As safe as a car, as agile as a motorbike - Poland’s car of the future
What do you get if you cross a car with a motorbike? The answer is not a two-wheeled car but rather the Triggo - an electric car that its Polish inventors say combines the manoeuvrability of a motorbike with the advantages of a car.
And here’s why. The vehicle has four wheels, a steering wheel, air-conditioning, a seat with a headrest, seatbelt and an airbag. So far, so car. But, while cornering it leans like a motorbike, and an innovative collapsable design makes it as easy to park as a two-wheeler.
Triggo’s Rafał Budweil said: “The key to our construction is a mechanism for changing the geometry of the chassis. For driving at high speeds of 25-90 km/h, the Triggo’s front suspension folds out.
“However, at speeds below 25 km/h, Triggo folds in its suspension, and in that configuration is narrower than many motorcycles.”
As a result, the Triggo only requires a fifth or a sixth of the parking space of a standard car.
But that hardly even scratches the surface of what futuristic features the designers have introduced to the Triggo. The use of drive-by-wire technology, already familiar to the aviation industry, means that with minimal adaptation the Triggo can become an autonomous vehicle. "The procedure of adding autonomy to the Triggo is actually attaching one extra information system to the existing network,” Budweil said. And then the Triggo will be able to go anywhere at the driver’s command.
The pre-production prototype should be driven on Polish roads by the summer of 2018, with the vehicle’s market debut is scheduled for 2019-2020. But it will not be available for purchase. Instead, the idea is to rent it out either by the minute or as part of a car-sharing platform on the principle of “mobility as a service.”
Although the Triggo is an electric vehicle, the user will not need to worry about connecting it to a socket. To charge the battery it will drive into a special station where the staff will exchange the flat battery for a charged one. The whole process should take no longer than filling the tank of a regular car.
The vehicle, developed with the help of three grants from the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), has been awarded the “Polish Product of the Future” distinction. For now, a research prototype has been prepared, which is being tested by Warsaw’s Automotive Industry Institute (PIMOT).
“Our ambition is for the Triggo to become a Polish export blockbuster,” Budweil said.