A new eco-car that combines a motorbike with a car is being tipped to reduce road congestion and carbon emissions at a stroke.
The bizzare-looking, cocoon-like vehicle drives like a car but corners like a motorcycle due to a unique tilting systems which enables it to lean at 45 degrees.
The three-wheeled machine – a modern day version of the Robin Reliant – runs on both petrol and electric yet can accelerate from 0 to 60mph is six seconds.
Its narrow 40 inch width means that two of them can drive side-by-side, helping to ease congestion in the busiest of cities.
And the 100kw electric motor will ensure that gas emissions are dramatically lower than a small family car.
The machine, called the VentureOne, has a small combustion engine which constantly charges the battery while driving.
But for a more eco-friendly drive, a 18 minute charge in the household mains will power the vehicle.
Hidden under the bubble exterior is a revolutionary tilting system which helps the VentureOne glide around bends like a motorcycle. However, the lightweight 1,200lbs vehicle also features a steering wheel, airbags and bumpers like a motor car.
It is fully enclosed with a 360 degree glass canopy roof so both passengers can get a full view of their journey while being protected from the elements.
It has been designed and built by US-based Venture Vehicles, which hopes to put it on sale in the UK by 2006 for 11,000 pounds.
Ian Bruce, co-founder of the Venture Vehicles, said: “The vehicle is a hybrid form of transportation meaning it uses both electric and fuel.
“This not only makes it very cost effective but it will also help the environment and congestion problems.
“If you increased the size of all the vehicles on the road by 10 per cent then everyone’s speed would reduce by 50 per cent, resulting in more congestion.
“But the VentureOne will definitely help ease up congestion as it is just 11ft long and 60 per cent thinner than a Mini Cooper.
“They are so thin that you can ride them side-by-side on a regular road.
“It only holds up to two people and uses a low amount of fuel which will help protect the environment.
“The VentureOne will achieve 100mpg with a top speed of over 100mph.
“It looks similar to a closed-in motorcycle but it is much more than that.
“It will have more features than a basic car including a steel roll bar, air-conditioning, heating, and a stereo.
“Most people wouldn’t be willing to go to a meeting on a motorcycle dressed in an Armani suit but they would be more than happy to arrive in a VentureOne.”
Mr Bruce and his co-founder Howard Levine have incorporated the unique tilting system from Dutch company Carver Engineering into the new green machine.
Mr Bruce added: “The tilting system is similar to a motorcycle and means the vehicle can lean at 45 degrees in both directions.
“The unique system means you’re always balanced and there is nothing pulling your body to the left or right as you take a corner.
“If you were walking fast with a tray of coffee you would lean the tray into the turn so you don’t spill it.
“The VentureOne does something similar and leans into the bend so you always stay balanced. “The driver and passenger is pressed into the seat rather than pushed across it.
“One of the most famous three-wheeled cars is the Reliant Robin but there were lots of stability problems with them and they would fall over on sharp bends.
“But the stability in a VentureOne is not only better than that, it is better than a sports car.” Eventually, there will be three models of the VentureOne on offer – two hybrid models and an all-electric Venture EV model.