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Sinclair C5 Electric Car (1985) (wikipedia.org)
16 points by breck 1300 days ago | hide | past | web | 14 comments | favorite

I once spent an unhappy day with one of these.

The battery ran out 30 minutes into my ride and I had to peddle it home. The placement of the steering was uncomfortably low, my knees banged off the front, the seat was curved so my back was bent, there were screw heads poking through the seat back in line with my spine. I had to peddle extra hard as I were turning the motor as well as the wheels.

I had blisters all down my back when I got home.

Eevblog had a nice video about this, taking it for a test ride and looking at the electronics: http://www.eevblog.com/2013/07/31/eevblog-501-sinclair-c5-el...

Check out videos on youtube and you'll see why this never caught on, it's basically a death trap that isn't suitable for sharing the road with cars.


These days you're much better off just buying an electric scooter or motorcycle or a modern electric automobile like a Tesla.

They sold 17,000 of them - for a death trap, would you expect them to have zero deaths? Because [1] says there were zero deaths.

I put it to you the C5 is no stupider than a segway, and at one tenth the cost.

[1] http://www.crashonline.org.uk/19/sinclar5.htm

How many have actually been used those? You don't see them on the roads which would indicate very few of them actually in use.

Also, "no stupider than a segway" is not a selling point for anything.

Looking at the price on the wikipedia page, and accounting for inflation, it looks like the C5 was actually one-third the cost of a new Segway. $1707.44 in today's dollars.

Recumbent bicycles aren't exactly a death trap and most owners use them as their primary transportation. Then again lithium ion batteries have improved so much you no longer need the aerodynamics to make it work, and electric scooters (and motorcycles) exist for that very reason.

Would a more modern version be the pedal assist bikes? ( http://www.amazon.com/Alation-Step-through-36v11Ah-Samsung-B... )

I've been thinking of getting one of these because they bridge some rules about motorized vehicles: since you are still peddling you can take them on bike trails, but since the assist kicks in there is almost no resistance allowing you to maintain higher speeds...

What I find interesting about electric cars is that they are as old as petrol cars and in the late 19th century they were actually more popular, just to be left in shadow for the next 100 years. Now I'm waiting for the rebirth of steam cars, you can't get more eco than that :)

This[1] is a cool drive & teardown video of the C5.

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS6q27VOTOk

It's worth pointing out the link to Micro Men on that page. Micro Men is a very good fictionalisation of the Sinclair vs Acorn battle for the UK BBC Micro contract.

I'd prefer one of these - http://www.comotrikes.co.uk/

edit - but maybe not for five grand

Is this a car or a sit down scooter? Personally I don't see this as a car.

I think it was intended to replace a car, but legally it counts as an electrically-assisted bicycle since it has pedals and such a small motor.

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