Leaning into the future
Piaggio, KTM to develop narrow track trikes and quad bikes with wheel tilting
PIAGGIO and KTM will co-ordinate a €6,9 million (R93 million) project to build leaning bikes to help decongest European cities.
Piaggo already sells the MP3 leaning trike while KTM has the Freeride electric scrambler.
Under an initiative called Range of Electric Solution L-category Vehicles (Resolve), they will lead a 13-member group tasked by the European Union to develop narrow track trikes and quad bikes with wheel tilting for European cities by 2020.
The two largest bike builders in Europe will work with Bosch and MagnetiMarelli and five universities to make electric bikes to lure drivers out of one person cars and onto smaller electric transport units that emit no exhaust fumes in the city.
The bikes will have 4 kW electric motors and a top speed of 45 km/h. The double tilting wheels up front provides a lot of stability and grip in corners and at a stroke remove the motorists’ fear that the bike will lose grip or slide.
The Community Research and Development Information Service (Cordis) said in a statement this shift in city wheels will not be without challenges, the main one being that most car drivers do not consider bikes either a viable or comfortable mode of transport.
Hence the Resolve mission to make bikes so cheap, safe and easy to ride that only a dunce driver will want to fume in traffic.
Or in Cordis’s more diplomatic statement: “The project will develop components and systems that meet the very low cost requirements for the segment, particularly modular and scalable LV-specific electric powertrains and battery architectures. At the same time the project will deliver an exciting and attractive ELV driving experience by proposing new concepts (tilting and narrow track), while keeping the vehicle energy consumption at very low level.”
Cordis said all these advances will be demonstrated in two tilting four-wheelers, although even cheaper electric scooters will also form part of the programme.
Piaggo is co-ordinating the process, which started with the Horizon 2020 innovation program, an €80 billion initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.
Europe’s mode of citizen transport by 2020. Double tilting wheels up front provide a lot of stability and grip in corners and at a stroke remove the motorists’ fear that the bike will lose grip or slide.