The Power of Three

05 May 2023

The Automobile Age Began on Three Wheels.

Leonardo da Vinci’s 1475 design for a clockwork, self-powered vehicle had three wheels; In Cornwall, 1801, Richard Trevithick’s ‘puffing devil’, a steam-powered machine, had three wheels.

Carl Benz’s Motorwagen of 1885, widely regarded as the world’s first practical modern automobile and the first car put into series production, had three wheels too.

In 1948 the Davis Divan a 15½ feet long 3-wheeler capable of carrying four people. (a story for a future article).

The Peel P50 is a three-wheeled microcar by the Peel Engineering Company on the Isle of Man.

It was listed in the 2010 Guinness World Records as the smallest production car ever made. Advertised as ‘enough room for one adult and one shopping bag.’

Several major players, including Peugeot, BMW and Bugatti, have dipped their respective toes in the water more recently.

In 1986 the Swiss-German Twike, a two-seater tricycle, and now the Twike 5, 3-wheeler with a top speed of 118mph.

And now we have the Aptera Solar Electric Vehicle built by an American crowd-funded start-up company in California with the mission ‘to create the most efficient transportation on the planet.