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Frankfurt show: KTM set to display EV trike

City-KTM: Three-wheeled E3W is similar in concept to Audi's Urban Concept, which will also debut at Frankfurt.

Austrian company takes aim at Renault’s Twizy with pod-shaped EV concept

KTM logo12 Aug 2011

By MIKE COSTELLO

AUSTRIAN motorcycle powerhouse KTM will throw down the gauntlet to personal town vehicles like the Renault Twizy when it reveals its all-electric E3W three-wheeler concept at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

The company teamed up with the Austrian Institute of Technology and the Ministry of Infrastructure to create the two-seater EV, which is powered by a 15kW motor with a 6.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

While other technical details are scarce, the unique three-wheeled layout should reduce weight, complexity and rolling resistance - all-important factors in eking as much range as possible from the powertrain.

The all-plastic bodyshell further reduces the tricycle’s weight – said to be around 500kg – while its wild scissor doors will enable it to squeeze into the narrowest of parking spaces.

European reports say KTM is looking to produce an ambitious 50,000 units per year from 2013, with a pricetag of between €5000 and €8000 ($A6900 to $A11,000).

119 center imageLeft: Austrian infrastructure minister Doris Bures with the E3W. Bottom: KTM Freeride bike.

These reports also speculate that the diminutive trike could use a similar battery-leasing system to Renault, which will charge up to €49 (around $A70) per month for the Twizy’s cells over a fixed term of three years or 21,600km.

The pod-shaped tricycle is KTM’s second foray away from motorcycles after the manic X-Bow open-wheel track-car, which is capable of sprinting to 100km/h in a supercar-like 3.9 seconds.

The company threw its hat into the ring on EVs when it displayed two near-production ‘Freeride’ electric sportsbike prototypes at the Tokyo motorcycle show in March of 2010.

The Freeride joins two-wheeled EVs from niche makers like Brammo and Zero, but will mark the first time a conventional motorcycle manufacturer has introduced an electric-powered model when it joins KTM's 2012 line-up.

The Freeride prototypes weighed in at under 100kg and were powered by a 22kW motor, giving them the performance credentials to match a traditional 125cc bike.

The battery-powered bike will have a recharge time of just 90 minutes and a pricetag comparable to high-end combustion enduro bikes.

However, it is understood three different production models could debut at the EICMA show in Milan in November, including motocross, 'motard' and road-legal supermotard versions.

Last year KTM said it was aiming to keep showroom prices under €10,000 ($A13,750).

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