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Pourquoi 3 roues ?






Last update : september 2023



The three-wheelers have been existing for a long time. One could even assert that they were born before the motorcars since the famous Fardier built by Nicolas - Joseph Cugnot in 1770 (and sponsored by french King Louis XV), was designed on this principle. This may be because it crashed in a wall during its first tests that since that time the three-wheelers do not have good reputation! ...

Although they were much more of them on the roads than motorcars at the end of the 19th century, their development has very quickly decreased because of their doubtful dynamic behavior. Nevertheless the three-wheelers sometimes re-appeared on the roads. This is the case of the famous post-war Messerschmidt or the equally famous Reliant that has long sailed the English countryside.

Today, a few British or North American specialists for the most part, propose three-wheelers sold more or less confidential. Generally lowered or very wide to improve the handling, it is mainly vehicles having sporting or recreational uses.

The current need to have energy-efficient vehicles and, if possible, have a good ability to move in the traffic gave a second chance to the three-wheelers or, to be more precise, to a new generation of them: the “Tilting Three Wheelers” (TTWs).

Closer to the motorcycle’s operating dynamics than to the motorcar’s one, these efficient machines don’t suffer of the weaknesses of the conventional three-wheelers and offer a better compromise - comfort, safety, maneuverability, ability to move in traffic and driving pleasure – than a two-wheeler.

There are some of us in the world to be passionated for a long time by this new alternative. The Mitch Casto forum in the United States has been the scene of debates led by enthusiasts from all walks of life since the early 2000s. Some big industrial companies have also begun to have a look on this phenomenon at that moment. Mercedes, Aprilia, Italjet and Renault have presented vehicle concepts based on this principle. A Dutch company has sold an avant-garde machine between 2002 and 2010: the Carver. In 2006, the Clever and the Piaggio Mp3 have also been presented to the press. Since that time, the Piaggio has become a great commercial success, particularly on the French market. Competitors such as Peugeot and Yamaha then entered this segment still dominated by the Italian manufacturer.

Toyota has also entered the game by presenting the i-Road, which was the subject of a car-sharing experiment in Grenoble (France) between 2014 and 2017. This new way of thinking "three-wheeler" can also be applied to non-motorized vehicles, bicycles or "commuters" of all sorts.

As far as I’m concerned, I have been working on this subject for a long time. This has led me to develop a number of motorized prototypes (Pulsar projects) and to become interested in secondary safety issues (Torga project).

My goal: to contribute to the resolution of the mobility problems of our time and to the search for a "sustainable pleasure on two wheels" by proposing solutions which contribute to the reduction of the accident rate of motorcyclists and other users of this type of vehicle, while preserving the well-known and appreciated advantages of this mode of travel.

Philippe Girardi


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