Category Archives: Urban Personal Transportation

Urban Personal Transportation
I say: So impractical, I love it!
Wife says: So impractical, I hate it!

Setting the goal posts

I love projects.  I love the idea generation and nutting out the potential problems.  I love the dream.  I’m sure I’ll love the finished result too.  It’s the bit in the middle that worries me.

To make sure there is a finished result, I guess I need to know what I am working towards.  My wife will tell you – I am great at starting projects, but terrible at finishing them. To give me the biggest chance of finishing and preventing project blowout (also known as feature creep) I need to have some well defined goals.  To start with, that means some general guidelines:

  • At least one seat, possibly 2
  • Enough storage space for a few bags of groceries
  • Completely enclosed and weather proof
  • Comfortable at least for shorter trips (up to an hour)
  • Cheap to run
  • At least 50 km/h capable (70 km/h goal)
  • At least 100 km range before refuelling
  • Legal and road worthy
  • Suitable for general urban roads (including speed bumps)
  • Very small footprint (exact dimensions yet to be decided)
  • Drive train based on small motorcycle or scooter
  • Driver compartment able to accept different drive train options
  • Cheap to produce
  • Able to be reproduced
  • AND it has to look great!

It looks likely that the vehicle will be 3-wheeled.  2 steered wheels at the front, and a single powered wheel at the back.  The logic for this is that (hopefully) the drive train will consist of the back half of a pilfered scooter (125cc or 150cc for example).

The Malone Skunk is a stinkingly fast (sorry) example of a three-wheeled machine.  This car is available as a kit, based on a Yamaha 1000cc motorcycle donor.  Doesn’t quite meet my project goals, but a nice example of a ‘different’ form of personal transportation!

Malone Skunk

I love impracticality

Perhaps just eager to start a new project, or possibly realising the magnitude of building a full-size sports car from scratch, one of my latest project ideas is to build an urban personal vehicle.

Urban personal transportation is just a spiffy name for a small vehicle that carries a single person and is meant for city driving. In other words; a tiny vehicle with no air bags, crash protection or other safety features; no modern conveniences or driver comfort; a pathetic travel range; and no room for a wife/child/friend, or even a bag of groceries.  Extremely impractical – I like it already!

Many examples of these already exist.  Here is one of my favourite from yester-year, the Peel P50, as featured in an hilarious Top Gear feature where Clarkson drove it to his office.  All the way to his office.

Peel P50 - World's smallest production car

Image from