Wish we could all go outside and have some nu' fashioned fun. One company in Arizona is showing us exactly how it's done, even without huge amounts of funding–so often the reason for small design houses shutting shop. We're talking about Local Motors, a highly innovative firm which has a lot of cool goings on at the moment.
What we're going to focus on is their latest electric drift trike, remarkably completed through open-source innovation, meaning community members of the company from all over the world shared ideas and know-how in order to complete the designing and the prototyping of the self-powered three-wheeler. So it's possible that an Indian mechanical engineering student somewhere too might have played a part in its development.
While drift triking began in the hills of New Zealand and spread rapidly across the world since, India too, can join the ball game if we cordon off sections of our roads and organise safe areas to drift these adult tricycles. Soapbox challenges are gaining popularity, so there's no reason why sports like drift triking can't take off here as well.
The story continues on the next slide.
Local Motors already had a gravity-powered downhill drift trike in their product line up, but now wanted a trike that was able to drift even on flat ground. That called for a motor of sorts to be fitted somewhere. They did find space on the Verrado Electric Drift Trike, as it is called, right inside the front wheel!
The e-trike features a BMX fork with brushless electric motors surrounded in aluminium casing on the heavy-duty, 20-inch front wheel, with two go-kart tyres surrounded by PVC piping, a seat, and a Lithium Cobalt Manganese battery at the rear. There also a powerful disc brake that will bring you to a halt quickly, when need be.
The company claims that you can remain sideways to your heart's content for around 10 miles, after which a 3-hour charge is required to get you sliding on the asphalt again. Sounds a trifle low, however, since the design is entirely open-source and "hackable", an owner can fit a bigger battery themselves with more juice for more thrills.
The Verrado has instant power and torque from its electric motor, and Local Motors claims the power "takes you by surprise". Drifting will require a bit of practice, but once the buyer is used to the slippery rear end the fun really starts. Since it is front-wheel-drive, one can pull and steer oneself into the drift, unlike traditional rear-driven drifting, where the driver is pushed through the slide. Also, FWD allows more extreme drift angles, because the vehicle is far less likely to spin.
All this sounds expensive, and it is. The Verrado Electric Trike retails at USD 1,560 (or little under INR 1 lakh), but allotted the space, it is sure to get pulses racing. Normal gets boring quickly, and we've been normal for too long. India has the potential to become the biggest automotive enthusiast community in the world–there's no reason why they should have all the fun!