of Mike Ryan, president of California-based Green Vehicles, a two-year-old company with 15 staff so far.
It's a three-wheeler, which classifies it as a motorcycle and so gives it automatic access to almost every High Occupancy Vehicle lane. So it's a speedy commuter.
(I say "almost" because the Ontario Ministry of Transportation refuses to accept its mistake and still prohibits motorcycles with a single rider in the HOV lanes. I believe it's the only jurisdiction in the entire world to be so dumb.)
Being officially a motorcycle also means that there's no crash testing needed, which saves Green Vehicles a pile of start-up cash.
But because the driver is completely enclosed, the West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington don't require its operators to wear a crash helmet or even have a motorcycle licence. After all, it has a steering wheel and pedals for the power and brakes.
Ryan wasn't sure about laws in the other states, or Canada.
The two-seater, $25,000 Triac can travel at up to 130 km/h for up to 160 km on a five-hour charge.
There are four on the road now and 16 more spoken for. Ryan wants to make 1,000 a year. Don't look for them in Canada anytime soon.

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