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Persu Hybrid: Tilting Towards Production

The Persu three-wheel hybrid has a uniquely devoted following. Persu needs to strike the iron while it's hot: if this vehicle does land in the $25,000 range, it will be an extremely expensive hybrid of limited practicality trying to find a market in a depressed economy.

persu-hybrid

photo from Flytheroad.com

by Ross Bonander

Specs:

  • Type: Plug-in parallel gas/electric hybrid
  • Class: Motorcycle
  • Manufacturer: Persu Mobility
  • Propulsion system: Electric motor + ICE with 6 gallon tank
  • Top Speed: 100 mph (160 km/h)
  • Zero-to-60: About 6 seconds
  • Electric range: 20 miles (32 km)
  • Total range: 400 miles (643 km)
  • Fuel(s): Electric & gasoline
  • Fuel efficiency: 75 MPGe
  • Battery system: Lithium-ion
  • Time to full battery recharge: Unknown
  • Tailpipe emissions: Yes
  • Price: Unknown
  • Availability: Unknown

The manufacturer says

"The Persu Hybrid is a revolutionary, two-passenger, fully enclosed, tilting three-wheel vehicle that incorporates a full complement of unique, patented technology and the most proven components available. With a level of expectation for daily use, this unique vehicle can corner like a high performance sports car, providing one of the most exhilarating and unique driving experiences possible."

Overview

Formerly known as VentureOne Vehicles and based on the European Carver One, the newly branded Persu Mobility Hybrid comes with a number of changes: branding, specs, design, and even ownership, as co-founder Ian Bruce has left the company. CFO Phil Oseas appears to be at the helm.

As recently as April 2, Oseas spoke with the Persu forums and assured them that the specs are legit and, despite some setbacks, the vehicle is still on track for the Automotive X-Prize.

By way of comparison, when Persu was VentureOne they were pitching 2 models: a hybrid and an EV (and there's reason to believe those plans haven't been abandoned) and the hybrid's combined range was then listed at 300 MPGe. Otherwise, the top speed and zero-to-60 are unchanged. The original suggested pricing was $20,000 for the hybrid and $25,000 for the EV. Persu has not released a cost estimate for the redesigned model.

What we like

The tilt. The Persu utilizes the patented Dynamic Vehicle Control system (DVC ™), an electro-hydraulic tilt-steering control technology developed by Carver Engineering in the Netherlands and incorporated in the Carver One. The best way to see for yourself just how exhilarating this technology is—without actually driving it yourself—is to go to Persu's home page and watch the video demo by the folks at BBC's Top Gear. That is genuine and fully infectious enthusiasm.

The local helmet laws. What most 3-wheeled vehicle web sites fail to mention is that vehicles registered as motorcycles in most US states by law require a helmet. California is an exception, which, they point out, is one reason the Persu is scheduled for launch in the Golden State.

persu safety

image from Flytheroad.com

The safety. Driver airbags, side-impact rails and steel roll-cage frame combine with the Persu's extreme maneuverability contribute to the commitment to safety that Persu has made.

What we don't

The all-electric range. An all-electric range of just 20 miles is admittedly a bit disappointing. Granted it may be all you need in a single day if your commute is very short or if you only use it for short trips, but we'd like to see this number bigger.

The tandem seating. Tandem seating does away with calling Shotgun. Either you drive, or you ride Bitch.

The new acronym. Persu is pushing yet another acronym on the alt vehicle world with the ULV: Urban Life Vehicle. As I blogged about some time ago, I've had it with the industry's love affair with acronyms.

Conclusions

Despite being one of many three-wheeled vehicles in the pipeline, the Persu has a uniquely devoted following due to its antecedent in the Carver One and its Dynamic Vehicle Control system.

However, anxious fans will only wait so long—an exciting new concept materializes almost as quickly as another vaporizes. Persu needs to strike the iron while it's hot: if this vehicle does land in the $25,000 range, it will be an extremely expensive hybrid of limited practicality trying to find a market in a depressed economy.

In the words of Alfred Smith, the happy warrior of the political battlefield, no matter how thin you slice it, it'll still be baloney.

Dive Deeper

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