Lean­ing into the fu­ture

Pi­ag­gio, KTM to de­velop nar­row track trikes and quad bikes with wheel tilt­ing

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

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.

PHOTO: CORDIS

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.

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