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The CLEVER car
The CLEVER car
The CLEVER car
The CLEVER car, image courtesy of BMW

Press Release - 29 June 2007

Three-wheeled CLEVER vehicle to be exhibited at Royal Society

The CLEVER vehicle, the three-wheeled, metre-wide car developed by a team of European scientists, is to be one of the exhibits at the prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition this year.

The CLEVER vehicle is a fully-enclosed tilting three-wheeler which is as manoeuvrable as a motorbike and as safe as a car. It was developed as a fuel-efficient way of getting round crowded city streets.

The vehicle’s tilting chassis was developed at the University of Bath, and three of its team of engineers will attend the Exhibition, from Monday 2 July to Thursday 5 July at the Royal Society’s headquarters in Carlton House Terrace, London. The Exhibition is one of the most prestigious science events and attracts politicians, scientists and business people.

The project is one of 23 exhibits to be shown at the Exhibition, and a prototype of the vehicle will be shown as part of the entry, the first time the fully trimmed show vehicle will have been seen in the UK.

The vehicle is fully enclosed and has seats for the driver and a passenger. Its strong but lightweight frame protects the driver in a crash and the vehicle has a top speed of approximately 100 kilometres an hour (about 60 mph) and an acceleration of 0-60 kph (0-40 mph) in seven seconds.

At one metre wide (just over three feet), it is 0.5 metres (20 inches) narrower than a micro-car, and almost a metre narrower than a medium sized conventional car. This reduced width means more efficient parking, and the possibility of narrower lanes for such vehicles.

The CLEVER vehicle - Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transport - is different from previous attempts to create a small urban vehicle in that it is fully enclosed in a metal framework, is stylishly designed and is much safer.

"The CLEVER vehicle is a tremendous leap forward in the development of vehicles for the 21st century," said Dr Jos Darling, senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath, who is in charge of its part of the project, with Dr Geraint Owen. They and one of the project’s engineers, Dr Ben Drew, and Professor Kevin Edge, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), will attend the Exhibition.

By running on compressed natural gas, the vehicle would not only help preserve stocks of oil but would emit about a third of the carbon dioxide of conventional family cars. Its fuel consumption is equivalent to 2.6 litres per 100 kms (108 miles per gallon) with petrol, a third of most cars. The CLEVER vehicle can carry 12 litres of fuel in two cylinders. Its range is 200km (125 miles).

Because it does not run on petrol or diesel, it would not be liable for the congestion charge in London, or any other city where the charge is likely to be adopted.

Compressed natural gas is available at service stations throughout Europe: Germany has more than 650 filling stations, Sweden has 65, and Italy has more than 500; the UK has 20 but the number is expected to grow rapidly. In areas where there is no supply exhausted bottles can be exchanged for new ones at some filling stations and supermarkets.

German, French, British and Austrian organisations, including BMW, began work on the project in December 2002 completed it in March last year. It was funded by the European Union.

Partners include: the Technische Universitaet Berlin in Berlin, the Institut Français Du Pétrole in Vernaison near Lyon, and the Institut Fuer Verkehrswesen – Universitaet Fuer Bodenkultur, in Vienna.

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