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Electric Car Sighted on Highway - Who Makes It?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the welcome-to-the-21st-century dept.

Toys 124

moophus managed to spot an interesting vehicle on the roads: "Spotted: one electric vehicle on the highways of Atlanta, Georgia. Sighted around 6:30pm EDT, going south on I-85, traveling ~60mph (had a cool hum). It was a single seater, three wheeled wonder. Can anyone identify make, model? Any details on this bugger, like: range, efficiency, top speed, acceleration, cost, and cell type? I could only get several pictures which didn't turn out too well, since I had to gamma correct two of them. Another interesting thing that I've heard about electric cars: they have purposely put in noise makers in the wheels (like those plastic tri-cycles back in the day) because they just ran too quiet to be safe. Is this true?" The pictures didn't turn out too badly, as you can definitely make out much of the shape of this thing. It's more like a motorcycle than a car, but it still looks interesting enough. Hopefully more vehicles like this will be making their way on to the markets (and the roads) sometime soon.

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124 comments

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Try... (1, Informative)

Stone Rhino (532581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910859)

A Google Image Search [google.com]

Re:Try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2911018)

The photos are of me! (driving my new Blutek 2001). Some bastard used flash photography on my face while I was driving.

Watch your back when walking on the street, moophus, or you'll soon be hearing the humm of death!

I could only get several pictures (4, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910879)

"Spotted: one electric vehicle on the highways of Atlanta, Georgia. Sighted around 6:30pm EDT, going south on I-85, traveling ~60mph (had a cool hum)"

"I could only get several pictures"

Is anyone else worrried about people driving at 60mph snapping away?

Re:I could only get several pictures (1)

Score0, Overrated (550447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910891)

The pictures were taken from the passenger's side.

Re:I could only get several pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2911393)

That's even more worrysome!

Re:I could only get several pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2910999)

I'm more worried about the driver in the "electric" car - not only is he looking directly at the camera (3rd picture), but it looks like he might be talking on a cell phone at the same time.

Re:I could only get several pictures (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911070)

I'd like to be the guy working at the car pound when this little critter gets towed in after a good crash. "Does anybody have a can opener ?"

Re:I could only get several pictures (1)

Jack_of_Hearts (135367) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911262)

Not if we were smart enough to read the article and realize he was parked.

Re:I could only get several pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913557)

Worried? Yeah, I'm worried. Worried that some nerd with a electric car fetish might like my car and blind me with his digicam.

--
Spaz!

Re:I could only get several pictures (2, Informative)

vanyel (28049) | more than 12 years ago | (#2916053)

Is anyone else worrried about people driving at 60mph snapping away?

I've had a number of people take pictures of me while driving my sparrow down the road, it's very much an attention getter. I've had it over 70, though with the short wheelbase, the steering gets a bit twitchy at that speed. I saw one, albeit slightly modified, do the 1/4 mile at 86mph in just over 15 seconds at the EV Drag Races in Woodburn, Oregon. Mine wouldn't do burnouts like that one would, but it's nearly as fast, definitely fun to drive.

The biggest problem is the belt drive --- a $100 belt that likes to break every few thousand miles, which leaves you stranded (it's not field replaceable), and it's something of a "tinkering machine". But when it works, it's a blast.

Is it even street legal? (0, Troll)

flikx (191915) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910880)

It looks like it has a license plate, but that thing shouldn't be street legal. Especially considering how unsafe such a tiny vehicle would be on the highway.

Three wheels shouldn't be legal on any highway, nor two for that matter. I can completely understand why Mr. Bean is always smashing up that three wheeled monstrosity. This isn't "welcome to the 21st century", this is a step backward to the 1890's. Pure hydrogen gleaned from fuel cells is the future of electric personal locomotion, not antiquidated chemical/electric storage systems.

Re:Is it even street legal? (1)

Stone Rhino (532581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910895)

fuel cells don't make hydrogen, they combine it with oxygen to make water and energy (same reaction as burning it)

Re:Is it even street legal? (1)

flikx (191915) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910974)

I never said that they 'make' hydrogen. It's painfully obvious that they store hydrogen. And they have the potential to store a hell of a lot more chemical energy than cells that produce electricity.

Keeping pure hydrogen around is bulky and dangerous, that's why it's a much better idea to store hydrogen in a compound and regain it later. The trick is storing it in a compoud which doesn't require much energy to break down; compared to the energy produced by combining hydrogen with oxygen.

Re:Is it even street legal? (2, Funny)

Stone Rhino (532581) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910994)

"Pure hydrogen gleaned from fuel cells"
From dictionary.com:
glean \Glean\, v. i. 1. To gather stalks or ears of grain left by reapers.
And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers. --Ruth ii. 3. 2. To pick up or gather anything by degrees.
As you can see, you DID say that they made hydrogen. Fuel cells dont act as the source of the hydrogen, they use the hydrogen.

Re:Is it even street legal? (1)

Mulletroll (544539) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911007)

You can drive with two wheels on the highway, why not three? Of course a helmet is usually required for the former..

Re:Is it even street legal? (1)

Golden Eagle (49328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912492)

Back in the day when Beyond 2000 was on, they occasionally covered small electric vehicals like these.
I remember it being mentioned that one of them was legally considered a motorcycle (maybe because of the three wheels, not sure).
And for those people saying this looks unsafe, I'd guess that it's safer than a real motorcycle (however safe you think that is).

Re:Is it even street legal? (2)

Dancing Tree (536870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911045)

Great, so go to the Corbin Sparrow website (it is a Sparrow) and find out about fuel cell options for it.

As far as two and three wheeled vehicles on highways go, I would happily drive one of those down the road. I am a motorcyclist and have never had any problem on the highways avoiding scared and poorly skilled drivers of 4 wheelers and up.

And yes Dorothy, it is street legal.

Re:Is it even street legal? (2)

larien (5608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912842)

Yup, there are very unsafe, especially for any small mammal who thinks hiding between the lights will save it. They ain't called "hedgehog killers" for nothing...

Re:Is it even street legal? (1)

buttmonkey13 (537479) | more than 12 years ago | (#2915877)

actually those things are only street legal when licenced as motorcycles (at least here in WA) as a traditional trike. thus I think the owner would have to take the test at the dmv like the rest of us. After that you are free to dash your brains on the pavement!!

Re:Is it even street legal? (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918774)

This isn't "welcome to the 21st century", this is a step backward to the 1890's. Pure hydrogen gleaned from fuel cells is the future of electric personal locomotion, not antiquidated chemical/electric storage systems.

Absolutely, and I wouldn't want to be in this vehicle surrounded by soccer moms in SUVs. I'll stick with my trusty and rugged 1976 Dodge Ram, thank you very much.

Now, prior to modding me down or flaming me because you disagree with me, I'm a BSc EE. So, unless you're capable of explaining to me - mathematically, no less - how a ferrous laminate core in saturation will behave, I suggest you sit down and shut up.

Unfortunately, I think most Slashdot readers have a problem with reality. They're conditioned to hard disks that double in capacity every 16 months and processors that double in speed every 18 months and have been doing so for the 15 years they've been alive.

However, they fail to understand that battery technology is mature, or that the electric car is not a new idea being stifled by the big mean oil companies.

Edison built an electric car in the 1890s, before the internal combustion engine (or any other technology) had emerged as the way of powering cars. Many other people tried it, too. Electric cars of the 1890s weren't too different from the electric cars of today - big pile of lead-acid batteries (which some modern electric cars use), electric motor(s) driving the wheels directly, some even had simple regenerative braking. And yet the rickety and cumbersome internal combustion engines of the day still took over, for much the same reasons as the gasoline engine still rules today: electric cars simply are not practical.

Let's look at Los Angeles as an example, since they've got millions of commuters and a smog problem.

Remember California's power crisis in the summer of 2000? Rotating blackouts, etc? How do you think that's gonna be when 10,000,000 people are plugging in their electric cars every night? That power has to come from somewhere, you know.

So, since SoCal really doesn't have enough water to build too many more hydroelectric dams, the electricity to recharge the cars will have to come from either coal or nuclear power plants. Forget the solar cells, wind and wave power; they still haven't graduated from the realm of high school science fair projects and the whimsey of Bachelor of Arts in English Literature people who think they can solve the world's problems.

With either coal or nuclear, you have the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome. I don't think political pressures would allow sufficient power plants to be built close enough to L.A. to recharge all those cars without transmission (power line) losses wasting more energy than you're actually using.

Net effect? If electric cars start to catch on, start buying candles; the laws of supply and demand suggest that electricity will become very expensive.

The cars themselves are an issue, too: a comparatively small container of gasoline is dangerous enough. Electric cars will have to be packed to the tits full of efficient batteries to maintain the kind of range people need from their cars. And the more efficient the battery, by necessity, the more nasty the chemicals it's got inside it. Fender-benders will mean haz-mat team calls and chemical burns, as batteries are ruptured onto the highway. Gasoline is unpleasant and flammable, but it's relatively benign compared to the sulphuric acid in a typical car battery (1890s technology), let alone the bizarre concoctions in a modern highly efficient battery.

I'm not too keen on driving around in a car with raw hydrogen on board, either. Hydrogen sweats through cast iron tanks like acetylene, and is far more flammable. I don't feel like being incinerated the first time someone cuts me off on the 405.

Yup. I'll stick with my internal combustion engine, thank you very much. My 1976 Dodge Ram burns ethanol, methanol and gasoline very happily with only minor adjustments between fuel types.

Re:Is it even street legal? (1)

flikx (191915) | more than 12 years ago | (#2919499)

Yup. I'll stick with my internal combustion engine, thank you very much. My 1976 Dodge Ram burns ethanol, methanol and gasoline very happily with only minor adjustments between fuel types.

Right there is a good example of clean, efficient transportation. Until chemical/energy storage becomes more efficient, a clean IC engine is the way to go. Bonus points for multi-fuel.

On a similar note, I have a 1974 Dodge Dart with a 383. With no catalytic converter, and no emissions equipment whatsoever, it passed the IM inspection with better marks than my wife's poorly tuned toyota tercel.

We got rid of the tercel for obvious reasons, as rebuilding that would have been a mess. Smaller isn't better. Clean running is.

Re:Is it even street legal? (3, Interesting)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2920308)

Right there is a good example of clean, efficient transportation. Until chemical/energy storage becomes more efficient, a clean IC engine is the way to go. Bonus points for multi-fuel.

Heh. My Ram is hardly efficient. It's got a 400 and gets about 7 MPG on whatever I pour down the tank.

But the point is well taken, and when I slap a Slant-6 and A-833 four speed with overdrive manual transmission in there, I'll be running about 25 MPG. Not bad for a brand-new full-size pickup truck, let alone one that is 25 years old.

As for the fuel flexibility, that's the beauty of older cars. Stick an oxygen sensor into the exhaust system and a meter under the hood. Make sure your carb has a soldered brass float, not a plastic one. Replace your fuel pump with an aftermarket hi-perf pump, and the little 1" long sections of hose on your fuel filter. Pour in the methanol, tune and time for best meter readings, and take her cruising. Ideally, you should get a cam ground for the new fuel and play with your ignition timing curves, but they both burn similarly enough to gasoline that the engines run perfectly happily and cleaner than the law requires 'em to.

On a similar note, I have a 1974 Dodge Dart with a 383.

Very nice! I've also got a 1970 Dodge Dart and a 1974 Valiant Brougham. They're both 4-door. The Dart is a little granny car with that great front end. Since its motor isn't original, I think I'll put the big block from my truck in there so that I can have a bit of a sleeper. The Valiant is like a miniature New Yorker, born of the oil crisis: smallest car Chrysler made at the time, but with a gorgeous crushed velour and leather interior. Oh, and shag carpeting; it was the 70s.

With no catalytic converter, and no emissions equipment whatsoever, it passed the IM inspection with better marks than my wife's poorly tuned toyota tercel.

Yup. Few of the tree-huggers who promote catalytic converters know that it reduces gas mileage which causes more gas to be burned and therefore more pollutants to be released. They also don't understand the basic chemistry behind it, and how it is that cataclysmic converters help to cause acid rain. But they're all happy, sitting around in healing circles, playing folk guitar and slapping themselves on the back for being good people.

What a crime. Think of how nice the exhaust from a modern fuel-injected multivalve car, running without a catalytic converter, would be.

Re:Is it even street legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2921705)

Yeah, I guess "tree huggers" are to blame for the problems you're having killing the environment in precisely the way that you want to.

Every other kid has an asthma inhaler or is on some kind of allergy medication, but don't let that stop you from putting a bigger gasoline engine in your 2-ton pickup truck and hauling ass.

Re:Is it even street legal? (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2922787)


Yeah, I guess "tree huggers" are to blame for the problems you're having killing the environment in precisely the way that you want to.
Every other kid has an asthma inhaler or is on some kind of allergy medication, but don't let that stop you from putting a bigger gasoline engine in your 2-ton pickup truck and hauling ass.

Running on 50% ethanol, I put out less H2SO4, less NOx and less CO than a fail for a NEW Toyota RAV4 and only marginally more unburnt HC than the average new pickup truck, according to my last emissions test. So I guess my rigorous tune-up schedule keeps a few kids off inhalers.

Building an engine for performance is simply a question of making it burn fuel as efficiently as possible. Even if you've only taken high school chemistry, you should still be able to see that the point at which an engine produces the most power is also when it produces the least emissions. And I've got a lot of money invested in maintaining that stoichiometric ideal.

So, how's that oil-burning Hyundai Excel of yours, anyway? Yeah, it's cleaner than your VW Microbus with the tie-dye paintjob and black stain over the exhaust pipe. Feel good about yourself, driving that to environment rallies?

Go take your bachelor of arts and your Bjork CDs and make out with a birch. Come back to discuss it with me when you understand a little chemistry, physics and engineering thermodynamics.

Re:Is it even street legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2922884)

I hate tree-huggers. I say, fuck the trees. If god can't provide us enough tree's, then he doesn't mean us to have enough trees. What ever god provides is all we should use. Like my 94 ford f250. It has a 450 in it, and it ge about 5mpg. I can afford the gas, so who gives a fuck if I spend MY hard earned money on fuel. God is the "mother nature" that tree-huggers like to talk about. Just like I said before, if God doesn't provide it, he doesn't mean us to have it.

Warning GOATSE.CX link in STORY!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2910902)

The link in the story is just a cleverly disguised redirect to goatse.cx through a well-known hole in yahoo.

Pleae retract this story!

DO NOT CLICK ON LINK IN STORY BODY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!.

Sparrow (4, Informative)

Score0, Overrated (550447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910925)

Is it a corbin sparrow [eevolutionmotors.com] ? Looks v.similar and they're Atlanta based.

Re:Sparrow (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910947)

I saw a web interview about the sparrow once (wish I coudl remember where), man that thing looks cool. They also make other electric cars... [corbinmotors.com]

Re:Sparrow (2, Informative)

Score0, Overrated (550447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910962)

If it is, then the information you want is

range : 30 to 60 miles
top speed : 60mph officially. This user got 80mph [evworld.com]
acceleration : "a bit poor" [evworld.com] or surprisingly brisk [westerndriver.com]
cost : $15000
cell type : 13 Optima sealed, lead acid cell batteries

Re:Sparrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2910985)

This picture of a sparrow [veva.bc.ca] has the same dimples on the wheel arches as can be seen in the moophus's third photo.

Re:Sparrow (2)

mlinksva (1755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911015)

What makes you think Corbin's in Atlanta? Last I heard (a couple years ago in a San Francisco Chronicle story) they were in Hollister, CA, the hinterland of silicon valley. Their website seems to confirm [corbinmotors.com] . I've seen a couple parked in SF, never seen one moving.

Re:Sparrow (1)

mlinksva (1755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911044)

Nevermind, eevolution is Atlanta-based, though they're just a Corbin dealer [corbinmotors.com] .

Re:Sparrow (1)

Score0, Overrated (550447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911046)

okay ... e*evolution motors, a Corbin dealer, is in Atlanta.

Yes, it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913564)

You are correct, Sir. It is a Corbin Sparrow. They have been around for a few years now but, haven't exactly taken the world by storm.

This is due to the rather limited specifications. But, their lack of populatrity is particularly due to their high price and un-appealling appearance, compared to conventional vehicles and the more recent hybrids. The Corbin makes the new VW Bug look like a beauty queen.

Looks kinda like a Messerschmitt (1)

BCoates (512464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910950)

Hard to tell, but that car bears a passing resemblence to a Messerschmitt [google.com] . Wacky little car, that was/is.

--
Benjamin Coates

Re:Looks kinda like a Messerschmitt (1)

Spamlent Green (461276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2920374)

I was just going to say that -- the front end looks just like those old post-war Messerschmitt 3-wheel bubble cars, though the profile doesn't really continue the illusion, unfortunately.

(Those of you who have no idea what this was, check out the link above, or think back to the 'personal transport' from the movie Brazil, sans rocket engine.)

Go Electric Cars, Go! (1)

Noodlenose (537591) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910957)

Whatever it is (and I don'y know), it is sexy enough to attract the interest of slashdot, which is unbelievably important to make these cars attractive to a new, ecologically aware generation of traffic users.

..and whatever that "gentleman"was saying about the 3 wheeled Robin Reliant: it has an impeccable safety record and still has a large following in the UK. It is even build again [reliant-motors.co.uk] .

Re:Go Electric Cars, Go! (2)

Howie (4244) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913230)

3 wheeled Robin Reliant: it has an impeccable safety record

I distinctly remember seeing a 'That's Life' (the UK consumer affairs program of the time) special about steering failures in Reliant Robins - Reliant is the manufacturer (not Robin), who also made the interesting all-fiberglass Scimitar coupe/estate [scimweb.com] .
Here it is: Possible loss of steering column control [glass.co.uk] . They may be generally safe (I don't know), but loss of steering is not 'impeccably safe'!

Re:Go Electric Cars, Go! (1)

boatboy (549643) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913752)

The new, ecologically aware generation might want to keep in mind that electricity still comes from somewhere, often coal power plants. Depending on the source of electricity, electric cars may actually be less efficient and merely redistribute pollution. Not to mention those lead-acid batteries got to be stored somewhere (such as a landfill or local lake) when they die. Not saying the internal combustion engine will never go away, just the ecologically aware often aren't as aware as they claim.

Re:Go Electric Cars, Go! (2)

Bryan Andersen (16514) | more than 12 years ago | (#2914431)

The electricity may have had to be produced somewhere, but even the dirtiest of power plants is much much cleaner and more efficient burner of fossile fules than the cleanest of regular automobile engines. Do your homework and actually gather the figures instead of replaying the kneejerk reactions of others.

As for the lead acid batteries, almost all are recycled now. The few that aren't are because of idiots who don't realise that they can be exchanged for $$$ at the recycler. The recyclers want that lead, plastic, and acid back as all can be recycled. The only part of a lead acid battery that isn't recycled is the label.

Re:Go Electric Cars, Go! (1)

boatboy (549643) | more than 12 years ago | (#2915334)

Do your homework Just like you apparently did in this post. Yes Ma'am. http://cartalk.cars.com/Mail/Electric/ [cars.com] -another good kneejerk reaction http://michele.usc.edu/105b/electrochemistry/batte ry.html [usc.edu] -Problems with using batteries & fuel cells http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Shop/3589/effic iency.html [geocities.com] -Maybe Stanley had it right to begin with... As for the lead acid batteries, almost all are recycled now Ah, yes they go to that happy, magic place where batteries go in dead and come out alive, and leave absolutely no pollution in the air or water. Again, I'm not saying electric cars and recycling are bad- just there's more to being 'environmentally friendly' than riding around in over-blown PowerWheels [fisher-price.com] .

Re:Go Electric Cars, Go! (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2917753)

I'd like to get an electric for the pure "geek" of it all, but power storage is a big hole right now. Yeah, I know that 60-100 miles handles most commutes, etc. But you can only guess what happens to a car full of batteries in the dead of winter in a parking lot all day while you're at work.

Bought an Insight a month ago, and while it's still gas, the car is SULEV and the dash has more than enough geek factor for me for now.

BTW, we also own a VW wagon for driving the family around, but the round-trip to work every day is done in the hybrid. For most families, it really breaks down to "both cars do a commute during the day, one car drives the kids around at night and on weekends." If not for the "storage issue", most households in the US would do fine with one electric. That was the clincher for me and the Insight: one of the reviews said "makes a great second car," which is exactly what we were looking for.

Not Human (1)

PoiBoy (525770) | more than 12 years ago | (#2910973)

I think it's a UFO! The guy looks like a Martian, and it's bright red like everything from Mars!

(whimper) (-1, Troll)

fm6 (162816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911002)

Now we're playing trivia games? Cliff, are you aware that this is Slashdot, not a Fidonet node [thedirectory.org] ?

Yeah, I know, I can filter out Cliff or Ask Slashdot (basically the same thing). But there are people out there who ask interesting questions. Just not as many as Cliff thinks there are.

Re:(whimper) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2911028)

>> Cliff, are you aware that this is Slashdot, not a Fidonet node [thedirectory.org]?

Sounds like an "Ask Slashdot" question to me...

Re:(whimper) (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911073)

That reminds me. Cliff, what's your favorite color [stone-dead.asn.au] ?

Really an Ask Slashdot OR ..... (2, Interesting)

mrpull (112590) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911021)

a carefully crafted free publicity stunt by E*Evolution? Money is tight for everybody lately -- it almost makes sense.


BTW...
crafty use of the marquee tag on their site :)

Re:Really an Ask Slashdot OR ..... (0)

leenix usr (411904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913570)

Considering they have a waiting list for the things, I suspect it was a ligit question.

Sat in one (2)

Euphonious Coward (189818) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911058)

My ex-boss had one, in Palo Alto. (Our VP of Sales was the son of the founder.) One of the great things about electric cars (in some parts of California anyway) is you can park them almost anywhere, for as long as you want, and they won't get ticketed.

My boss's name was Gumby, and his car was orange, so we were careful never to call it Pokey.

The Sparrow by Corbin Motors of San Francisco (5, Informative)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911121)

Moophus,

I've had my eye on those vehicles for 2 years :)

The car you are looking at is called the 'Sparrow'. [corbinmotors.com] . It is manufactured by Corbin Motors [corbinmotors.com] of San Francisco (actually, their main factory/headquarters is in Hollister, CA, 30 miles south of San Jose; but few people know where Hollister is). It's a one person vehicle. It has a 60 mile range and can go up to 60 mph. Cost is $14-16,000 It's available in North America, Europe & Asia.

I've sat in a Sparrow, but I've never driven one. It's a comfortable, but spartan interior.

Corbin Motors deal mostly with motorcycles, but has this small electric vehicle business on the side (and good luck to them!).

Their main showroom is located 1.5 blocks from the 'South Park' area in South of Market in San Francisco. They are surrounded by a bunch of former dotcom buildings (and a few surviving dotcoms, like mine :) .

Re:The Sparrow by Corbin Motors of San Francisco (1)

cymen (8178) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911969)

Actually most people who buy their motorcycle products think Corbin has gone overboard into the Sparrow business and as a result is neglecting their original customers. So perhaps they make/sell Sparrows with a sideline in motorcyle products these days (lots of custom seats, etc). See rec.motorcycles and various other places for information.

you know your a nerd when... (1)

krs-one (470715) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911298)

Nerd 1: "Let's go race our cars!"
Nerd 2: "Cool, I'll get my pimpin' Sparrow."
Nerd 1: "Hold on a sec, lemme finish this kernel compile."

-Vic

i thought electric was cool but (3, Insightful)

rakerman (409507) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911362)

now I'm thinking hybrid gas-electric is more practical, at least until we get to fuel-cell cars. Not that it isn't great there are lots of options now, but I still think something like the Toyota Prius [toyota.com] or the Honda Insight [honda.ca] would work better for combined city/highway driving.

Re:i thought electric was cool but (1)

hawkstone (233083) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912232)

Honda is going to start selling a Civic hybrid this spring. 50 mpg, normal size Civic. See here [vtec.net] for the press release and for the pictures [vtec.net] .

I personally would find this a huge step up from the Insight, and probably the Prius as well.

Re:i thought electric was cool but (1)

Tower (37395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2914008)

What would be nice is a VW TDI/electric hybrid... the TDI models get >50mpg as it is, and with the boost from the electric, could be rather nice. Not to mention that you can run it on biodiesel, and there is more passenger space, cargo room, and comfort than the Civics...

Cool cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913587)

These are just toys.

If you want to talk about a real car, let's talk about the Cadilac Escalade. POWER, luxurious comfort, style, that's what it's all about. There's no shortage of oil and global warming, caused by man, is a myth.

Re:i thought electric was cool but (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2917657)

Bought the Insight in December. Looked at the Prius, but it cost more, had lower mileage,
and had a four-month wait in my area (Midwest US).

Might have gotten the Toyota if four seats was a priority, but my wife and I already have
a wagon for driving our daughter around, and if you're like most people, you're just driving
alone to and from work everyday, anyway. Back seat is a waste of weight.

Actually, the kicker with my Insight is the CVT. With an infinite number of gears, it's always
in the right gear. For the Insight, the electric sort of acts like a turbo, supplying extra power
when needed. It actually levels out the "stops and goes" so well that it gets better MPG
in the city than the highway (57/56 EPA).

Yeah, there was a price premium for a three cylinder car with an electric motor in series with
the gas, but I tend to think of it as "putting the money where the mouth is".

If you're a real geek, take a look at these cars. The technology in them actually makes getting
to work fun!

-no Sig: I'm new here

Nice car, but the moron is on a cell phone. (1, Troll)

pcmills (83944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911368)

SHUT UP AND DRIVE!

Re:Nice car, but the moron is on a cell phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913571)

Can you blame him?

"Hello, Police? I'm driving on the interstate, but a nerd's following me and he won't stop snapping pictures."

--
Spaz!

do-it yourselfer? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911372)

the DMV would never make such a monstrosity legal in the us...the only reason the smart car is legal (i assume) is b/c it's ideal for european city life. kit cars are exempt from alot of saftey concerns for the driver/passenger. looks a bit like a motorcycle conversion...maybe motorcycle rear end + home-made front contraption. There's plenty of crazy cars made by do-it yourselfers out there, not to mention kit cars. This guy [zzz.com.ru] made his own 3wheeled car out of WOOD. and it's street legal. It's a inline 2 engine, and only weighs ~900 lbs, so it gets anywhere from 55-75 mpg. the picture is pretty neat.

Noise in the wheels. (4, Funny)

whatnotever (116284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2911555)

I sure hope they put noisemakers in those things. Just a few days ago, I was walking past a car that didn't strike me as all that special until it started moving without making noise. It was a Prius, I think. I sort of freaked out and almost shouted, "Dude! Your car isn't making any noise!"

I then realized that if electric cars become more prevalent, I am *so* dead. When crossing roads these days, I'm often in too much of a hurry or just too lazy to look both ways and all that jazz, so I just rely on my ears to hear any approaching bringers of death and/or mutilation. If cars go silent on me, I'll be roadkill in no time!

Re:Noise in the wheels. (2)

funkman (13736) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912889)

Ahhh. Darwin at its finest!

Re:Noise in the wheels. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913599)

Actually.. sneaking up on pedestrians is one of my favorite forms of EV entertainment. Usually I can get the bumper about 2 feet from their legs.. then I honk the horn. Sometime the crunch of gravel under the tires gives me away.

I suppose this isn't the best way to spread the gospal of clean vehicles..

Re:Noise in the wheels. (2)

armb (5151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913951)

> If cars go silent on me, I'll be roadkill in no time!

"Think of it as evolution in action."

In the meantime, I hope if you step in front of a cyclist without looking you don't hurt the cyclist.

Re:Noise in the wheels. (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2917660)

I could be spreading suburban legends here or something, but I thought I had once read that
the electric milk trucks in Europe have little noise-makers on them to avoid this sort of thing.

I know in "deer-country" every has little whistles attached to the bumpers of their vehicles
to avoid a run-in with large animals - everyone loses.

Re:Noise in the wheels. (3, Informative)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918123)

Oh, as someone who repairs electric vehicles for a living, let me tell you how to make a noisy DC motor. Just replace the brushes without letting them seat properly. You will hear a howling loud noise akin to a jet engine spooling up. The commutator/brush assembly is the noisiest part of a DC motor followed by any audible current pulses from the drive. Changing the frequency of the oscillator circuit can be done by the more adventurous hacker and can really make a motor be heard.

Speaking of modifications, these cars are fun and incredibly easy to hack. No nitrous oxide or bolt-ons needed, just a jumper wire! Weakening the magnetic field increases armature current and motor speed exponentially. You can easily spin a DC motor to the point of destruction just by weakening the current through the field coils.

Whatever it is.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2911909)

....it looks extremely gay.

Re:Whatever it is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2912602)

Car manufacturers don't make things look gay. Walking out of a gay bar in broad daylight makes people look gay.

Re:Whatever it is.... (1)

Mr. Foogle (253554) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913183)

I hate that phrase "that looks gay" but in this case, I have to agree. Maybe not "gay". Lame.

Re:Whatever it is.... (0)

fuzbuster (548578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2917603)

it does resemble a penis

hmm (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912093)

We have the same kind of thing driving around in Queens. I always assumed it was some kind of kit thing, but I guess they actually sell complete ones...

Safety? (3, Insightful)

karnal (22275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912306)

Has anyone else taken a few good looks at a vehicle like this and wondered about safety?

I currently have 2 different cars (a 1995 Z28 and a 1978 Cougar) and I worry about SUVs, Trucks etc in my Z28 regularly (not so much with the Cougar, the land shark that it is.) Obviously, my 2 cars definitely don't qualify for the emissions or fuel economy award (not by a long stretch), but I would worry about being in this car, in rush hour traffic, and someone barreling over me with a vehicle bigger than mine (anything bigger than a small motorcycle, anyways.)

They (corbin motors) do have some safety items listed (as far as what's used in the car to make it safer in an accident), but there's no crash data. I'd for one like to see that, but in all honesty, I could see paying about 8-10k for one. A price tag of 15,000USD is a little steep; I would probably go for a used civic or something along those lines for better gas milage, but more safety (at least in the thought that bigger may be better, compared to some cars on the road...)

Any thoughts?

Re:Safety? (1)

minoc (554421) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912860)

In most states, if it has less than 4 wheels, it's legally a motorcycle. I believe that is also true under federal law. Motorcycles don't have any crash test requirements that I know of. It probably is safer than normal motorcycles, though.

Re:Safety? (1)

Mr.Phil (128836) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913132)

I don't know about safer, but if you got in an accident in that thing, at least it would keep most of your parts in the box rather than all over the road as with a motorcycle.

Re:Safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913610)

It seems to me that these things are extremely safe. Why, I don't think it could even scratch my Cadilac Escalade.

Did you hear something?

Re:Safety? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913815)

That was good.. I really needed that laugh this morning!

Re:Safety? (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2917712)

I've posted elsewhere on this item. I bought an Insight in Dec. and also own a VW Passat Wagon, so disclaimers "on".

I think the catch is that it turns into a "bigger gun" concept, along the lines of the Cold War. You know: your neighbors all bought SUVs, so you get one, then when Super-SUVs came along (a la Excursion, Yukon, etc.) you have to get one to stay ahead.

I'm all for safety, but there is a certain point where you're actually saying "to h**l with everyone else: I'm getting the bigger gun."

In my neck of the woods (Midwest US), I routinely drive alongside soccer moms driving alone to work in four-ton Excursions. Maybe we can just ship these things with the airbags already inflated to really protect the occupants. :)

While more weight can be safer, the track record often can be dismal when automakers rely on that weight to supply the safety, hence a high percent of rollovers and other things. Also, driver confidence goes way up, and you end up passing lots of them in the ditches when the snow builds up.

Don't brand me as a environut or anything yet. I'm all in favor of "right tool for the job", but perhaps people are buying too much vehicle "in case" they need to buy a chair.

A formula for safety (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918146)

Electric cars may have something going for them in terms of safety if we can get rid of those massive land barge lead-acid batteries. Even though some cars are light, consider the following:

Weight is inversely proportional to agility.

Agility multiplied by driver skill plus that extra weight equals safety.

A land barge is only safe when the driver has no skill. Marginally at best. This formula may explain why some people seem to avoid accidents and not get hurt, while others are magnets for disasters.

I like this one better :) (1)

patazathoth (443391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2912938)

http://www.go-t-rex.com/francais/neuf/neuf.html
is a car (in fact more a motor cycle since you need a helmet) that can go really fast and can stick on the road :)

Must be a REAL geek (1)

Mr. Foogle (253554) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913177)

must be a real geek to get THIS excited over the thing:"

It was a single seater, three wheeled wonder.

Gentlemen. You can't put a date in this. Think of it as evolution in action.

Moot point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913550)

Slashdotters can't get dates, anyway.

Re:Must be a REAL geek (0)

leenix usr (411904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913628)

Actually, according to a guy who is selling his [glastar.org] , this car is just the ticket if you are an extrovert or an introvert looking to meet someone new because everyone flocks to the thing.

Seriously though, this is a commuter vehicle -- not an only means of transportation. I'd love to have one. I could probably justify $10-12k to my wife but it would need to be a two seater cost any more.

Forget the car...driver is on a cell phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913376)

Looking at the pics, what amazed me more than the car was the fact that the guy was crammed into that tiny thing while chatting on his cell phone.

He even had a big smile on his face. I can't tell if it's because he's proud of the car, or if it's because he's talking on his cell phone while driving >60mph without a hands-free kit.

Little car go Boom after bouncing off 3 other cars.

Think!! (1)

AciDive (543624) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913386)

Acourding to a woman that works for Ford that I spoke with at the NAIAS Ford is going to release there Electric can called THINK late this summer or early fall.

TH!NK website (0)

leenix usr (411904) | more than 12 years ago | (#2915013)

The car you are referring to is called a TH!NK City. Information can be found here [thinkmobility.com] .

Electric cars don't matter. (0, Flamebait)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913636)

You'll still waste your life away stuck in traffic.

Suckers!

Re:Electric cars don't matter. (1)

yomoma (105008) | more than 12 years ago | (#2914547)

Well, in most places (CA for sure) you get to ride in the carpool lane with electric cars and motorcycles.

Re:Electric cars don't matter. (2)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918571)

Yeah, but when you're sitting in traffic in an electric, you're just sitting in traffic.

When you're sitting in traffic in a gas-powered car, you're burning fuel, getting zero mileage, and pumping hydrocarbons into the atmosphere for no reason.

A picture of the purchase (2, Informative)

foofboy (7823) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913758)

Here [evclubsouth.org] is a series of pictures of the gentleman purchasing the sparrow.

You can keep the Sparrow... (1)

LRJ (71361) | more than 12 years ago | (#2913806)

I want their Merlin Roadster [corbinmotors.com] .

Well, it's not a Think... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2913969)

I was shopping for a car back in November and noticed this [thinkmobility.com] at a Ford dealer here in San Diego (Pearson Ford [dealerconnection.com] on El Cajon Blvd, but interestingly their alternative fuel vehicle page [rtc4afv.com] makes no mention of the Think). I've seen at least one of them on I-805 going to and from work also. The Think website says they will be available in 2002.

One of the images [melhuish.org] on the Google image search page [google.com] mentioned previously is supposed to be an electric vehicle but it ain't. The Smart car (made by some involvement of Daimler and sold only in Europe) is gas-powered but is very much the same size and shame as the Think city.

Another odd thing about the Think city is that the body panels seem to be mostly plastic. The same dealership had the opensided golfcard model, which they call the Think neighbor.

Safety (3, Informative)

hether (101201) | more than 12 years ago | (#2914462)

According to this article by Western Driver http://www.westerndriver.com/information/test-driv e/2001-corbin-sparrow.html [westerndriver.com] the vehicle registers as a motorcycle, so I'm sure it meets all the safety requirements of one. It also says in most states it doesn't require a helmet or a motorcycle indication on a license, but that it might be hard to find insurance.

This article has a lot to offer about performance and potential problems of the car: http://www.electrifyingtimes.com/corbinsparrow2000 .html [electrifyingtimes.com] Its written by an owner doing their 2000 mile review.

too quiet (1)

beddess (91414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2914736)

About the too quiet bit, a guy who does some work
for my company owns a prius. And the damn thing is really quiet. He told me a story about almost
running some kid down in a parking lot, because the kid didn't hear anything so he just walked out
from behind something. It just goes to show how
adapted people are to cars.

Holy Shit! (2)

Uttles (324447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2915189)

He was driving that in ALTANTA traffic? There's a death wish if I've ever seen one. Maybe people should test these out in a more tame environment first, like Gainseville, GA or how about Greenville, SC, where people still can't drive but at least there aren't that many and they're not going that fast. If that guy keeps driving that thing on I-85, he's going to end up getting picked out of the grill of a semi.


Oh and one more thing... does he get to use the HOV lane?

Messerschmit? (2, Funny)

soundman32 (147936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918423)

Does anyone else think this Sparrow looks like the old Messerschmit Bubble car?

Pictures here [3wheelers.com] and here [3wheelers.com]

Want to purchae one (2, Informative)

kireK (254264) | more than 12 years ago | (#2918871)

The car is a sparrow [corbinmotors.com] . Check out the web site, there are some other cool cars, even a roadster [corbinmotors.com] !

This car in a movie (1)

_Dhamon_ (54275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2921295)

I just rented a movie called "The million dollar hotel". It has Mel Gibson and a few other people you've heard of, made and produced by Bono of U2 fame. Anyways, this car was all over in this movie. It kept driving by, or they would walk by one parked somewhere. It was in the movie so much, we decided that someone must have paid for them to include it in the movie, that or Bono just really liked the car.

Jeez... (1)

SlipJig (184130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2921561)

I posted this two or three days ago and it was rejected. Aargh.


There's a red one that parks every day in the Lenox mall parking deck, next to the food court, if you want to look at it up close. I also saw a white one on Freedom Parkway last week. The company also makes a three-wheeled roadster powered by a Harley engine.

It's a Corbin Sparrow (3, Informative)

xtp (248706) | more than 12 years ago | (#2921765)

see www.corbinmotors.com/sparrow.htm

they're made in Hollister, CA.
an outgrowth of a company known for motorcycle
after market products. It's a 3-wheeler with belt-drive
to the rear wheel. In California it is classified as a motorcycle
and is allowed in the carpool lanes.
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