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Can-Am’s hybrid trike

2011-01-06 08:07
Can-Am has announced that it will move ahead with a project to develop an electric hybrid three-wheeler following an injection of R41m from the Automotive Partnership Canada programme. Can-Am parent company, Bombardier Recreation Products (BRP), will also put $33m towards the development of the trike.

First launched in 2007, the Can-Am Spyder roadster is best known for its distinctive Y-architecture – two wheels in front, one at the back – which will help the new three-wheeler to push the limits of electric hybrid vehicle technology.

“Our mandate is ambitious and complex," explained Mihai Rasidescu, president and general manager of the CTA partnership which was formed between BRP and the Université de Sherbrooke.

“Our goal is to develop completely new electric hybrid technology for a three-wheel vehicle that uses 50% less fuel and reduces CO2 emissions by 50% while maintaining its speed, power and performance.”

The project’s research team is led by Professor Alain Desrochers from the Université de Sherbrooke's Mechanical Engineering Department and includes about 30 people from the University and BRP.

The team will need to be original during the development of the components. The roadster’s compact size alone poses major challenges. Rather than modifying existing hybrid technology, the researchers will have to design an entirely new propulsion system.

“Creating a three-wheel vehicle as opposed to a hybrid car poses significant design challenges that require a very high degree of innovation,” explains professor Desrochers.

“These challenges include the lack of space to accommodate hybrid motorisation, cooling problems, aerodynamics, vehicle weight, and noise. Everything must be studied and modified.”

Over the next four years the CTA partnership will produce three generations of prototypes and their components. The final product must pass the test in terms of performance, reliability, durability, and economic mass production.

Any technological innovations will be potentially transferable to other types of vehicles and products.

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