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Title:
THREE-WHEELED VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/145878
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A three- wheeled vehicle having an arrangement of wheels with, two forward wheels, one back wheel and a profile adjustment feature is described. The back wheel may be configured as the steering wheel, and in some cases is the only steering wheel. The two forward wheels are configured essentially parallel with, each other and the back wheel is configured essentially centered between the two forward wheels in a back position. This arrangement of the wheels provides for a stability that does not require a person to maintain balance to keep the vehicle in an upright position. The profile adjustment feature may automaticalIy adjust the height of the vehicle as a function of vehicle speed. As the vehicle speeds up, the height may be reduce to provide a more stable vehicle that is turned more by tilting the vehicle than by turning the back wheel.

Inventors:
CALLEY DAVID (US)
Application Number:
US2014/030718
Publication Date:
September 18, 2014
Filing Date:
March 17, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CALLEY DAVID (US)
International Classes:
B62D61/06; B62K5/02; B62K13/04
Foreign References:
CN101698420A2010-04-28
US6015022A2000-01-18
CN2044223U1989-09-13
CN101007509A2007-08-01
US20120181765A12012-07-19
JP2010167809A2010-08-05
Other References:
See also references of EP 2969719A4
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOBSON, Alex, R. (Flagstaff, AZ, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

L A three-wheeled vehicle composing:

a. an arrangement of wheels consisting of:

i. two forward wheels configured essentially parallel to each other: si, one back wheel configured to steer the vehicle;

fa. a profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel; and

c. a protective shell configured at least over a front portion of the vehicle.

2. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , wherein the profile adjustment device is an automatic profile adjustment device., whereby the profile adjustment device is configured to provide a first vehicle height at. first speed and a second vehicle height at second speed and whereby the first height, is higher than the second height and the first speed is lower than said second speed.

3. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim i further comprising a front portion of the vehicle and a means to raise the front portion of the vehicle as the vehicle leans.

4. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim i, wherein the protective shell is configured over substantially the entire three-wheeled vehicle.

5. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim ! , wherein the protective shell is configured over substantially the entire three- wheeled vehicle and extends over the two forward wheels.

6. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim i, further comprising a door configured in the front portion of the three-wheeled vehicle, whereby the door is configured for an occupant to enter through the front of the three-wheeled vehicle between the two forward wheels and wherein the door comprise a translucent window portion.

7. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , wherein a rate of steering per a rider steering input decreases with increasing speed of the three- wheeled vehicle.

8. The three- wheeled vehicl of claim i, further comprising at least one electric motor, wherein at least one electric motor is configured on at least one wheel.

9. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim ί , further comprising at least one battery, wherein at least one battery is configured to be removable and hand carriable.

ID. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , further comprising a tow lever coupled to a back portion of the three- wheeled, vehicle, and wherein the three- heeled vehicle is configured to be towed by the tow lever with the back wheel elevated.

1 1. The three-wheeled vehicle of ciaim 1, further comprising a human power input feature.

12. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim. 1 .1 , wherein the human power input feature is a pedaling device,

13. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 11 , wherein the human power input feature is a reciprocating pedaling device.

14. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 12, wherein the pedaling device comprises two pedaling features comprising a pedal attached to an armature whereby the armatures ex tend from opposing inside surfaces of said three-wheeled vehicle.

15. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 14, wherein the pedaling device features are configured to f ld in from the side for use and hack toward the side when not in use.

16. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 12, wherein the human power input feature is coupled to at least one of the two forward wheels or the back wheel.

17. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 12, wherein die human power input feature is coupled to a generator.

1 . The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 12, wherein the human power input feature is coupled to a battery.

19. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 12, further comprising a display of human power input level

20. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 1, further comprising an automatic tilt feature, whereby the forward wheels are adjusted in height thereby producing a tilt of three- wheeled vehicle, to reduce side acceleration felt by an occupant.

21. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1, where the vehicle can pivot substantially within its own dimensions.

22. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , further comprising at least one rear view

mirror.

23. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1, further comprising a rear view mirror

adjustment feature, wherein the rear view mirror automatically adjust with the profile adjustment device.

24. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim I, where a headlight and rear view mirror are integrated into an assembly.

25. The three-wheeled vehicle of ciaim 1 wherein the protective shell provides substantia! structural support for the vehicle.

26. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of swing arms attaching the wheels to the vehicle.

27. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim f, wherein a wheel base distance is measured from a center point, between the two forward wheels and the back, wheel, and whereby the profile adjustment device is configured to increase said wheel base distance as the speed of the three- wheeled vehicle increase.

28. The three- heeled vehicle of claim 1 , wherein the vehicle is configured to reach a speed of at least 20 mph and comprises at least one illuminated signaling feature.

29. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 1 further comprising:

a. a plurality of swing arms having a vehicle attachment Location that is forward to a wheel attachment .location,

whereby the height profile adjustment device is configured to automatically adjust to provide a first height of an occupant's head at first speed and a second height of an occupant's head at second speed and whereby said first height is higher than said second height and said first speed is lower than said second speed.

30. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim i further comprising:

a. a front of the vehicle and a means to raise the front of the vehicle as the

vehicle tilts to maintain the vehicle substantially in an upright orientation, whereby the height profile adjustment device is configured to provide a firs height of an occupant's head at first speed and a second height of an occupant's head at second speed and whereby said first height is higher than said second height and said first speed is lower than said second, speed.

31. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 1, wherein the protective shell is configured over substantially the entire three-wheeled vehicle.

32. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1, further comprising a sound cancelation feature, whereby when an audio signal communicated via the communication feature has a diminished noise component.

33. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1, iurther comprising a door configured in the .front of the three- wheeled vehicle, whereby the door is configured for an occupant to enter through the front of the three-wheeled vehicle between the two forward wheels.

34. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim I , wherein the three-wheeled vehicle is

configured for a single occupant, having a single seat

35. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 1, further comprising a power assist device

coupled to at least one wheel

36. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 35, wherein the power assist, device is an internal combustion engine.

37. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 35, wherein the power assist device is an electric motor.

38. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein the electric motor is configured on at least one wheel.

39. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein the electric motor is an electric hub motor.

40. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein the electric motor is a transverse flax motor or an axial transverse flux motor,

41 . The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein an electric mo tor is configured on each of the two forward wheels.

42. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein the electric motor is configured on the hack wheel.

43. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein an. electric motor is configured on. all three wheels.

44. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein the electric motor is controlled, to eliminate wheel spin during acceleration,

45. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein the electric motor is controlled to eliminate wheel spin during deceleration.

46. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein a separate electric motor is

configured on each of the two forward wheels, whereby said electric motors are controlled by a control system to be spun at different speeds as required when turning said three-wheeled vehicle.

47. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein a separate electric motor is

configured on each of the two forward wheels, whereby said electric motors are controlled by a control system to provide steering and said back wheel is a free caster wheel

48. The. three-wheeled vehicle of claim 47, wherein said three-wheeled vehicle operates autonomously or semi-antoiiomonsly.

49. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 37, wherein a separate electric motor is

configured on each of the (wo forward wheels, whereby said electric motors are controlled by a control system to provide a torque differential and. induce a tilt of said three- wheeled vehicle,

50. The three- heeled vehicle of claim 49, further comprising:

a. an accelerometer device configured to measure a lateral acceleration of said three-wheeled vehicle,

b. an automatic lilt feature,

whereby the amount, of tilt generated by the vehicle is a function of a lateral acceleration measured by said accelerometer device, whereby said acceleration measured by said accelerometer device is input to said control system and said coatrol system controls a torque differential to said electric motors coupled to each of said forward wheels to induce a tilt of said three-wheeled vehicle.

51. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 50, where any steering input of a full range of movement will tilt the vehicle within safe tilting limits and will steer the vehicle within the safe turning limits such that the vehicle will not rollover.

52. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim l, further comprising an automatic tilt feature, whereby the amount of tilt enabled by the vehicle is reduce at a low speed and increased at art increased speed greater than said low speed.

53. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , further comprising a regenerative braking

feature and a rechargeable battery, whereby braking energy is stored in said rechargeable battery.

54. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 1, wherein the vehicle is configured for to reach a speed of at least 20 mph and comprises at least one illuminated signaling feature.

55. The three-wheeled vehicl of claim 1 , wherein the two forward wheels are configured on trailing link' swing arms to affect tilt and a rear wheel to affect steering.

56. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , wherein the back wheel is configured to mm 90 degrees in either direction from a straight-line orientation.

57. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1, wherein the two forward wheels can turn in opposite directions thereb enabling said three- wheeled vehicle to pivot about a center point between the front two wheels.

58. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim I , wherein the steering and a tilt degree are a variable ratio of a steering input such that a first steering input at first low speed creates a first amount of sleeting and a first amount of tilt, and at a second higher speed than said low speed a second steering input, that is the same as said fist steering mput, creates a second lower amount of steering and a second larger amount of tilt than said first amount of steer and said first amount of tilt, respectively.

59. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , wherein at a zero forward speed of said three- wheeled vehicle the back wheel is configured to turn more than 65 degrees from straight in either direction.

60. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim l, comprising a seat and two pedaling devices, wherein said seat is no adjustable in position and said pedaling devices are adjustable in position to accommodate a plurality of different sized occupants.

61. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , comprising a steering input that is adjustable to accommodate a plurality of different occupants of different sizes.

62. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1.comprising a steering input comprising:

a, a pair of handles that are configured to move substantially about the elbows,

63. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim i, comprising:

a. headlights; and

b. rearview side mirrors;

wherein said headlights and said rearview side mirrors are configured to automatically adjust in position as a function of a height and tilt degree of said three-wheeled vehicle.

64. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 63 wherein a cable is coupled 'between a height adjustment component of said three-wheeled vehicle and the mirror and/or headlight assembly.

65. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim i, wherein the door is comprised substantially of plastic with a glass layer on the outside to provide hardness.

66. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , wherein a body molding of said three- wheeled vehicle is both structural and serves as the exterior of said three-wheeled vehicle.

67. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 66, composing reinforcements that are molded in the body molding.

68. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1, comprising a tow lever, whereby said three- wheeled vehicie is configured to be lowed, by said tow lever.

69. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , comprising a tow lever, whereby said three- wheeled vehicle is configured to tow another vehicle by said tow lever,

70. The three-wheeled vehicie of claim 69, wherein the other vehicle is a three-wheeled vehicle.

71. The three- wheeled vehic le of claim 1, having a width that is no more than 36 inches,

72. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 1 , comprising a differential coupled, to the two forward wheels so that the front of said three-wheeled vehicle rises when tilling to increase clearance.

73. A three-wheeled vehicie comprising:

a. an arrangemen t of wheels consisting of;

i. two forward wheels configured essentially parallel to each other; ii. one hack wheel configured, to steer the vehicle;

b. a profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel;

c. a protective shell configured over substantial! y the entire vehicle: and d. a door configured in said front portion of the three- wheeled vehicle, whereb the door is configured for an. occupant to enter through the front of the three- wheeled vehicie between the two forward wheels,

74. A three-wheeled vehicie comprising;

a. an arrangement of wheels consisting of:

i. two forward wheels configured essentially parallel to each other; ii . one back, wheel configured to steer the vehicie;

b. a profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel;

c. a protecti ve shell configured over at least over a front portion of the vehicie; and

d. a steering device;

wherein steering input creates a variable amount of steering as a function of speed of said three-wheeled vehicle, whereby a first steering input at first low speed creates a first amount of steering; and at a second higher speed than said low speed a second steering input, that is the same as said fist steering input, creates a second lower amount of steer than said first amount of steer.

75. A three-wheeled vehicie comprising; a. an arrangement of wheels consisting of;

i two forward wheels configured essentially parallel to each other; ii one back wheel configured to steer the vehicle;

b. a profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel:

c. a proteciive shell configured over at least over a front portion of the vehicle d. a pedaling device.

76. The three- wheeled vehicle of claim 75, further comprising:

a. an electric hub motor that configured on at least one wheel,

77. The three-wheeled vehicle of claim 75, further comprising:

a. a battery,

b. a generator

whereby the pedaling device is coupled electrically with said generator io create electrical power from said pedaling device.

78. A three-wheeled vehicle comprising:

a. an arrangement of wheels consisting of;

i two forward wheels configured essentially parallel to each other; ii . one back wheel configured to steer the vehicle;

b. a profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel;

c. a protecii e shell configured over at least over a front portion of the vehicle; d. electric hub motors coupled to said two forward wheels;

e. a generator;

f. a battery;

g. a pedaling device coupled with said generator;

wherein an input of power of said pedaling device is converted to electrical energy by said generator,

79. A three-wheeled vehicle comprising;

a. an arrangement of wheels consisting of:

i. two forward wheels configured essentiall parallel to each other; ii. one back wheel configured to steer the vehicle;

b. a profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel; and

c. a rear wheel trail adjustment feature:

wherein at low speed the trail is lower than at higher speeds of said three-wheeled vehicle.

80. A three-wheeled vehicle of comprising: a. an arrangement of wheels consisting of;

i two forward wheels configured essentially parallel to each other; ii one hack wheel configured to steer the vehicle;

b. a height profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel; and c. a rear swin arm pivot coupled to the back wheel,

where rear steering is accomplished coaxially to the rear swing arm.

81. A three- wheeled vehicle comprising:

a. an arrangement of wheels consisting of;

i two forward wheels configured essentially parallel to each other; is. one hack, wheel eonfigored to steer the vehicle;

h. a height profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel; and c. an electric motor coupled to each of said two forward wheels;

d. a protective shell configured at least over a front portion of the vehicle; and e. an aecelerometer device eonfigored to measure a lateral acceleration; whereby the height profile adjustment device is eonfigored to provide a first height of an occupant's head at first speed and a second height of an occupant's head at second speed and wliereby the first height is higher than the second height and. the first speed is lower than said second speed;

whereby the amount of tilt generated by the vehicle is a function of a lateral acceleration measured by said aecelerometer device, whereby said acceleration measured by said aecelerometer device is input to said control system and said control, system controls a torque differential to said electric motors coupled to each of said forward wheels to induce a tilt of said three-wheeled vehicle.

Description:
THREE-WHEELED VEHICLE

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Cross-Reference To Related Applications

0001 j This application is claims the benefit of LIS, provisional patent application no.: 61 /798693, filed on March 15, 2013 and entitled Three-Wheeled Vehicle, the entirety of whic is incorporated herein by reference.

Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a three-wheeled vehicle and in particular, a power assisted three- wheeled vehicle.

Background

f 000 ] Transportation, and particularly routine local daily ^asportation, such as to and from work, is an expensive necessity for many people. The costs to poses and operate an automobile are extremely high and have risen dramatically i« recent years. In addition, automobiles create congestion on the roadways and locating a parking location can be trying. Furthermore, automobiles provide no means for physical exercise and pollute the

environment and burn fossil fuels, a limited resource.

[0004] For many people, the commute to work is no more than about ten miles making it practical for them to use human powered forms of transportation, such as a bicycle. However, some people are uncomfortable on bicycles, as a two-wheeled vehicle requires the rider to maintain their balance. Many people fear they will lose their balance riding a bicycle and wreck and are uncomfortable riding along with automobiles as a bicycle provide no protection for the rider, in addition, bicycles do not provide a person with protection from the weather, including wind, ram, snow, and tire cold, leaving thera looking disheveled when they arrive at their location. Furthermore, bicycling can he very strenuous, especially during uphill climbs, and. can leave a person sweating and feeling drained when they arrive at their destination.

[0005 j Electric bicycles (eBikes) have made gains for use as persona! transportation due to Sow cost effectiveness in dense urban areas, use for the "last mile ' and personal and societal health benefits. However, as with standard bicycles, many people are uncomfortable operating them on busy roads, fear they may wreck, and there is no protection from the elements or from other vehicles. Furthermore, bicycles provide limited to no cargo carrying capacity. As yet, attempts to provide both the advantages of an e&ike nd a car in. one vehicle have resulted in an amalgamation thai effectively provides neither.

[0006] There exists a need for a vehicle thai is stable, whereby a person can operate it without needing to keep their balance, provides protection from other vehicles and the elements, provides some cargo capacity, is power assisted providing an opportunity to exercise and low cost to own and operate.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The invention is directed to a three-wheeled vehicle that comprises an arrangement of wheels with two forward wheels and one back wheel The two forward wheels are configured essentially parallel with each other and the back wheel is configured essentially along a centerltne of the vehicle, or essentially aligned between the two forward wheels and positioned toward the back of the vehicle. This arrangement of the wheels provides for a stable vehicle thai does not require a person to maintain balance to keep the vehicle in an upright position; as is required on two-wheeled vehicles such as a bicycle. In addition, this arrangement of wheels provides for a zero turn radius, whereby the vehicle can turn about a single point between the two forward wheels. The back wheel can be turned to 90 degrees from the two forward wheels and the two forward wheels can. be rotated in opposin directions providing for a zero turn radius about a point centered between the two forward wheels.

[0008] The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein further comprises a profile adjustment device coupled to the back wheel, whereby the height of the vehicle can be adjusted, such as by actuating the back wheel with a linear actuator or rotational arm, or any combin tion, thereof. In one embodiment, the height of the three-wheeled vehicle is automatically adjusted when the three-wheeled vehicle exceeds a threshold speed, or is adjusted as a relative function of speed. At Sow speeds the height of the vehicle,, or the height of an operators bead sitting in the vehicle may be at a first height, and when the three- wheeled vehicle accelerates to a higher speed, the height of the vehicle may be reduced. The reduction in the height of the vehicle may reduce the aerodynamic drag, increase efficiency and make the three-wheeled vehicle more stable by lowering the center of gravity, and thereby reducing the moment about the tilt axis. A profile adjustment device Is any device or combination of devices thai adjusts the height of the vehicle and may include, but is not limited to, a linear actuator, gear reduction on pivot, rack and pinion, a pivot, a plurality of pivots and the like. A profile adjustment device may comprise one or more gas struts and/or springs to facilitate the movement and alignment of the profile adjustment. Irs an exemplary embodiment, a profile adjustment device is configured to reduce the height of the vehicle when a threshold speed in exceeded or to continuously adjust the height of the vehicle as the speed varies to maintain desired characteristics.

[00091 The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may further comprise a protective shell th is at least over a front portion of the vehicle. A protective shell, or any portion of a protective shell, may be configured to be detachably attachable to the three- wheeled vehicle. A protecti e shell may comprise one or more windows and/or vents that ma be configured to open to allow airflow into the three-wheeled vehicle. In an

embodiment, a protective shell substantially envelops the three-wheeled, vehicle as shown as described herein. In some embodiments, one or mare doors may be configured in the protective shell. A door may be consider a portion of a protective shell of a three-wheeled vehicle as described herein, in addition, the wheels of the three-wheeled vehicle and particularly the forward wheels may be configured to move up into a cavity of a protective shell or within the body, such as when in a turn,

1 010 j in an exemplary embodiment, the protective shell of the vehicle provi des the pri mary structural support for the vehicle wherein components of the vehicle, such as a pedaling device, the wheels and the like are attached to the shell, A shell may comprise an inner and outer skin layer and a porous polymer layer configured therebetween. Structural supports may be configured on or inside the shell to provide additional strength to components attached thereon, or configured therethrough.

<> > 1 1 j The three-wheeled vehicle may comprise an automatic tilt, or lean of the vehicle, feature, whereby the amount of tilt enabled, by the vehicle is increased at elevated speed. An automatic tilt feature may prevent the three- wheeled vehicle from falling over and allow for a safe amount of tilt at any speed where an operator .may not operate the vehicle out of a safe zone. In an exemplary embodiment, a steering input splitter is coupled to the profile adjustment device, whereby the height of the vehicle adjusts a pivot point on the steering ratio mechanism thereby adjusting the steering contribution between back wheel turning and tilt steering control. At low speeds, the ratio is weighted toward back wheel turning, and at higher speeds the ratio shift more to tilt steering control. The steering control actuator is coupled to a steering apparatus, whereby the steering input from an operator is divided between back wheel turning and tilt steering, in still another embodiment, an electric actuator changes the position of the front swing arms to create lean, such thai the operator or rider does not experience substantial side or lateral acceleration. An inertia! sensor may be coupled with wheel actuator(s) and control lean posi ion automatically. A differential may be configured between the forward wheels and cause the vehicle to raise as it leans to give it a tendency towards stability.

[00121 The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may be configured with a front entrance door, whereby an operator enters through the front of the vehicle and between the two forward wheels. For example, an operator may lift up or swing the front protective shell and enter the vehicle through the front of the vehicle and then close the front protective shell. In other embodiments, a door may be configured on one or more sides of the vehicle.

[0013 The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may be configured for a single occupant or operator or may be configured for two or snore occupants, such as one operator and one passenger, in an exemplary embodiment, a three-wheeled vehicle is configured for one operator and for cargo and/or a small child passenger configured behind the operator, in still another embodiment, a three-wheeled vehicle is configured for only one operator and cargo behind the operator, in other embodiments, the three-wheeled vehicle is configured for more than two passengers, more than three passengers and the like. In yet another

embodiment, a passenger or storage trailer may be configured for attachment to the three- wheeled vehicle. For example, a passenger trailer may be attached to the back of a three- wheeled vehicle and may be controlled at least partially by the three-wheeled vehicle. In yet another embodiment two or more three-wheeled vehicles ma be coupled together and the trailin vehicles may provide additional power to propel the linked vehicles, or may provide additional battery power to the lead vehicle. One three-wheeled vehicle may be attached to another through any suitable means including, but not limited to, a folding tow lever, attachment by a suction cup device to conventional vehicle, whereb a suction cup on at least one of the co upled vehicles in attached to a linkage between the vehicles, such as a tether, or elastic bar. However, when towing another of the same vehicles, the integrated towing systems link without suction-cups. When a three-wheeled vehicle as described herein is coupled to an automobile it may provide additional thrust to the automobile, or simply be pulled by the automobile. A three-wheel vehicle coupled to an automobile may provide additional power, such as battery power to an automobile, electric automobile or hybrid automobile. The three-wheeled vehicle may recharge its batiery(s) using the forward motion of the automobile and may be configured to do so only when the automobile is decelerating. The three-wheeled vehicle may sense acceleration, deceleration and turning of the vehicle by an accelerometer device and respond accordingly. The three-wheeled vehicle may be used to provide thrust to the automobile and reduce the automobiles energy consumption. The three- wheeled vehicle may be used to decelerate the automobile and reduce the brake ware and conserve energy,

[0014 j The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may be com letely human powered or may have one or more human power input features, in the completely human powered embodiment, the three-wheeled vehicle may be configured- with one or more pedal devices that enable an operator and/or passenger to pedal and propel, the three-wheeled vehicle. A pedal device may be coupled to one or more wheels of the three-wheeled v ehi cle through any suitable means, including a chain, gear linkages, belts, any combination, of coupling features provided and the like, in an exemplary embodiment, a pedal device is coupled with a generator and electric energy produces is provided to one or more electric motors to propel the vehicle. The electric motors may be coupled to the two forward wheels and may be hub motors, for example. In still another embodiment, the three- wheeled vehicle is configured with a pedal device for the operator and a separate pedal device for a passenger. A three-wheeled vehicle, as described herein, may be configured for a single passenger to sit behind the operator and the pedaling devices may be coupled, whereby the operator and passenger combine there pedaling efforts. A pedaling device may be any suitable type including a rotational type, as is found on most conventional bicycles, or reciprocating type, whereby two pedals move back and forth in a substantially linear manner including an arced path but not a rotational path. In an exemplary embodiment, a reciprocating pedaling device is configured in front of the operator and comprises pedal thai flip or pivot out of the way until the operator is ready to use them, so that they are not in the way when entering or exiting the vehicle. In addition, the pedaling mechanism may be configured at least partially within the shell of the vehicle and extending pedals into the cabin.

[00! 5] in an exemplary embodiment, a pedaling device is coupled to a generator, whereby pedaling charges a battery that may be configured to drive one or more wheels of the three-wheeled vehicle through an electric motor. The three-wheeled vehicle may use the pedal power from a human power input feature to control the forward speed of the vehicle if desired by the operator.

[0016] in an exemplary embodiment, the three-wheeled vehicle as described herein comprises one or more power assist devices, such as an electric motor, A power assist device may be coupled to at least one wheel of the three- wheeled vehicle. An electric motor may be coupled to a wheel through arty suitable linkages or may be configured on a wheel, whereby it is located substantially aboot the wheel as shown and described herein, in an exemplary embodiment, two electric hub motors are configured on the two forward wheels, in yet another exemplary embodiment, an elect ric motor is configured on each o f the three w heels of the three-wheeled vehicle. Any suitable type of electric motor may be used with the three- wheeled vehicle including, but not limited to, a brushless AC motors, brushless DC motors, DC motors., synchronous motors, synchronous motors, induction motors, brush- less type motors, brushed type motors, universal motors, induction motors, torque motors, stepper motors, servo motors, transverse flux motors and the like. In the exemplary embodiment, trans verse flux motors based on MetGlas are used. A motor used in the three-wheeled vehicle may have any suitable power output including but not limited to, about l .SkW or more, about ?.5kW or more, aboot 15kW or more, and the like.

{ ' 0017} The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may be designed to reach any suitable speed or speed range including, but not limited to, 20raph or more, M) ph or more, 40mp.h or more, 55mph or more, 65mph or more and any range between and including the speeds provided, such as between and including 20mph to 65mph. In an exemplary embodiment, the three-wheeled vehicle is designed to reach a speed of 65 mph or more, thereby making it practical for most roads except for interstate* outside of city limits. In still another embodiment, a three-wheeled vehicle as described herein is configured to reach speeds of 125mph or more.

{0018} The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may further comprise a regenerative braking feature and a rechargeable battery, whereby braking energy may be stored in a rechargeable battery. Brakes and or a regenerative braking feature may be on one or more of the wheels, such as onl the back wheel, the two forward wheels, or all three wheels. The three-wheeled vehicle may provide control such that wheels do not skid during breaking or acceleration. The wheels may be driven such that steering input also controls the torque, speed and or position of the wheels to aid in control, particularly steering. Control of the wheels may also he used to lean or tilt the vehicle using differential position, or torque or speed rather than other means of causing desired lean.

[001 ] The three-wheeled vehicle as described, herein may comprise any suitable type or combination of batteries, including but not limited to lithium based chemistry batteries. In an exemplary embodiment, a plurality of lithiu based chemistry batteries are configured for quick and easy installation in the three-wheeled vehicle. In one embodiment, a battery pack is configured with a plug in feature, whereby the battery pack can be removed from the vehicle and plugged into a standard wall socket to recharge the batteries, A three- wheeled vehicle may comprise any number of removable and rechargeable battery packs including one, two, three or more and the like. The battery or batteries may have a charger and or BMS system integrated into the unit that is capable of being carried- by hand with a handle so that it may be removed and recharge with a conventional power plug without other equipment or special plugs. In yet another embodiment, the three-wheeled vehicle comprises a plug in feature, whereby the three-wheeled vehicl ma be plugged in to charge the batteries.

[0020] The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may comprise a smart electronic device interface, whereby any conventional smart electronic device may be plugged into a docking station and provide electronic data, entertainment, directions, music, traffic alerts, and control one or more functions of the three- wheeled vehicle. In still another embodiment, a smart electronic device has a program that is specifically designed for use with the three-wheeled vehicle and in some embodiments is responsible for some of the control, of the three-wheeled vehicle. For example, i one embodiment a smart electronic device connected with the vehicle may control the profile adjuster settings as a function of speed, in one embodiment, a smart electronic device may be connected with the three- wheeled vehicle and provide .navigational information, speed, power stains of the vehicle, estimated range, human power output and total output for a duration, average human power output, heart rate, caloric rate or expenditure, and any other information related to the travel of the vehicle. In an exemplary embodiment, an operator's heart rate is monitored and displayed. Sensors may be configured on the steering apparatus, such as bandies, and a heart rate display may be provided on smart electronic device. In an exemplary embodiment, the calories burned may be calculated and displayed as a ra te, smmnation over a period of time and/or a total for a give traveled distance. Other information related to the travel may also be displayed including maximum speed, average speed, elevation gain, and the like. Ln still another exemplary embodiment, a display shows the input power being generated fay the operator of the vehicle to the human power inp ut device, such as a pedaling device. For example, a display may show the power input of the operator in watts, and this power may be converted by a generator to electrical energy that is stored in a battery or used to drive the vehicle directly.

[0021] In an exemplary embodiment, the human powered input is measured by the vehicle and the three-wheeled vehicle may not operate unless there is human powered input. This may be done to meet regulations for a particular class of vehicle, such as an electric bicycle, in another embodiment, the three-wheeled vehicle may limit the performance of the vehicle, such as speed to meet regulations for a particular class of vehicle. In another embodiment, the information ma be used to enhance training, therapeutic reasons, or for exercise.

1 0221 A smart electronic device connected with the three-wheeled vehicle may provide for communication between a operator or passenger within the same three-wheeled vehicle and a person in another three-wheeled vehicle, as described herein, or any other person. The smart electronic device may automatically reduce background noise picked up by a microphone before transmitting the voice from the sender to the receiver. Noise may be any background noise, music being played by the vehicle audio system and the like. In this way, passengers in two or more different three-wheeled vehicles, as described herein, may communicate as if they were in the same veh icle, thereby providing more of a communal experience while operating the three-wheeled vehicle, in another embodiment, a smart electronic device may also reduce or dampen the transmission of musk or sound being produced by the three-wheeled vehicle sound system. For example, a person driving a three- wheeled vehicle may be listening to music and. receive a call from a friend. The smart electronic device may transmit the driver's voice but dampen or reduce the music from the transmission to the caller. The smart electronic device may have access to the digital signal of the music being played in the vehicle, thereby aiding in the reduction of the music transmitted.

[0023] The three-wheeled vehicle as described herein may comprise one or more rear view mirrors that may automatically adjust with the height of the vehicle to provide a substantially constant viewing direction. For example, the three-wheeled vehicle may change height as a function speed by the profile adjustment feature. An operator may not he able to see the appropriate viewing direction through the rear view mirror when the height of the vehicle changes. An automatic rear view mirror adjustment feature however, may adjust the viewing direction of the rear view mirror to maintain a substantially constant viewing direction as a function of the profile adjustment feature. An automatic rear view mirror adjustment feature may be coupled with the profile adjustment feature through the control system for example. A smart device may also be used to supplement rear view mirrors and the l ike by displaying information from a camera or cameras on the vehicle. The headlights may be integrated into ihe same unit as the mirror so that it is also automatically adjusted as the profile changes. Blinkers may be integrated into the same unit to reduce parts, working and complexity. This unit may also be removable or foldabie or retractable or have some means such that it does not increase the width of the vehicle at critical times such as when passing through a doorway.

10024] hi an exemplary embodiment, a three- wheeled vehicle comprises a automatic tilt feature, whereby an inertia sensor provides input that controls the raising and lowering of the forward wheels, whereby when the vehicle moves around a corner, one forward wheel is raised while the other wheel may be lowered to reduce the ide acceleration felt by the operator of the vehicle.

[0025] The three-wheeled vehicle may be any suitable height when in its most upright position including but not limited to no greater than 6 ft, no greater than 5 ft, no greater than 4 ft, no greater than 3.5 ft and any range between, and including the height values provided. Likewise, the three-wheeled vehicle may have any suitable height when in the reclined high speed mode, including, but not limited to, no more than 5 ft, no more than 4 ft, no more than 3 ft, no more than 2.5 ft and any range between and including the height values provided. The three- wheeled vehicle may have any suitable maximum width including, but not limited to, no more than 48", no more than 36", no more than 34", no more than 32", no more than 30", no more than 28" and any range between, and. including the width values provided. In an exempiaty embodiment, a three-wheeled vehicle is configured to fit between a standard exterior door opening or through a 34" wide opening. Side view mirrors may be configured to ibid in and/or retract, and/or be detached to reduce the maximum w i dth of a three-wheeled vehicl as described herein, in an exemplar}-' embodiment, a person may commute to work in a three-wheeled vehicle described herein and take the vehicle into their work building, and in some cases an elevator and ideally into their office or place of work. The three-wheeled vehicle may be configured and sized to go wherever a wheelch air is capable of going. The three-wheeled vehicle may be plugged into a wail socket to charge the batteries for the commute back home after work, or one or more batteries may be carried into a place of work and charged,

[0026] The three-wheeled vehicle ma comprise any suitable or required .features of road and/or highway vehicles, including but not limited to, head lights, tail lights, break lights, turn signals on the front, back and/or sides of the vehicle, rear view mirrors or cameras, side view mirrors or cameras, windshield wipers, and any combination of features provided, in one embodiment, one or more of the mirrors changes position as a iimetion of the tilt of the vehicle, thereby providing a more effective v ew when the vehicle is in a turn, or tilt.

[0027] The summary of the in vention is provided as a general introduction to some of the embodiments of the invention, and is not intended to be limiting. Any suitable combination of features described in the summary may be incorporated into a three-wheeled vehicle as desired. Additional example embodiments including variations and alternative configurations of the invention are provided herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention, and together wi th the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

10029 j Figure 1 shows an isometric view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle as described herein.

f 0030 j Figure 2 shows a side view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle.

[003 i j Figure 3 shows a top down view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle.

[0032 j Figure 4 shows an isometric view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle with the entry door open.

[0033] Figure 5 shows a side view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle wit a side window open. [0034] Figure 6 shows a side view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle in. an up or high profile position.

[0035] Figure 7 shows a side view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle in a down or low profile position,

[0036] Figure 8 shows a side view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle in an intermediate profile position

[0037] Figure 9 shows a side view of an exemplan' three- wheeled vehicle in an intermediate profile position.

[0038] Figure 1 shows a side view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle, frame in an up profile position.

[ 0039] Figure 1 1 shows a side view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle frame in a down or low profile position.

[0040] Figure 12 shows a side view of an exemplary three- wheeled vehicle frame with the rear wheel turned 90 degrees to the zero turn radius axis.

[0041] Figure 13 shows a top-down view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle frame with the rear wheel turned 90 degrees to the zero turn radius axis.

[0042] Fi gure 14 shows a bottom-up view of an exemplary three- wheel ed vehicle frame with the rear wheel turned 90 degrees to the zero turn radius axis.

[0043] Figure 15A and 15B show top-down diagrams of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle zero turn radius.

[0044] Figure 16 shows a top-down view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle forward wheel drive and pivot configuration.

[0045] Figure 17 shows an isometric view of exemplary wheels and exemplary swing arms.

|0046} Figure 18 shows top-down view of a three- wheeled vehicle geometry having a person configured therein.

[ 0047] Figure 1.9 shows an isometric view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle with a smart electronic device configured therein,

[0048] Figure 20 shows an isometric view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle having a light, blinker and mirror assembly,

[ 0049] Figure 21 shows a vie w of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle having a battery module configured to be detached and easily carried by an operator. [0050] Figure 22 shows an isometric view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle shell body having a roof portion.

[0051 ] Figure 23 shows an isometric view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle towing another three- wheeled vehicle.

[0052] Figure 24 shows an isometric view of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle being towed by an automobile.

[0053] Figure 25 shows a side view of an exemplary steering input splitter in a low speed configuration.

[ 0054] Figure 26 shows a side view an. exemplary steering input splitter in a high speed configuration.

10055} Figure 27A shows a side view an exemplary steering input splitter in a high speed can figuration.

[0056] Figure 27B shows a side view an exemplary steering input splitter in a mid- speed configuration.

[0057] Figure 27C shows a side view an exemplary steering input splitter in a low speed configuration.

[0058] Figure 28 shows an isometric view of an exemplary rack and pinion steering device.

[ 0059] Figure 29 shows an isometric view of an exemplary rack and pinion steering device.

[0060] Figure 30 shows a isometric view of an exemplary rack and pinio steering device.

[0061 ] Figure 31 shows a top-down view of an exemplary compound steering arm device.

|0062} Figure 32 shows a spreadsheet of steering input splitter ratios.

[0063] Figure 33 shows a graph of the steering response as a .function of steering input.

[0064] Figure 34 shows an exemplary center differential configuration.

[ 00651 Figure 35 shows an exemplary center differential configuration.

[ 0066] Figure 36 shows an exemplary geometry for controlling the back wheel trail of an exemplary three -wheeled vehicle.

[ 0067] Figure 37A-37C show the geometry of an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle and trial of the back wheel. [0068] Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the figures. The figures represent an illustration of some of the embodiments of the present invention and are n t to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner. Further, the figures are not necessarily to scale, some features may be exaggerated to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, hut merely as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

[0069] As used herein, the terms "comprises," "comprising," "includes," "including," "has," "having" or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a nonexclusive

inclusion. For example, a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements is not necessarily limited to only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Also, use of "a" or "an" are employed to describe elements and components described herein. This is done merely for convenience and to gi ve a general sense of the scope of the invention. This description should be read to include one or at least one and the singular also includes the plural unless it is obvious that it is meant otherwise,

[ 0070] Certain exemplary embodiments of the presen t invention are described herein and illustrated in the accompanying figures. The embodiments described are only for purposes of illustrating the present invention and should not be interpreted as limiting the scope of the invention. Other embodiments oft.be invention, and certain modifications, combinations and improvements of the described embodiments, will occur to those skilled in the art and ail such alternate embodiments, combinations, modifications, improvements are within the scope of the present, invention.

[0071 ] As shown in FIG. 1 , an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle 10 comprises two forward wheels 22, 23 and one back wheel 20 and a protective shell. 37. The left forward wheel 22 and right forward wheel 23 make up the two forward, wheels. The three-wheeled vehicle shown in FIG. 1 has a protective shell enveloping the three- wheeled vehicle, or substantially covering at least the front, back, top and sides of the vehicle body. The protective shell 17 extend over the two forward wheels, as shown in FIGS. 1 to 4, The protective shell of the three-wheeled vehicle is configured to be aerodynamic and have low drag, A protective shell that envelops a three-wheeled vehicle may not cover the wheels of the vehicle as shown in FIG. L A protective shell that is configured over substantially the entire three-wheeled vehicle m form a weather tight enclosure or may form a complete enclosure around an occupant as shown in FIGS, 1 to 4. When the doors and or windows are in a closed orientation, air from the outside of the vehicle .may he substantially prevented from entering into the interior of the three- wheeled vehicle, in addition, vents (not shown) may be configured in the front of the vehicle or any other suitable location and may be opened to provide cooling to an operator. A protective shell is a material that prevents wind and rain from passing therethrough, provides some protection in the event of an accident, and may comprise any suitable maierial or combination of materials including, but not limited to, polymer, polypropylene., glass, metal, fabric, composites, and the like. A protective shell may comprise transparent: portions, or windows, whereby an operator or passenger may see through the shell In addition, one of more windo ws may be configured for opening. A protective shell may be configured over any portion of the three-wheeled vehicle. For example, a protective shell may cover the front portion of the vehicle and a portion of either side of the vehicle. A protective shell ma comprise one or more shell panels that may be configured for being detachabiy attached to the vehicle. An. operator may decide to remove side panels for example when the weather is nice and may choose to add additional panels when the weather is foul or the temperature is too low.

{ ' 0072] As shown in FIG. 2 the exemplary three-wheeled vehicle has a plurality of windows including a front window 72, and side window 74. A window may be configured to open or be detached from the vehicle. A protecti e shell may be aerodynamic in shape, whereby it provides a low drag. The shape of the protective shell shown i FIGS. 1 to 4, may be described as substantially tear drop shaped, wherein the outer surfaces are rounded and have a continual contour from the front of the vehicle to the back of the vehicle and wherein the .front portion has a larger volume than, the back portion. A traditional ear typically has a plurality of substantially planar surfaces, wherein the hood is a substantially planar surface that is parallel with the ground and transitions to the windshield that is configured at an angle to the plane of the ground, whereby the contou from the hood to the windshield is a non- continual contour or has an inflection point, or a rapid change in slope.

[00731 As shown in FIG. 3, an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle has an aerodynamic protective shell enveloping the vehicle. The protective shell has no planar surface along the outer shell from the front of the vehicle to the hack of the vehicle. The exemplary three- wheeled vehicle shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 is configured for one operator and no passengers. [0074] As shows in FIG. 4, an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle 10 comprises a front entry 70, whereby the front entry 70 opens to allow access to the interior of the vehicle. The from entry 70 may comprise a front window 72 and may be considered a door 73. The front entry 70 c n open in any suitable manner, including, to the side as shown in FIG. 4, upward from the bottom with a pivot along the top portion of the window, or slide along the contour of the vehicle whereby the front window slides up from the bottom. A door may be

configured in any suitable location such as in the front portion of the vehicle as shown in FIG, 4, along the sides of the vehicle or in the back of the vehicle. The front portion of the vehicle is the portion of the vehicle that faces forward and in one embodiment is the portion of the vehicle abo ve and in front of the two forward wheels.

10075} As shown in FIG. 5, an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle has a side window 74 that: is open. An operator 1 1 is shown in the vehicle with their feel on a pedaling device 15. A person may pedal the pedaling device to directly power the vehicle, or to charge a battery or batteries 19, such as through a generator. A human power inpnt device 50, such as a pedaling device may be configured in any suitable location on the vehicle. As shown in FIG. 5, a pedaling device 51 comprises an armature 53 and pedal 55 coupled thereto. A human powered input device, such as a pedaling device may be coupled with a generator to convert the input power into electrical energy. This electrical energy may be used to propel the vehicle, run any suitable system of the vehicle, be stored in a battery, or be fed to any other system such as a home either as AC or DC power. A pedaling device ma be

configured for the operator to use their amis to pedal the device. A control system 13 may provide resistance to the pedaling device 15 that is related to the speed of the vehicle, whereby pedaling resistance is provided at a lower gear ratio at low speeds and at a higher gear ratio, or equivalent resistance to a higher gear ratio, at higher speeds. A control device may provide a person with a work-out program thai varies the pedaling resistance according to a protocol and this protocol may use feedback features such as heart rate to control the pedaling resistance. For example, the steering device may comprise a heart, rate monitor that measures the heart rate of the operator. A control system may monitor t e operator's heart rate and ma vary the pedaling resistance to maintain, or vary over a protocol, the operator's heart rate. An operator may be able to pedal the pedaling device when stopped at a stop light- to power the batteries. An operator may use pedal input to control the forward speed of the vehicle if desired. The pedaling device may be a traditional rotational pedal ing device whereby two pedals rotate around in a generally circular fashion. In an alternative embodiment, a pedaling device may comprise a pair of pedals that reciprocate, or travel in an arc,

[0076] As shown in FIG. 6, an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle 10 is an upright profile position, such as when parked. The profile adjustment feature 14 is extended to raise the rear of the three-wheeled vehicle. The height of the three-wheeled vehicle H, may be a maximum when the vehicle is in a parked configuration. The length L of the vehicle and its wheel base, or distance between the forward wheels and the back wheel, may be a minimum when the profile adjustment feature is in the up position as shown in FIG. 6. The back wheel 20 is pulled closer to the forward wheels 22, 23 (not shown), when the three-wheeled vehicle is in an up profile position, as shown in FIG. 6. The turning radius would be a minimum in the up profile position.

| 77 } As shown if FIG. 7, an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle 10 is in a down profile position, such as when traveling at elevated speed. The profile adjustment feature 14 is extended out to lower the three-wheeled vehicie, and push the back wheel back and further away from the forward wheels. The height of the three-wheeled vehicle IT may be a minimum when the vehicie is in a down profile configuration. The length L of the vehicle may be a maximum when the profile adjustment feature is in the down position as shown in FIG. 7. The back wheel 20 is pushed further away from the forward wheels 22, 23 (not shown), when the three-wheeled vehicle is in a clown profile position, as shown in FIG, 7.

|007 ] As shown in FIG. S and FIG. 9, the profile adjustment feature may adjust the height of the rear of the vehicie as a function of speed of the vehicle an may have any number of positions between the fully up position shown in FIG. 6, and the fully down position shown in FIG. 7. The variation in profile may be continually and automatically adjusted by the control system, or it may have some or all operator input control. An operator ma be able to adjust the profile or provide some input for personal preference or for a particular type of conditions, such as loose road conditions or windy environments. A profile adjustment feature may comprise one or more linear actuators (not. shown but shown in FIG. 1 through 14), and one or more pivots to enable the height of the vehicle to be adjusted, as shown in FIG, 8 and FIG. 9. The length of an actuator is adjusted to change the height of the vehicle and as it does the wheel base also changes, enhancing stability.

0079 j As shown in FIG. 1 , a three-wheeled vehicle frame comprises a linear actuator coupled to the back wheel 20. The frame is elevated up or vertically as shows in FIG. 10, An up position, such as when the three-wheeled vehicle is parked allows for easy entry into the vehicle. As shown to FIG. 1 L the three-wheeled vehicle frame is in a down position.

[0080] As shown in FIG. 12, a three-wheel^ vehicle has the back wheel 20 turned 90 degrees from the zero turn radius. The zero turn radius is between the two forward wheels, whereby the two forward wheels turn in opposite directions as the back of the vehicle rotates around a center point between the two forward wheels. Also shown in FIG. 12 the steering control 1 comprises steering control actuators 60, that are discrete levers configured on either side of the operator I I. The steering control actuators pivot substantially about the elbows and are configured to be push or pulled to steer and or lean the vehicle. Any suitable- type of steering controller may be used including a wheel, a joystick and the like, i one embodiment, the three-wheeled vehicle, as described herein can pivot or rotate 360 degrees substantially within its own dimensions.

[00 1] As shown in FIG. 13 and 14, the three- wheeled vehicle frame has the back wheel 20 turned at 90 degrees to the zero turn radius.

[0082] Figure I SA and FIG. 15B show a diagram of the zero tarn radius of the three- wheeled vehicle. The back wheel 20 is turned 90 degrees to the forward wheel axis 27, or line between the two forward wheels. The two forward wheels move in opposing directions as indicated by the arrows on the wheels, with, the left forward wheel 22 moving forward and the right forward wheel 23 moving backward. This motion, moves the vehicle about a midpoint between the two front tires along the forward wheel axis, or zero turn radius point 25. The three-wheeled vehicle can be configured with a very small turn radius or substantially within its own dimensions when the vehicle is in an up profile position, or when the back wheel is as close as possible to the forward wheels. FIG. 15B shows the turn radius 27 about the zero turn radius poin 25.

[ 0083] Figure 16 shows an exemplary embodiment where an actuator, controlled by an accelerometer circuit (not shown) moves a cable or strap back connecting the two swing arms causing the vehicle to lean (tilt) such that the operator does not feel substantial side or lateral acceleration.

[00843 Figure 17 shows the two forward wheels 22, 23 and the back wheel 20 having swing arms 28 configured thereto. These two forward swin arms are- trailing link swing arms. The forward wheels are connected to swing arms that are in front of the wheels or at least in front of the forward wheel axis. Likewise, the back wheel is coopled to a swing arm 2-8' configured in front of the back wheel. A strap may connect the swing arms.

I ? [0085] As shown in HO. 18, an operator is configured in the frame of a three- wheeled vehicle- The operator Sias his hands on the handle type steering controllers 16.

[0086] As shown in FIG. 19, a three-wheeled vehicle 10 comprises a smart electronic device 34 that may control portions of the vehicle. A smart electronic device may be a part of the three-wheeled vehicle or a device that is coupled io the vehicle, such as a smart phone or tablet computer. For example, a user may enter the vehicle and install their smart phone into the input jack, dock or docking station of the three- wheeled vehicle and load the appropriate application. This application may receive input from vehicle sensor and provide control for the operation of the vehicle. An inertia sensor and/or speedometer may he used to control the profile adjustment feature for example. The three-wheeled vehicle may be lowered as speed is increased. The three-wheeled vehicle may have a first height at a first speed that is higher than a second ' height at a second speed when the second speed is greater than the first speed. For example, when the vehicle is entering a turn, the inertia! sensor 36 may provide a signal to the aeiuator(s) to raise one wheel, and lower the other to provide an appropriate and safe amount of tilt around the tarn. Also depicted in FIG. 19, is an automatic tilt feature that comprises an inertia! sensor 36, control system 13 and a wheel actuator 3 coupled to both the left and right forward wheels. An inertia! sensor 36 may control actuators that control the height of the forward wheels as described. Three electric motors 18 are configured coupled to the wheels of the three-wheeled vehicle. An electric motor may be directly attached to the wheels, such as hub motors 80 as shown attached to all three wheels of the vehicle. Any suitable number of motors may he used, such as only two on the two forward wheels, or one on the back wheel. An electric motor may be coupled to one or more wheels through any suitable manner, including through gears and a drive shaft, or a belt and the like. A display 35 may be part of a detachable electronic device that Is docked with a three-wheeled vehicle, or it may be a permanent attached component of the three wheeled vehicle,

[0087] As shown in FIG. 2 an. exemplary three- wheeled vehicle 10 has a light and mirror assembly 101 configured on the side of the vehicle. The light and mirror assembly 101 comprises a light 100, such as a high beam and/or may include a low beam, and a mirror 103 configured on the back-side of the assembly. The assembly may also integrate blinkers, A lean correction cable 10 provides adjustment of the position of the light assembly and or mirror as a function of the height of the vehicle. This is a simplified, motion feature, whereby the headlight and/or .mirrors ar phy sicall y coupled to a positional element of the vehicle. The headlight and/or mirror may be adjusted automatically as a function of the profile adjustment feature position, or height of the vehicle and lean or tilt of the vehicle, to provide effective forward and backward, viewing as the vehicle changes orientation. A camera may be configured on the vehicle to provide an image of a side or rear view of the vehicle and displayed on the smart device. A camera may also be coupled with a lean correction cable, A light, mirror, camera(s), or assembly comprising any of these components may be configured to be detachable from the three- wheeled vehicle and may be configured on the left side 120, right side 124 and/or top of the vehicle.

[0088] As sho wn in FIG. 21 an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle 10 has a battery module 90 configured to be detached and easily carried by an operator. The module shown has a battery module handle 93, whereby an operator may conveniently remove a battery module from the vehicie and plug it into outlet such as a 1 10 outlet. The battery module may include an integrated charger and or BMS (battery Management system), A three-wheeled vehicle may comprise any number of battery modules including one, two, three, more than three and the like. A batter .module may comprise any suitable number of batteries including one, two, three, more than three, more than five, more than ten, and any ratio between and including the number ofbatteri.es listed.

{ ' 0089] Also shown in FIG. 21 is a window assembly 76 that extends from one side of the vehicle to the other side of the vehicle. A window assembly may be curved to substantially match the contour of the vehicie and may comprise one or more window portions. In an. exemplary embodiment, a window assembly consists substantially of a transparent window, whereby a continuous window portion extends from the left side of the vehicle to the right side of a vehicie. The opening option may be only partly transparent and part may be also structural.

{ 0090] As shown in FIG, 22, an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle shell 17 comprises a roof portion, a front window 72 and discrete side windows 74, 74", The roof portio 77 may provide for improved security and safety of passengers in the event of a roll-over. The discrete side windows 74, 74' may be any suitable size and may be configured to open, such as by sliding or pivoting open, and/or may be detachable. The front window 72 may be any suitable s hape and may also be a front entry 74. Any portion of a front entry may comprise a window portion of any suitable shape and size and . this window portion may be detachable or configured to open, such as by sliding open or opening by a hinge, for example, in one embodiment, the lower portion of a front entry 74 is made of structural material and. a window is configured in an upper portion of the front entry.

[0091 ] As shown in FIG. 23 an exemplary three-wheeled vehicle 10 is towing another three-wheeled vehicle A tow lever 130 from the first three-wheeled vehicle 1.0 is coupled with a tow lever 130 ' from the second three- wheeled vehicle 10 * . At leas one of the tow levers is configured with a pivot 134, such as at the coupling point between the two vehicles. A tow lever may be configured to lock into a position, or pivot about a point where the tow Sever is coupled to the vehicle. A power coupling 132 is coupled between the two vehicles and pro vides for power transfer between a first and second vehicle. As shown, the towed vehicle .10 is being towed wit the rear wheeled raised.

10092} As shown in FIG. 24 an exemplary three- wheeled vehicle 10 is being towed by an automobile 140. The three-wheeied vehicle is being towed by a tow lever 130 fishy unfolded and extending from, the vehicle to the automobile and coupled to a suction cup 142. The suction cup is attached to the trunk cover of the automobile but may be located in any suitable location including a. window, back window, top or sides of car, bumper and the like. The attachment need not be a suction cu or may be composed of multiple suction cups. Safety strap is configured between the three-wheeled vehicle and the automobile as well A ower coupf m 132 extends from the three-wheeled vehicle to the automobile and may- provide power to the three-wheeled vehicle. For example, the automobile may be a hybrid or electric vehicle and the three-wheeled vehicle ma provide electric power to the automobile during towing or hybrid functionali y, whereby the three-wheeled vehicle propels and/or brakes alon with the towing vehicle. Electric power may be generated by the three-wheeled vehicle while it is being towed, or only when, the towing vehicle slows. An inertia! sensor 36 on the three-wheeled vehicle may sense acceleration and deceleration and may apply brakes or to power the three-wheeled vehicle. In this manner, the three-wheeled vehicle may provide less drag on the automobile and save energy.

10093] As shown in FIG. 25, an exemplary steering input splitter 150 is in a low speed configuration, where the steering actuator linkage 154 is moved, more as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 1 0 than the tilt actuator linkage 162. The profile adjustment linkage .158 is coupled to the steering ratio mechanism 1 .1 that adjust the relative amount of steering versus tilt of the vehicle. At slow speeds, when tire profile adjustment feature has the vehicle in an up profile orientation and the balance of steering is weighted to steering via the back wheel than it is to tilt of the vehicle. At relatively high speeds, the profile adjustment feature has the vehicle in a more down profile orientation which changes the balance of steering more to a tilting that steering. The profile adjustment feature, as described herein, is coupled with the profile adjustment linkage 158 of the steering input splitter 150. The steering ratio mechanism 151 shown in FIG. 25 and 26 is a slide, whereby the amount of movement of the two linkages, the tilt actuator linkage 162 and the steering actuator linkage 152, is changed as the steering actuator pi vot 154 moves along the steering ratio mechanism 151, or slide. The arrow around the steering actuator pivot show how the mechanism rotates as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 160. The long double sided arrow along the steering actuator linkage 152 in FIG. 25 show that the steering is dominate during slow speed operation of the vehicle and reduced as shown in FIG. 26, when the vehicle is moving at higher speeds as indicated by the short arrows along the steering actuator linkage 152. Likewise, the short double sided arrow along the lilt actuator linkage 1 2 in FIG. 25 indicates that tilt is a smaller contribution to steering at slow speeds and a higher contribution, to steering, longer arrows in FIG. 26, at higher speeds. The profile adjustment linkage 158 may be a physical linkage to the steering input splitter 150 as shown in FIG. 25 and FIG. 26, or it may be controlled by a sensor that measures speed, profile adjustment feature position, wind conditions, and or road surface conditions e.g. slip of tires, and an combination thereof. For example, a speedometer may be coupled to the control system and an actuator may move the steering actuator pivot to adjust steering input balance.

[0094] As shown in FIG. 26 an exemplary steering input splitter 150 is in a high speed configuration where the steering actuator linkage 154 is moved less as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 160 than the tilt actuator linkage 162.

[0095] As shown in FIG. 27A an exemplary steering input splitter 150 is in a high speed configuration where the steering actuator linkage 154 is moved less as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 160 than the tilt actuator linkage .1 2.

[0096] As shown in FIG. 27B an. exemplary steering input splitter 150 is in a mid- speed configuration, where the steering actuator linkage i 52 is moved, more as a function of steering input front the steering apparatus linkage 1 0 than the when in a high speed configuration and less than when in a low speed configuration, or when the vehicle is moving at a higher rate of speed, or lower rate of speed respectively. Likewise, when, a steering input splitter 1 0 is in a mid-speed configuration the tilt actuator linkage 154 is moved less as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 160 than the when in a high speed configuration and more than when in a low speed configuration, or when the vehicle is moving at a higher rate of speed, or lower rale of speed respectively.

[0097] As shown in FIG. 27A, an exemplary steering input splitter 150 is in a highspeed configuration where the steering actuator linkage 154 is moved less as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 1 0 than when in a lower speed configuration.

10098] As shown in FIG. 27B, an exemplary steering input splitter 150 is in a mid- speed configuration where the steering actuator linkage 154 is moved- less as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 1 0 than when in a lower speed configuration.

| 0099 j As shown in FIG. 27C, an exemplary steering input splitter 150 is in a low- speed configuration where the steering actuator linkage 154 is moved more as a function of steering input from the steering apparatus linkage 1 0 than when in a higher speed configuration.

[00100] As shown if FIG. 28, an exemplary rack and pinion steering device has a rack 182 and pinion 184. The rack may be coupled to the steering actuator linkage 152, as shown in FIGS. 25 to 27, and the pinion may be coupled to the wheel. This rack and pinion is reversed compared to normal rack and pinion steering in that the movement to the rack is the input and the output to cause the wheel to turn is the pinion gear. This arrangement allows the steering to be driven at any angle up and even past 90 degrees each way without the swing arm angle causing steering.

[00101 ] As show n if FIG. 29, an exemplary rack and pinion steering device has a rack 182 and pinion 1 84.

[00102] As shown if FIG. 30, an exemplary rack and pinion, steering device has a rack 182 and pinion 184.

[00103] Figure 31 shows an alternative to the rack and pinion where the housing and position outlined above are substantially the same. In this embodiment, the rack rod is replaced with a simple rod (not drawn) that moves along the short dotted line in the lower right in the drawing, and pivotably connects to the link 190. The link 190 connects to the large circle representing the storing tube of the swing arm. As the rod moves back and forth, the steering tube of the swing arm rotates steering the vehicle. This embodiment is stronger and lower cost and shares the benefit of not causing steering when the angle of the swing arm changes. It also has the advantage of providing variable and favorable sensitivity in steering input such that when steering at near straight, larger movemeiiis will cause less steering. When larger movements are necessary such as at very low speed, the mechanism provides greater movement when at grater steering angles.

|00104] Figure 32 shows a spreadsheet of steering input splitter as described, above. The raiio shown is ihe adjustment of steering to lean actuator linkage movement. As can he seen in this example, more than 3 times the input steering movement is required around the straight direction than at near 90 degrees in each direction. The data also show that the operation is substantially symmetrical about straight. That is that the mechanism provides the same characteristics turning right and it does turning left.

[001 5] Figure 33 shows a graph of the steering response as a function of steering input. The graph also show that the operation is substantially symmetrical about straight That is that the mechanism provides the same characteristics turning right and it does turning left.

[00106] figure 34 shows an exemplary center differential configuration,

[0 107] Figure 35 shows an exemplary center differential configuration,

[0 1081 Another concern with a variable profile vehicle is that the trail of the rear wheel will be unfavorable, perhaps unusable so, if the relationship to trail is not controlled. Figure 36 and FIG 37A.-37C show a multi-link passive solution to maintain a favorable trail from park, thru very low speed maneuvering (walking speeds), thru lower street speeds, thru high speed. This particular set up provides near zero trail at park, about 35 mm for very low walking speed, 75- jOOnirn for mid-range speeds and up to 133mm for the highest speeds. The actuator movement is about 7,5 inches. Another issue is maintaining a favorable shock absorber geometry. Particularly, the rate of shock mo vement to wheel movement. In one embodiment, a higher shock movement rate at higher speeds for greater "stiffness" and a lower rate and "softer" response at lower speeds may be selected.

[00109] Protective shell, as used herein, is a material that prevents wind and rain from passing therethrough and may comprise any suitable material or combination of materials including, but not limited to, a polymer sheet, glass, metal, fabric, composites, and the like. A protective shell may comprise transparent portions or windows whereb an operator or passenger may see through. A window may be configured for opening- Definitions [001 10] The term vehicle is used interchangeable for three-wheeled vehicle throughout the specification,

[001 1 13 The phrase "an arrangement of wheels consisting of is used herein to describe the wheels in contact with the road or driving surface and does not include a spare wheel that may be stored or part of the vehicle.

[001 121 A profile adjustment de vice, as used herein, is defined as a device that raise or lowers the vehicle by movement of the hack wheel such as through an actuator, or rotations arm. The profile adjustment device may be an automatic profile adjustment device whereby the profile adjustment device is configured to provide a first vehicle height at first speed and a second vehicle height at second speed and whereby the first height is higher than the second height and the first speed is lower than said second speed.

Additional embodiments :

[001 131 A three-wheeled vehicle where peddles are attached not .from a center but from the sides of the vehicle. A three- wheeled vehicle where peddles fold out of the way to facilitate entry and exit. A three-wheeled vehicle where raoton's) are controlled for position so that the vehicles motors are synchronized to the direction of steering. A three-wheeled vehicle where steering is accomplished with motors position and torque and rear wheel acts as a free caster. A three-wheeled vehicle where the body is both structural and serves as the exterior of the vehicle. A three-wheeled vehicle where reinforcements are molded in the body molding. A three- wheeled vehicle where hollow areas and conduits such as for airflow, wiring and cables are molded into body by placing pre-molded pans such, tubes into mold before plastic fills the mold. This may include wiring looms already in tubes. A three- wheeled vehicle where stampings and or tubes, and or castings are used as reinforcements. A three-wheeled vehicle where the access from the door to the seat is unencumbered. A three- wheeled vehicle with transverse flux motor/generators in three wheels, as hub motors.

[001 14] A three- wheeled vehicle using motor torque differential to tilt vehicle.

For example, an electric motor may be coupled to each of the two forward wheels, such as hub motors, and these motors may drive the wheels at different speed to induce a torque on the three-wheeled vehicle and cause it to tilt. This torque differential may be controlled by a control system of the three-wheeled vehicle and the amount of tilt may vary as a function of the vehicle speed o lateral acceleration. An accelerometer device, such as a accelerometer, gyro, or integrated as in inertiai measurement unit (ΙΜϋ), may be configured to measure lateral acceleration, or acceleration perpendicular to the length, of the vehicle or direction of motion, and may provide an input to a control system. This control system may control the motors coupled to the two front wheels to create a torque differential to induce a tilt and thereby reduce and/or eliminate lateral acceleration felt by an operator of the vehicle. For example, as low speeds a three-wheeled vehicle may go around a curve and a small amount of lateral acceleration may be measured, thereby inducing a first small amount of ti.lt.

However, when the three-wheeled vehicle travels around the same curve at a much higher rate of speed, a much higher amount of lateral acceleration is measured by the acceleromeler and the vehicle is made to tilt a much larger amount than at the lower speed. In both situations, the lateral acceleration felt by the operator is reduced by the controlled tilt of the vehicle as a function of lateral acceleration.

1 1 15] it. will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications, combinations and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Specific embodiments, features and elements described herein may be modified, and/or combined in any suitable manner. Thus, it is ended that the present invention cover the modifications, combinations and. variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.