Diehard offroad enthusiasts will tell you straightup: solid axles and big tires are the ticket to offroading prowess. But with the Swincar Spider, the French have taken a bit of a different approach: lightweight construction, electric power, and an insane independent suspension setup.
The French company Mecanroc designed this ridiculously cool Swincar and debuted it at The Salon des Inventions in Geneva this year, where it won countless awards for being, well, batshit insane. But in a very good way.
The Swincar Spider features a fascinating independent suspension with four enormous control arms, each with its own wheel-mounted electric motor. The driver sits on a lithium ion battery pack that feeds those motors precious electrons. The articulation afforded by this suspension design means all four wheels can remain firmly planted ot the ground at all times- this means stability, and lots of it.
The Spider’s four electric motors allow all wheels to receive power independently (no differential needed), and the suspension makes sure that power always makes its way to the ground. As a result, the Swincar can climb pretty much any obstacle and traverse even the most uneven terrain without losing grip.
But the Spider is also balanced in the turns. The vehicle’s body acts as a pendulum, tilting into turns to maximize stability. And the tilt feature isn’t electronically actuated- it’s a passive system that just reacts to centripetal forces, so it should be pretty reliable.
The ridiculous suspension setup also allows the vehicle to remain vertical on uneven slopes, reducing the risk of rollover. Which is a good thing. People generally don’t like rolling over.
In a lot of ways, this little spider-car can go places where not even the most offroad-worthy production trucks dare to drive. Its copious use of aluminum means it’s as light as a feather and its four wheel-steering and small dimensions mean it’s as nimble as a chipmunk. But in the mud, you have to wonder if those narrow tires will be a bit of a problem. Not to mention lack of ground clearance could give your bum a bit of a scrape if you straddle a big rock. You also wonder how tough the aluminum components are against hard crashes. Still, as a personal off-road mobility vehicle, it really doesn’t get any better.
Here’s Swincar’s blurb on their new mountain goat:
Swincar, this electric vehicle with exceptional field skills was developed by reinventing a tilting technology on fully mechanical bases.
It will allow you to rediscover the pleasure of ridding in the mountains, in the forests, in the fields or along the beach enjoying the fresh air, the sound of the wind, of the waves or the birds without noise or air pollution.
Take a look at some more offroading awesomeness below:
Photo credit: Swincar