Chinese car firm Geely has a gift for you in the trunk of its electric McCar vehicle: A tiny electric trike that's actually charged as you drive the bigger car. It could be the perfect vehicle to solve city traffic problems.
Geely's a bit of a surprising company in many ways: It bought Volvo cars from Ford in August 2010, it's one of China's top 10 car makers as well as being one of the few that's not state-owned, and it's history only stretches back to 1986 when it began trading as a refrigerator manufacturer. So perhaps the innovative design of its McCar vehicle shouldn't be such a surprise. Inside the trunk of the ultra compact Smart car-style four-seater is a tiny three-wheeled electric scooter.
The trike actually charges while it's docked into the car. It can run 18 miles, and has a top speed of 18 miles an hour and although you think it may gulp down valuable trunk space in such a tiny vehicle, it actually folds into its storage compartment to leave a luggage area that even Smart owners would admire.
The McCar itself is of a format that's increasingly popular, and offers little in the way of novelty apart from its eco-engine systems: It comes in just two varieties, with a hybrid gasoline-electric engine that can run about 31 miles on solely electric power from its 8kWh battery and 373 miles at up to 80 miles per hour in combined gas-electric mode. The all-electric edition has a 12 kWh battery for a longer 93 mile range, but tops out at just 52 miles per hour, meaning it's more ideal for city commuting versus racing up the freeway on a vacation getaway.
Though the trike is obviously just for one rider, it's easy to imagine the vehicle combo of trike and McCar as being the ideal commuter vehicle in today's clogged cities (probably more so in Europe, where smaller cars are de-rigeur and the trike wouldn't risk being crushed beneath the wheels of an American-sized SUV). Since it doesn't look like congestion pricing is coming to a major American metropolis any time soon, the McCar scooter could be the solution to urban traffic problems, especially for longer-distance commuters who insist on driving into the city. It's most ideal use-case would be to drive from a rural or suburban home under all-electric power, parking in a freely-available space on the edge of a city, and have the driver weaving his way through more traditional traffic to an inner-city office on the trike where the scooter wouldn't eat up too much parking space in the office garage. Then we'll just have to be concerned about the scooter jams, but that's a problem for a different day.