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Title:
ELECTRICAL VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1999/015394
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A vehicle comprises a frame (1; 16), at least one front wheel (2) and one rear wheel (3) supported by said frame, a saddle (12) and a steering arrangement (10, 18), as well as an electric drive unit (5, 6). The frame is curved in the shape of an upside-down arc. The front wheel and the rear wheel are attached to the frame near the ends thereof. Parts of the vehicle, such as an electric motor (5) and a battery (6) of the electric drive unit, are accommodated in the frame or in a housing (21) or a luggage carrier (20) attached thereto.

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Inventors:
SCHMIT WILHELM FELIX THEODORUS (NL)
Application Number:
PCT/NL1998/000554
Publication Date:
April 01, 1999
Filing Date:
September 24, 1998
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HOLDING SCHMIT PARKEERSYSTEMEN (NL)
SCHMIT WILHELM FELIX THEODORUS (NL)
International Classes:
B62K3/10; B62K5/027; B62K11/06; B62K13/06; B62K15/00; B62K19/06; B62K19/16; (IPC1-7): B62K3/10; B62K5/04; B62K11/06; B62K13/06; B62K15/00; B62K19/06; B62K19/16
Domestic Patent References:
WO1997027098A11997-07-31
Foreign References:
EP0570653A11993-11-24
US5029666A1991-07-09
FR2736876A11997-01-24
DE19533111A11997-03-13
DE4443014A11995-06-08
US4871042A1989-10-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Metman, Karel Johannes (De Vries & Metman B.V. Overschiestraat 180 XK Amsterdam, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A vehicle comprising a frame (1; 16), at least one front wheel (2) and one rear wheel (3) supported by said frame, a saddle (12) and a steering arrangement (10,18), as well as an electric drive unit (5,6), wherein the frame (1; 16) is curved in the shape of an upsidedown arc, with the front wheel and the rear wheel (2,3) being supported near the ends thereof.
2. A vehicle according to claim 1, wherein the frame is made of a single tube (1) of a plastic material, which preferably has a large diameter of more than about 10 cm.
3. A vehicle according to claim 1, wherein said frame is made up of a tube (16) of a light metal, preferably a double tube having a small diameter.
4. A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein parts of the vehicle, such as an electric motor (5) and a battery (6) of the electric drive unit are accommodated in the frame or in a luggage carrier (20) or housing (21) attached thereto.
5. A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the lower part of the front end of the tube (16) of the frame is connected to a steering column tube (17), which rotatably supports a front fork (18) and handlebars (10) of the steering arrangement connected thereto.
6. A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the frame is divided by a partition (13) near the longitudinal centre, and wherein the frame is fitted with a horizontal hinge (14) for the purpose of folding the frame together.
7. A vehicle according to claim 6, wherein the electric motor (5) is mounted in front of the lower part of the rear end of the frame, being connected to a the axle (4) of the rear wheel (3) via a transmission element (19).
8. A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a footrest (22) is placed near the lower part of the rear end of the frame.
9. A vehicle according to claim 8, wherein the electric motor (5) is accommodated in a housing (21), which also makes up said footrest (22), and which, in the case of a divided frame, forms a recess for receiving at least part of the front wheel (2) in the folded position.
10. A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the tube (1; 16) of the frame is fitted with solar cells or with a terminal for connecting an energy source thereto for recharging the battery.
11. A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein a luggage carrier (20) comprising a hollow space for accommodating one or more batteries (6) is provided.
12. A vehicle comprising a frame (1; 16), at least one front wheel (2) and one rear wheel (3) having a small diameter, which are supported by said frame, a saddle (12) and a steering arrangement (10,18), as well as an electric drive unit comprising an electric motor (5) and a power supply (6), wherein said electric motor is mounted on the frame near the rear wheel (3).
13. A vehicle comprising a frame (1; 16), at least one front wheel (2) and one rear wheel (3) supported by said frame, a saddle (12) and a steering arrangement (10,18), as well as an electric drive unit comprising an electric motor (5) and a power supply (6). AMENDED CLAIMS [received by the International Bureau on 29 January 1999 (29.01.99); original claim 1 amended; remaining claims unchanged (1 page)] 1. A vehicle comprising a frame (1; 16), at least one front wheel (2) and one rear wheel (3) supported by said frame, a saddle (12) and a steering arrangement (10,18), as well as an electric drive unit (5,6), wherein the frame (1; 16) is curved in the shape of an arc, with the front wheel and the rear wheel (2,3) being supported near the ends thereof.
14. 2 A vehicle according to claim 1, wherein the frame is made of a single tube (1) of a plastic material, which preferably has a large diameter of more than about 10 cm.
15. 3 A vehicle according to claim 1, wherein said frame is made up of a tube (16) of a light metal, preferably a double tube having a small diameter.
16. 4 A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein parts of the vehicle, such as an electric motor (5) and a battery (6) of the electric drive unit are accommodated in the frame or in a luggage carrier (20) or housing (21) attached thereto.
17. 5 A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the lower part of the front end of the tube (16) of the frame is connected to a steering column tube (17), which rotatably supports a front fork (18) and handle bars (10) of the steering arrangement connected thereto.
18. 6 A vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the frame is divided by a partition (13) near the longitudinal centre, and wherein the frame is fitted with a horizontal hinge (14) for the purpose of folding the frame together.
19. 7 A vehicle according to claim 6, wherein the electric motor (5) is mounted in front of the lower part of the rear end of the frame, being connected to a the axle (4) of the rear wheel (3) via a transmission element (19).
Description:
ELECTRICAL VEHICLE The present invention relates to a vehicle, in particular intended for covering short distances.

Present-day traffic is becoming increasingly problematic. Roads are getting ever more congested and parking problems are becoming more and more serious, especially in the inner cities. For many people, public transport is not a satisfactory alternative, if at all, partly due to man's need for individuality and independence.

The object of the present invention is to provide a new vehicle, wherein the aforesaid problems can be obviated, at least as far as short distances are concerned.

In order to accomplish that objective, the invention provides a vehicle comprising a frame, at least one front wheel and one rear wheel supported by said frame, a saddle and a steering arrangement, as well as an electric drive unit, wherein the frame is curved in the shape of an upside-down arc, with the front wheel and the rear wheel being supported near the ends thereof.

Due to the use of the arc-shaped tubular frame, such a vehicle can be of simple yet strong and light construction, preferably by using a plastic material or a light metal, such as aluminium or titanium. Thus, the vehicle can readily be taken along in the boot of a car or in a bus or train, so that a comfortable combination of means of transport can be formed. The electric drive ensures that short distances can be covered without any problem, think of a range of 3-10 km, for example, or 15-50 km if a larger battery is used. At the destination, the vehicle can readily be stored, due to its small size, and be taken inside at the place of work, for example. The battery of the electric drive unit could directly be recharged there.

Passenger cars could be adapted and be provided with a recharging terminal in the boot, so that the vehicle could be recharged while being transported in the car. The range

of the vehicle could be enlarged by mounting solar cells on the outside of the frame tube.

The invention will be explained in more detail hereafter with reference to the drawing, which very schematically shows two embodiments of the vehicle according to the invention.

Figs. 1 and 2 are a schematic side view and a schematic plan view respectively of a first embodiment of the vehicle according to the invention.

Figs. 3 and 4 are views corresponding with Fig. 1 of a second embodiment of the vehicle according to the invention.

Fig. 5 is a schematic side view of a third embodiment of the vehicle according to the invention.

Fig. 6 is a larger-scale sectional view along line VI-VI in Fig. 5.

Like parts are as much as possible numbered alike in the various figures.

Figs. 1 and 2 show the vehicle according to the invention, which comprises a frame in the form of a single, arched tube 1, a circular arc in this case. Said tube 1 has a large diameter, for example of more than 10 cm, and it may be made of a strong plastic or other light-weight material which possesses the right properties, so that a frame is provided which on the one hand can be produced in a simple and inexpensive manner, and which on the other hand can be self-supporting and does not require additional stiffening for supporting the weight of a person and possible luggage.

Wheels are supported in bearings at the ends of tube 1 of the frame, with one front wheel 2 and two rear wheels 3 being provided in this case. Front wheel 2 is positioned in the centre plane of the tube 1, whilst rear wheels 3 are positioned in line with each other on either side of tube 1, being connected by means of an axle 4. The diameter of wheels 2,3 can be selected at will, in the illustrated embodiment the wheels are relatively small, in order to keep the vehicle compact. Wheels 2,3 may be

provided with pneumatic tyres or with massive tyres or the like, which may or may not spring.

Connected to axle 4 of the rear wheels 3, whether or not via a transmission, is a schematically indicated electric motor 5 for driving the vehicle. Said electric motor 5 is fed by a battery 6, which may be designed to have an adequate range of for example 15-50 km. A connecting terminal 7 may be provided on the outside of tube 1 for recharging battery 6, which terminal can be connected to a recharging apparatus. The vehicle itself may also be provided with a recharging apparatus, of course, so that connecting terminal 7 may be intended for connection to the electricity grid. Since the vehicle is highly suitable for being transported in the boot of a car, it is also possible to fit a car with a connecting terminal in the boot, so that the battery 6 of the vehicle can be recharged while being transported in the boot of the car. Solar cells may be fitted to the outside of tube 1 of the frame for supplying electric energy to battery 6.

Vehicle wheel 2 is steerable, to which end an axle 8 of front wheel 2 is supported in bearings in a lower part 9 of frame tube 1, which part is rotatable about a vertical axis, or an axis which coincides with the central axis of tube 1. The rotation of the lower part 9 of tube 1 can be carried out by means of handlebars 10 and/or footrests 11, which may be positioned coaxially with the axle 8 of front wheel 2. Of course various other embodiments of wheel suspensions and steering arrangements are conceivable.

A saddle 12 provides a seat relatively close to the ground for the driver of the vehicle, so that the driver can easily reach the ground with his feet when the vehicle is stopped. The positions of saddle 12, handlebars 10 and footrests 11 can be adapted to each other to provide a reasonably comfortable seating position.

A partition 13 may be provided, for example near the transverse centre of frame tube 1, for example for the purpose of providing access to the interior of tube 1, in

which various parts, for example the parts of the electric drive, may be present. Preferably, the parts of tube 1 are interconnected on either side of said partition 13, via a horizontal hinge 14. Said hinge 14 may be present on the upper side or on the underside of tube 1. If hinge 14 is present on the underside, it is possible to connect the tube parts present on either side of the partition 13 by spring means, and possibly by shock-absorbing means, so that partition 13 can be utilized for the purpose of spring- supporting the frame of the vehicle.

By coupling tubes 1 parallel to each other, or by extending the frame with a crossed tube, it is also possible to provide a light-weight four-wheel vehicle, which can be rendered suitable for transporting one or two persons.

Figs. 3 and 4 show an embodiment wherein curved tube 1 comprises a straight central portion 15. Said central portion 15 may be used for adapting the geometry of the vehicle, whilst it may also provide additional storage room in frame tube 1. All kinds of other variations as regards the shape of tube 1 of the frame are possible, of course.

Such a variation of the vehicle is shown in Fig. 5.

The frame of said vehicle is made of a light metal, such as aluminium, titanium or the like. In the illustrated example, two tubes 16 extending side by side and being connected, for example by welding, are used, which tubes are curved in the shape of an upside-down arc and which comprise a partition 13 at the location of saddle 12, so that tube portions 16' and 16''are formed. Said tube portions are connected by a horizontal transverse hinge 14, in such a manner that tube portions 16'and 16''of the frame can be folded together for transport and storage of the vehicle. Due to the arched shape of the tubes 16 of the frame, a certain amount of spring is obtained in a simple manner, whilst furthermore spring arrangements may be provided at the location of partition 13 or under saddle 12.

A single steering column tube 17 is welded to the frame, near the lower part of the front end thereof, which

tube 17 rotatably supports a front fork with a single front wheel 2 and handlebars 10 connected thereto. Front wheel 2 and rear wheel 3 both have a very small diameter, in the order of 15-30 cm. The pneumatic tyres are relatively thick with a view to effecting a certain amount of spring and increasing stability.

Rear axle 4 with the single rear wheel 3 present thereon is supported in bearings in the lower part of the rear end of the frame. Mounted in front of said lower part is electric motor 5, which is connected to a toothed wheel of rear axle 4 via a transmission element, such as a toothed belt 19. The battery (or batteries) 6 for the power supply of the electric motor 5 are preferably flat and accommodated in a hollow space of a luggage carrier 20, an additional battery may be placed on said luggage carrier in order to increase the range. A housing 21 may be fitted round electric motor 5 and the parts that co-operate therewith, which housing may also be provided with a support 22 for the driver's feet. Thus, no extra parts are required for said support, thus saving additional weight. Due to the small wheels 2,3 and the low position of the driving means 5,6 which is thus made possible, a very low centre of gravity is achieved. Housing 21 may be provided on the front side with a recess for partially receiving the front wheel 2 when the vehicle is being folded.

From the foregoing it will be apparent that the present invention provides a simple, strong, small and light-weight vehicle, which is inexpensive to produce. The centre of gravity of the vehicle can be kept low, so that the vehicle will have good driving characteristics. Due to its small size and low weight, the vehicle can be taken along in other means of transport which are used for larger distances, such as cars, buses or trains, so that an optimum combination of means of transport can be provided.

The invention is not limited to the above-described embodiments as shown in the drawing, which can be varied in several ways within the scope of the invention. Thus, a

handle may be formed on the upper side of the frame tube for easy lifting and carrying of the vehicle. Furthermore it is possible to provide a weather protection, which is for example stored in the frame tube and which can be unfolded or the like as the need arises. Furthermore, all kinds of accessories which are prescribed by law will be provided, of course.