Tilting Into the Future: The Radical Kairos EV Three-Wheeler Concept

Kairos EV
Kairos EV

A French Trike Like No Other

Just when you thought electric vehicles couldn’t get any weirder, the French go and design a tilting three-wheeler that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie. Meet the Kairos EV concept – a wild electric trike that promises to combine the fun of a motorcycle with the stability and safety of a car.

With its futuristic design, narrow stance, and two quirky “Mobile Lateral Elements” sticking out the sides, the Kairos is one tricycle you won’t forget anytime soon. But beyond its outrageous looks, this French concept packs some truly innovative technology aimed at making three-wheeled EVs safer and more practical for urban mobility.

Kairos EV
Kairos EV

Leaning Into Turns Like a Motorcycle

One of the biggest challenges for three-wheelers is their tendency to tip over when cornering hard. The Kairos concept tackles this head-on with its leaning multi-link rear suspension that allows the two rear wheels to tilt relative to the body when turning – just like a motorcycle.

This tilting ability gives the narrow Kairos a lower center of gravity in the corners for increased stability and traction. It should allow for surprisingly sporty handling despite having three wheels on the ground.

Kairos EV
Kairos EV

Those Crazy “Mobile Lateral Elements”

But the real showstopper on the Kairos are those wacky wedge-shaped “Mobile Lateral Elements” (MLEs) attached to either side of the front wheel. These movable aerodynamic pieces actually lean along with the vehicle when cornering.

By tilting outward, the MLEs act as counterweights to prevent the narrow trike from tipping over in tight turns. They make the Kairos virtually untippable, at least in theory.

The designers say the MLEs also:

  • Absorb impact energy from frontal and side collisions
  • Enhance aerodynamics and improve efficiency
  • Keep the center of gravity low for better handling
  • Provide extra storage/cargo space

So they’re both functional safety devices and design elements rolled into one. Pretty clever packaging from the French engineers.

Kairos EV
Kairos EV
Kairos EV
Kairos EV

A “Programmed Restraint Device” For Frontal Impacts

As if the MLEs weren’t innovative enough, the Kairos also features a “Programmed Restraint Device” (PRD) in the cockpit to reduce injuries in frontal collisions. Essentially, it’s a hinged triangular chest pad that automatically deploys to keep the occupant from being thrown forward over the handlebars.

In the event of a flip, the PRD’s locking mechanism disengages to allow the rider to safely exit the vehicle. It adds an extra layer of protection you wouldn’t find on a regular motorcycle or car.

Kairos EV
Kairos EV

The Target: Safe, Sustainable Urban Mobility

With its narrow footprint, zero emissions, and upright seating position, the Kairos EV was designed from the start for sustainable urban transportation and last-mile mobility. It offers the footprint of a motorcycle with room for a passenger and cargo.

The delta trike layout with two wheels in the rear also provides a wide stance for stability when parking and improved traction compared to conventional trikes. Add in the tilting ability and those crazy MLEs, and the Kairos starts to make sense as a safe, easy-to-use urban runabout.

Under the wild bodywork, there’s even a main rear storage compartment between the rear wheels along with the smaller storage areas inside the MLEs themselves. So it should be plenty practical for daily urban duties despite its Angular form.

What’s Next for the Kairos EV Tilting Trike?

The Kairos is still in its early conceptual stage through the French SIREMS Association non-profit focused on electric mobility solutions. However, the group plans to have a working prototype ready for real-world testing sometime in 2025.

If all goes to plan, the radical tilting three-wheeler EV could hit the market by 2028 with an estimated price tag of around $32,000.

Only time will tell if the Kairos’ unique “mobile lateral elements” and innovative safety tech will be enough to capture the urban mobility market. But you have to give the French designers credit for thinking way outside the box on this one. A tilting three-wheeler with built-in training wheels sounds utterly bizarre – yet somehow makes perfect sense for city streets.

Does the quirky Kairos EV have what it takes to tilt the scales for three-wheeled EVs? Or is it too radical and impractical for mainstream acceptance? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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