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Triac from Green Vehicles - Lofty appeal, High-Rise Price

The Triac has re-emerged. At the very least, the Triac's coming-out suggests that the company still intends to bring the vehicle—along with another pair of electric cars—to market at some point in the near future.
photo from Green Vehicles
by Ross Bonander

Specs:

  • Type: Electric vehicle
  • Class: Three-wheeled motorcycle
  • Manufacturer: Green Vehicles
  • Propulsion system: 20 kW AC PMSM water-cooled electric motor
  • Top Speed: 80 mph
  • Vehicle range: 100 miles
  • Fuel(s): Electric
  • Battery system: Lithium-ion (144V)
  • Time to full battery recharge: 5-6 hours
  • Price: $24,995
  • Availability: NA

The manufacturer says

"The Triac proclaims to the world 'yes, I am going to run longer than previous EVs; and yes, I am going to do it in a seriously handsome fashion."

Overview

The Triac, made by Ehab Youssef's Northern California-based Green Vehicles, is a three-wheeler that stirred up a lot of interest when it first made the rounds on car sites, notably in May 2008 when autobloggreen ran an entry on the vehicle. It generated enough interest to overwhelm the company and force a press release of sorts, in which they claimed that the Triac would be for sale that summer. Then, it vanished.

Over a year later, the Triac has re-emerged. She appeared at the beginning of October 2009 at the AltCar Expo with some slight changes to her design, but otherwise acting like the last year or so of delays never happened. At the very least, the Triac's coming-out suggests that the company still intends to bring the vehicle—along with another pair of electric cars—to market at some point in the near future.

What we like

The design: Proud design, all things considered, and looking fairly sophisticated from a variety of angles, especially her side profile. The 2+1 wheel configuration is, for me, the preferred 3-wheel configuration, and it finds easy purchase in the Triac. However, word from the AltCar Expo is that her interior—in particular the cramped cabin—leaves much to be desired.

The other vehicle: Green Vehicles has designed the only NEV that I caught myself liking, even remotely… the Moose. Here's an NEV with a top speed of 35 mph and a range of 50 miles, but the Moose isn't a tiny golf cart wanna-be; instead, it's much closer in looks to a VW van, which might actually make her practical.

What we don’t

The options: Want to equip your Triac with an iPod docking cradle? No problem, that'll be $495. How about AC? Tack on $2,500. These are part of a set of features referred to as a "performance package" that's "coming soon", although it would be nice just to see the regular package appear at all (with AC as a standard feature).

The price: Never mind the performance package; without it the Triac is still asking just under $25,000. Maybe that MSRP seemed reasonable in the spring of 2008, when bigger car makers with deeper pockets were, publicly at least, hardly even paying lip service to the notion of an electric car. Now similarly priced vehicles like the Nissan Leaf are in the pipeline, giving consumers pause about spending this kind of cash on this kind of vehicle when they can just wait a little longer and get a whole lot more bang for their buck.

Conclusions

According to an item in the Los Gatos Weekly-Times from 2007, Youssef founded Green Vehicles in response to "the high cost of gasoline, the effects of fossil fuel emissions on the environment, the war in Iraq and the lack of education surrounding the availability of alternative transportation vehicles."

Noble ideas, for certain, but whatever the reasons were that caused such lengthy delays in the Triac may prove so costly as to derail the brand and the aspirations altogether.

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