France gave the world Alain Robert, the skyscraper-climbing daredevil known as “The French Spider-Man,” so it’s perhaps no surprise that it has a spider-car to go with him.
The Swincar is a unique off-roader that features a driver’s seat that’s dramatically suspended between its four wheels, which are attached to extremely articulated control arms that allow them to move in practically any direction.
Each wheel is driven by its own electric motor hub, and the battery pack is under the seat. Go around a turn on a flat surface and the driver and wheels lean into it, as they would on a motorcycle, as the rear-wheel steering tightens up the circle.
Uneven ground is where things get really interesting, however, as the seat and wheels stay roughly plumb as it rides along the side of a hill, and the axles cross back and forth traversing obstacles, such as ditches and rocks. The company behind it, Mecanroc, says it can climb and descend hills up to 70 degrees steep.
Its inventors have been working on it for several years and envision it as an ATV alternative with possible military applications. There’s a two-seat version in the works, as well as one with special controls for drivers with disabilities.
Its top speed has not been revealed, but it can reportedly scurry around the French Alps for up to four hours per charge when fitted with a 6 kilowatt-hour battery. It’s not on sale yet, but Mecanroc hopes to have it commercialized by the end of 2015.
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