Spira4U The Gas & Electric Powered Honeycomb Composite
The Spira4U prototype first came out six years ago and it arrived as a low cost vehicle to help lessen the amount of deaths on the road each year and it went on to become one of the finalists running for the Automotive XPrize. Now the car has gone into production and the company behind it want to license the design of it around the world.
Production of the Spira4U has started in China and the electric version of it is 190kg, while the gas version of the car is 200kg. Both versions of the Spira4U have the same honeycomb chassis along with a fibreglass body and body panels made from lightweight and recyclable foam. While the car remains the same shape as it did six years ago, the construction of the Spira4U comes with composites that is new along with construction.
The body panels of soft foam are not something that is typically seen in the automotive space. The foam absorbs impacts of course and this makes it safer in an accident. The foam also helps to make the car more aerodynamic in shape and it stands out against other cars as this one is able to float. The composite honeycomb along with foam is such that a lightweight amphibious version of the Spira4U is also being developed.
The gas powered version of the car comes in with a price tag of US$5000 and is powered by a 150cc Wangye motorcycle engine complete with automatic transmission which takes the car to a maximum top speed of 53mph and offers 80mpg with a range of 200 miles from the 2.5 gallon gas tank.
The electric version of the Spira4U has a price tag of US$9000 and it can use either one or two of the 13.4hp motors along with another motor that can be fitted to the back wheel if you want to add it on for another US$1500. With just the one motor you can expect a top speed of 62mph.
The two motors offers 26.8hp total power and Lon Ballard said “We’ve modified the programming of the controller so that it doesn’t spin up the wheels from standstill,” “but everything can be changed and we’re also happy to share the controller program with the buyers so that they can tweak it to their liking.”
With the 10kW motor along with the 144 amp battery pack you should be able to get around 140 miles from it, if you add on a second battery pack for US$3500 this will double the amount you can travel to around 280 miles.
The electric version of the Spira4U has some advantages that the gas version doesn’t have. The biggest of these is the fact that it comes with a reverse gear along with rear facing camera. The controls of the Spira4U are similar to those of a car as the foot brake will operate the three disc brakes and there is a gas pedal operated by the foot.
The Spira4U does come with some interesting benefits for those who live in apartments or anywhere where there is restriction for parking. It is very light weight and so light in fact that the front of the car can be picked up. To make the most of this there is a special pad built into the back of the car specifically so it can be stood upright. Ballard said that eight Spira4U cars can fit into one parking spot stood on their end.The Spira4U is hoping to be on the forecourts at dealerships in the US around the globe soon.