Three-Wheeled Concept Cars – Here’s our Top 10

Photo by mricon on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Three-Wheeled Concept Cars: Here’s our Top 10

Do you find the idea of a three-wheeled car fascinating? Three-wheeled cars are very uncommon and may even be considered unusable by some people, but we find that they are interesting to learn about and even more interesting to drive. Keep reading to discover our top 10 picks from the category of three-wheeled mass production concept cars, prototypes and futuristic concept cars designed for contest-only presentation.

Mass Production Concept Cars

Campagna T-Rex

Photo by Mr.choppers on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo by Mr.choppers on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The 2016 T-Rex by Campagna is powered by a 1.6L engine from BMW. The engine produces 160 horsepower and 129 foot-pounds of torque. The power is sent to the rear wheel of this concept car by a sequential six-speed transmission. The Stage 5 fully-adjustable suspension system permits the driver to customize it to road conditions or driving style. Only 20 of the 2016 model year are being made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the T-Rex. If you want one, you’d better act now. The price is currently set at $69,999 USD.

Polaris Slingshot SL

Photo by Michel Curi on Flickr / CC BY 2.0.

Photo by Michel Curi on Flickr / CC BY 2.0.

The Polaris Slingshot closely resembles a cat on wheels from the front and is officially classified as a motorcycle. This three-wheeled concept car features a GM Ecotec 2.4L four-cylinder engine generating 173 horsepower and 166 foot-pounds of torque. Unlike conventional vehicles, the Slingshot has neither airbag protection nor climate control. Starting prices for the Slingshot are listed at $19,999. There are no official numbers for the zero-to-60 time of the Slingshot, but it is estimated at less than five seconds.

MEV tR1ke

Photo by Stuart Mills on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 1.0

Photo by Stuart Mills on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 1.0

The MEV tR1ke is one among many three-wheel kit cars available. The factory-built kit is available for £14,000 or $20,997. This nifty little reverse tR1ke features motorcycle performance with the safety of car handling. The engine used in the TR1KE provides you with 150 horsepower. If you want to upgrade with a turbo kit, you can boost the power up to 235 horsepower. If you are building this car yourself, expect to spend 10 weeks on the project.

XR3

This Personal Transit Vehicle is extremely fuel efficient. The hybrid vehicle can achieve 125 mpg on diesel power alone and 225 mpg when using diesel and electric power combined. The XR3 can reach a top speed of 80 miles per hour. Acceleration speeds are equal to that of conventional cars. The front wheels of the XR3 are powered by the combustion engine while the back wheel is powered by electricity. Because of the unique construction of this vehicle, builders can install whichever engine or electric motor they wish without affecting the function of the vehicle. CAD building plans are available for $200 (Deluxe), $170 (Standard) and $99.50 (Plans-On-Disc). Building time for this kit car ranges from 500 to 650 hours, depending on skill level and the version built.

Prototype Concepts

Elio P5

Photo by Balansboy on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo by Balansboy on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The three-wheeled Elio P5 is a prototype expected to enter production in the middle of 2016. The base price is listed at $6,800. The Elio P5 is incredibly fuel-efficient at 84 mpg. The P5 will be based on the P4 with the addition of power windows, three airbags, air conditioning and power door locks. This two-seater will be powered by a 0.9-liter engine. Previous prototypes produced approximately 55 horsepower and a zero-to-60 acceleration time of less than 10 seconds. The transmission offered will be a multi-mold Aisin manual.

Volkswagen GX3

Photo by Covinan on Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0.

Photo by Covinan on Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0.

The GX3 concept car was released in 2006 as a cross between a sports car and a motorcycle. The acceleration time for the three-wheeled GX3 is zero to 62.5 mph in 5.7 seconds. The powertrain includes a 125-bhp engine 1.6L engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The company never reached production mode for the GX3 and only created a prototype. Mass production was halted for the GX3 due to potential liability issue concerns. The estimated price it would have been sold at was listed as $15,500. This prototype borrowed heavily from the Lotus Elise in design.

Marotti

Photo by Byrek on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Photo by Byrek on Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

The Marotti from Poland uses a 750-cc Honda V4 engine producing 100 horsepower. This engine is controlled with a sequential six-speed gearbox. This concept car is likely to go into production at some point in the future. According to some reviews, the vehicle’s appearance resembles a space shuttle mock-up. The Marotti is estimated to reach top speeds of 118 mph.

Futuristic Design Concepts

Mazda Kaan

The Mazda Kaan is an electric racecar designed to compete in E1 racing competitions. The manufacturers created this car for the 2008 LA Auto Show Design Challenge. The Kaan’s design is based on electric fields and textures observed in nature including lightning bolts. This electric race car is configured to offer tight peloton formations for team racing. The Kaan is expected to reach 250 mph with no harmful emissions.

Peugeot Egochine

This futuristic concept car closely resembles an oversized MACH3 razor. The designer was shooting for “retro-futurism” when he came up with the idea for the Egochine. With sculpted fenders up front, an old-fashioned grille and a two-toned color scheme, it fits the bill for retro looks. On the other hand, the aerodynamic shape gives it a decidedly 21st-century appearance. This car is powered by hydrogen cells and was created for the Peugeot Design Contest.

Higgins-Aube Energya

As with all other three-wheeled vehicles in the United States, the Energya is officially classified as a motorcycle. This Canadian-produced vehicle is only a design concept and never made it to production. The Higgins-Aube Energya closely resembles a two-seater Can-Am Spyder. The Energya was expected to reach 60 mph in less than four seconds. With approximately 10 horsepower more than the base Lotus Elise engine, the Energya has a big power-to-weight advantage over similar vehicles.

Conclusion

Three-wheeled concept cars are fun, quirky and exciting to drive. Although many of them never progressed beyond the concept stage, there are plenty of three-wheeled cars out there. Some of them you can build yourself.


Which of the cars listed above do you like best?

Have you ever built a kit car on your own?

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