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11282006
Chris writes –

“I just took this pic as I was walking down the street here in Palo Alto. This Maker has built an electric 3-wheel transport device, and he/she is charging it as it sits parked in the street! I don’t know who it is….”

This thing is awesome. Ok, Makers – let’s see if we can figure this out — any ideas?

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. DidntYouHear says:

    I saw this trike thing parked in Benicia, CA, quite a ways away from Palo Alto. I wonder what the range/speed of it is?

  2. dpteeter says:

    I’ve seen this parked in front of the guys house in Mountain View. He lives near the intersection of Burgoyne St and Wagner Ave.

  3. figgalicous says:

    A cleverly designed A-frame allows the (possibly over-large) solar grid roughly 90º motion to face the sun as much as possible when not in motion. When in motion, the rear has supports to lock the grid @parallel to ground. The maker is clearly inspired (and a fine welder). I wonder though about it’s handling. Also, (depending on it’s top speed) the solar grid could potentially catch air pressure pockets beneath it. This could have an impact on performance.

  4. cheesy says:

    Is it street legal?

  5. WonderWheeler says:

    Probably. Don’t have the current Vehicle Code, but it used to allow motorized bicycles (mopeds) up to 3 wheels, and 1 hp or so if electric powered. A one time nominal fee for license, although i don’t see the license on the back. Requires a motorcycle license test and oddly enough, insurance.

  6. Vrogy says:

    That looks like an Etek powering the right wheel- I wonder if there’s another on the other side.

    Eteks are beastly motors- 15hp peak IIRC.
    Two, with a thin, light frame like that… at least 50MPH.
    some quick napkin numbers confirm that, ballpark.

    Also, I’d say he’s running at least 60V, at which Eteks friggin pwn. Cooling isn’t an issue. ;)

    Is there an original picof this thing? Flickr it, pt?

  7. philliptorrone says:

    thats all i have

  8. nvrau says:

    In Alabama the vehicle would qualify as a kit vehicle and would be allowed to operate on the road without testing… but this is Alabama.

    On another note, retired University of Alabama professor Dr. Passerini from the New College program invented the worlds first solar powered car in the mid 70′s. I had him as a professor and every year he would build a new car, usually with students assisting. He would then race with the cockroach looking cars in the Solar Challenge and win every race. Although the race organizers wouldn’t allow him to “officially” participate after winning the first year, so he just drove the course unofficially and beat the cars.

    Now that he is retired, he’s looking for investors so he can start producing these cars. Even better, if you want the plans, to build it yourself, he’ll give them to you.

  9. WonderWheeler says:

    Kit cars are limited in California to a limited number per year. People stand in line on January 2nd, and by the end of the day the permits are gone. Something like a few thousand for a population of thirty million.

  10. lakata says:

    I live near this guy. He lives on Burgoyne Ave in Mountain View, and he usually parks this vehicle on the road. I’ve talked to him a couple times. He also built a large pyramid vehicle for Burning Man.

    I could post more pictures of it. Normally the solar panel lies horizontally when driving, but he can tilt it when parked to get maximum sun.

  11. lakata says:

    I live near this guy. He lives on Burgoyne Ave in Mountain View, and he usually parks this vehicle on the road. I’ve talked to him a couple times. He also built a large pyramid vehicle for Burning Man.

    I could post more pictures of it. Normally the solar panel lies horizontally when driving, but he can tilt it when parked to get maximum sun.

  12. WonderWheeler says:

    re kit cars:

    I was incorrect, the number of new kit car registrations allowed per year in California is 200! According to my wife, who works as a smog tech.

    This three wheel unit could be registered as a motorcycle as it has 2 or three wheels. This avoids the kit car problem.

  13. WatcherInTheWaste says:

    I met the owner at the Electric Automobile Association meeting in Palo Alto (big surprise) to which he had driven the vehicle (yes, it’s street legal). I had the opportunity to examine it and spoke to him about it. He designed and built all of it except the front end, which he took from a motorcycle. He said I could give his name and contact information. He is Jerrold M. Karmin, he gave his e-mail address as wwwj.karminboat@cs.com, but he prefers phone calls. His phone numbers are (650) 969-1168 and cell phone (415) 505-3101. He seems happy to talk about his creation.

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