The nephew of famous British innovator Sir Clive Sinclair has designed a prototype three-wheeled electric cycle which he believes will succeed where his uncle infamously failed. Jim Drury has more.
Electric bikes and trikes are increasingly seen as an eco-friendly, safe, way of getting around. British inventor Grant Sinclair says his trike, the Iris, is the future of personal travel. SOUNDBITE (English) GRANT SINCLAIR, CREATOR OF IRIS TRIKE, SAYING: "There's nothing else like this on the market anyway. In terms of other e-bikes this is much lighter weight, it's much safer because it's like sitting inside a large crash helmet. It's much safer, it's much more efficient than a normal bike because it's streamlined. So it glides through the air very efficiently." The exterior is made from expanded polypropylene - used in crash helmets. Inside is a chromoly steel chassis. When riders start pedalling, a 250-watt electric motor is triggered, increasing speed. The 55 kg trike can ride for up to 50 miles, with a top speed of 30 miles per hour. It takes an hour to recharge. In 1985 Grant's uncle, Sir Clive Sinclair, famously launched the Sinclair C5 - an electric trike which sold disastrously. The rider was too low down, unprotected from the elements, while the vehicle's range was poor. Grant Sinclair is convinced the Iris will fare better. SOUNDBITE (English) GRANT SINCLAIR, CREATOR OF IRIS TRIKE, SAYING: "I think the C5 would have a much easier time these days because you have cycle paths everywhere. However, when I 'specced' this product I deliberately made it quite high up, whereas normal recumbent trikes that you see are very low on the ground and it does sometimes feel a little bit intimidating riding in traffic, but not in this product." Still a prototype, the Iris will eventually have a rear-view camera streaming video to riders' smartphones in dashboard docking stations. There's been interest from large-scale manufacturers and Grant Sinclair says by next year, he'll be on the road to global success.