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GT3 Concept Coupe - American Made Electric Innovation

The GT3 is a concept electric coupe with a unique 3-wheeled design. It's currently in clay modeling, but the company has demonstrated a successful test mule of the frame and propulsion system.
gt3 ev profile
images courtesy of T3 Motion
by Aaron Turpen

Specs:

  • Type:2-seat coupe
  • Class: Enclosed Motorcycle (3-wheeled)
  • Manufacturer: T3 Motion
  • Propulsion system: AC Induction Motor
  • Top Speed: 70mph
  • Vehicle range: 80-100 miles/charge
  • Fuel(s): Electricity
  • Battery system: Lithium Polymer (LiFePO4)
  • Time to full battery recharge: 8 hours
  • Cost: $35-$42,000
  • Availability: As early as 2012
  • Pre-orders: Reservations at $500

The manufacturer says

"The GT3 is quiet, comfortable, fun to drive and environmentally friendly with an operating cost of just pennies per mile."

Overview

The rear wheels and suspension system are the patent-pending unique design that makes the GT3 compelling. There are two tires mounted on one wheel on a multi-link, dual shock suspension system. This allows the tires to act somewhat independently, improving traction, without adding most of the extra rolling resistance inherent in having two wheels on the ground.

The rear suspension system is based on Formula One absorption systems. This gives superior handling without compromising stability.

The rest of the GT3 is a 2-seat coupe with electric drive. In fact, outside of the chassis and rear wheel design, the GT3 is similar to many electric cars of the type. It's steel frame allows for protection of the passengers while allowing composite paneling and lighter-weight components to make up the exterior.

Current modeling efforts are putting the body's shape around the frame work so that designers can work out the details before producing prototypes. The frame and propulsion system themselves have been built into a test mule and successfully tested:

T3 Motion is new to the car game, but not to electric vehicles. The company produces its branded T3, a personal, 3-wheeled mobility device marketed to police and security forces (think Paul Blart: Mall Cop) as well as a super-compact electric called the CT Micro Car, also marketed to security and police. Both are low-speed vehicles that have received accolades from many public and private entities using them around the world.

"The GT3 is the culmination of our years of research, design and development of proven electric vehicle innovations highlighted by the deployment of over 2,000 electric vehicles and over 5,000 lithium-polymer batteries," says T3 Motion CEO Ki Nam. "This experience has provided the basis for our paradigm thinking and design of the revolutionary patent-pending GT3 rear wheel."

gt3 rear

What we like

Price Per Performance: for the performance it's offering, the GT3 is in line with some other vehicles of similar bent on the market. The Nissan Leaf carries more passengers for a slightly longer range, but must be licensed as a car while the Aptera and other 3-wheeled electrics are generally higher-priced than the GT3.

Unique and Compelling Design: on the rear axle makes this a vehicle that I'd like to test drive. The kind of handling and stability it likely offers, combining the benefits of both 3- and 4-wheeled designs, has a lot of potential.

American Company: T3 Motion is based in California with world-wide sales. They're already a successful company without the new GT3. That's definitely a bonus.

t3 clay model

What we don't

Waiting: The car isn't even in prototype stage yet, though with motorcycle requirements, it will not have the long government paper trail required for crash testing and so forth, making it (hopefully) come to market faster.

The Price: While not too expensive, the price tag doesn't compete with more conventional and practical cars. The GT3 is meant to be a sports car, but can't even make freeway speeds in some areas (Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, etc. freeway speed is 75mph). So at this stage, it's more likely to be a toy for bragging rights than an everyday vehicle.

Conclusions

The GT3 has a lot of compelling reasons to make it interesting. The unique rear axle design promises a potentially exciting driving experience. Some limitations will likely keep the market appeal rather small, but as a first step towards bringing a full-sized, operational electric 3-wheeler to market, it's a great one.

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