OwnerLuke Leighton
LocationNew Luce, Scotland United Kingdom map
Web/EmailWebPage email image
Vehicle1999 Suzuki Swift GLS
The Suzuki Swift (aka Geo Metro) donor vehicle was a 993cc 3 cylinder that was picked specifically because of its gearbox, which is a 22kg aluminium unit that is only 13in by 12in by 17in (the 17in length is there purely because of the differential).

However, the entire chassis of the base vehicle is completely being replaced, with a box-section steel frame and ultra-light and easily repairable lacquered canvas panels.

The only parts utilised from the donor vehicle are the major parts such as brakes, clutch, gearbox, suspension, steering, lights, wiring loom etc. which would otherwise be hard to obtain.

The design concept is patented and is an inner aerodynamic core with a second outer "skin" that pads the vehicle out to a safer, more normal-looking and more socially-acceptable wheelbase. Within those parameters however some radical and fun elements have crept in accidentally-on-purpose into the frame.
Motor PMG226 Permanent Magnet DC
The PMG226 is being picked because it is small, only 11kg and yet, with forced air cooling, can provide up to 10kW.
Controller4QD 4QD-200
4QD's 48v 200 amp controller is being used because Richard's designs are pure analog. The information on his web site is compelling, with clear and highly articulated justifications for each feature that has been added. This shows a history of long-term committment to his designs and to his customers.
BatteriesThunder Sky 40Ah, 3.20 Volt, Lithium Iron Phosphate
Only a small battery pack is required because this is a Hybrid Electric vehicle (Series Hybrid). The battery pack is therefore purely as a reservoir for averaging out peak demand.
System Voltage48 Volts
Top Speed68 MPH (109 KPH)
The PMG226 at 48v has a maximum of around 3500 RPM, which works out through the Suzuki's gearbox to a speed of about 69mph.
AccelerationBy running forced air-cooling through the PMG226, it can cope with up to 10kW. As the vehicle is only 350kg, with two passengers that translates to a 0-60mph time of approximately 25 seconds. Good enough!
Range800 Miles (1287 Kilometers)
An on-board Diesel Generator made from an Aluminium Alloy 30kg Single Cylinder engine plus a second PMG226 geared up to run at around 3800 RPM provides enough voltage to continuously power the vehicle from a 7 gallon fuel tank, on the flat, at 60mph.
Seating Capacity3 adults
Curb Weight770 Pounds (350 Kilograms)
The 350kg weight target is critical to meet, in order to achieve reasonable acceleration times and ultra-high fuel economy figures on such a small motor.
Tires"Eco" rated (Cr 0.006) 13in tyres. In combination with the low laden weight (500kg with 2 passengers) the power consumption is reduced to only 0.7kW at 60mph. "Eco" tyres are restricted to 300kg maximum weight and to about 80mph. Neither of those two restrictions is even remotely likely to be hit by this vehicle, so it can benefit from the hard compound of Eco tires and save about 1kW on rolling resistance alone.
Additional FeaturesBodywork panels will be made from lacquered canvas formed around chicken-wire mesh! Investigations into PET plastic showed that, for example, the plastic bodywork panels for the Aixam and Ligier Microcars are incredibly expensive to replace, with many vehicles being written off or sold for parts if only marginally damaged. Aluminium or Steel panels would be too heavy. Fibreglass would also be too heavy, and again, if damaged, would be inconvenient and costly to replace. Canvas however was routinely used in aircraft at the turn of the last Century, is light-weight and easily repairable or replaceable. Sometimes, old technology is better than new.
This vehicle is a custom-built prototype to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve good fuel economy figures even on a vehicle that could be manufactured, built and easily and cheaply maintained long-term mostly from locally-sourced parts.

The entire bodywork is custom-built around a patented principle of having an inner aerodynamic core with a 2nd skin to pad the vehicle out to a larger and safer size within a standard wheelbase.

The PMG226 plus the Suzuki Gearbox and an adaptor plate from canev.com will come out at only 26in wide; the inner core is only 39in at its widest point but averages 35in overall; the front seat takes two people and is only 31in wide, but the wheelbase is still 55in wide.

code by jerry