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Spira4u Microcar Enters Production, Has a Foam Body and Floats

While Elio Motors is still quiet about when we’ll be able to buy its efficient reverse trike, the Chinese already started producing a very similar, but cooler three-wheeled micro car that uses a honeycomb chassis and foam body panels.
Spira4u microcar 7 photos
Spira4u microcar enters productionSpira4u microcar enters productionSpira4u microcar enters productionSpira4u microcar enters productionSpira4u microcar enters productionSpira4u microcar enters production
It’s called the Spira4u and it represents the hard work of Lon Ballard, an engineer from the University of Illinois who wanted to create a safer, lighter and more efficient vehicle for everyday use.

Now, the 2015 Automotive XPrize finalist car entered production somewhere in China (because cheap production probably) and it comes with both gasoline and all-electric powertrains.

The Spira4u is built on a honeycomb composite platform and has a fiberglass body with recyclable lightweight foam panels, which are 8-inch thick at the front and 4-inch on the sides and rear. You won’t have a problem with accidentally ding it in a parking lot as the foam absorbs impact forces like a sponge.

And as a bonus, the amount of foam used for the body panels along with the rest of the lightweight, sealed construction allows the Sky4u to float just like a tiny little boat. However, you’ll need a paddle to navigate your way on the water as there is no propeller.

Power sources and special features


Instead, the basic $5,000 version is powered by a gasoline-injected 150cc Chinese motorcycle engine which is bolted to an automatic transmission allowing the 440 lb (200 kg) microcar reach a top speed of 53 mph (85 km/h) while offering 80 mpg (2.9 l/100 km). This means its 9.5 liter gas tank will take you 200 miles (320 km) away.

In the opposite corner, the $9,000 electric model is motivated by a 13.4 hp (10 kW) motor, weighs 520 lb (236 kg) and reaches a top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h). Range on a full battery is said to be about 70 miles (115 km), but for $3,500 you can get an extra battery pack to double it.

There’s also the option to fit it with a secondary electric motor, which makes it go a bit faster. Charging the batteries can be done at any household 15 amp 110 or 220 V power outlet and is done in about two hours.

Well, it’s not as stylish and modern as the Elio, but it offers similar efficiency and best of all, you can park it upright thanks to a special plate at the back. Yes, the front is so light you can grab it and tilt the car on its bottom.

 

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