Leave it to the forward-thinking Kiwis to go skidding down hills on Huffy tricycles. Back in 2009, New Zealanders started slapping PVC sleeves on to the rear tyres of the childhood classic, killing the grip and letting the back end slide, or drift, around corners. And thus was born trike drifting.
Dirt bikers and daredevils in the hillier parts of the US took up the sport after seeing videos on YouTube, and now the American Drift Trike Association holds events across the States. Local Motors joined the fun last year with its own drifting three-wheeler, the Verrado. But just relying on steep hills or being towed to drift is limiting, so now Local Motors has electrified the Verrado.
The hub motor on the front wheel delivers 1 000 watts and the lithium battery mounted on the rear axle provides about 45 minutes of power. A twist of the handlebar throttle shoots the 33 kg bike to 32 km/h – startlingly fast when you’re sitting so close to the ground. The 25 cm kart tyres on the back wheels sport 22 mm PVC sleeves that are good for about 480 to 650 km of shenanigans.
“I don’t see it being a commuter vehicle, ever,” says Matt Jackson, a Local Motors mechanical engineer. Maybe not, but if your commute has some wide turns, this could be an invigorating way to start your day.
Catch the electric Verrado drift trike in action…
– Will Dietrich-Egensteiner