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USA: Electric vehicle concepts hint at a three-wheeled future

A showcase of vehicle prototypes at Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research helps us see into the future of urban mobility. Think trikes.

Convincing a nation so steeped in its car culture to think differently about the way we drive is a test of both patience and persistence. But the 2012 Vehicle Concept Showcase at Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research yesterday offered some interesting arguments about how our future personal transportation will better suit our needs.
One feature that may take some adjustment for many drivers is wheel configuration. Only two of the eight vehicle concepts rolled out at the showcase had the tried and true four-wheel configuration — most were three-wheelers. As the makers of Switch Vehicles pointed out, dropping a wheel has its advantages. You only hit a pothole once. And the trikes are legal in the HOV lane — a commuter’s dream.
Every single prototype shown was all-electric. That may induce range-anxiety for some, but as attendees heard many times over during the Stanford event — most trips are only five miles or less. If drivers are able to step out of their comfort zone, these vehicles are perfectly fine for the majority of their driving tasks.
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