Taking a Whack at Making a Car

IAN A. BRUCE presses an Italian-made alligator-skin boot onto the accelerator of his three-wheel thrill machine and careens around a corner. The agile metal box tilts precariously to one side, leaving Mr. Bruce nearly horizontal to the ground.

“The experience is like driving a jet fighter,” he shouts over the engine. “It’s truly a new kind of vehicle.”

The machine, which has one wheel in front and two in back, is a hybrid of a motorcycle and a car, and it underscores a trend: vehicles of the future are as unorthodox as the entrepreneurs who are trying to create them.

A generation of digital-era Henry Fords, unabashed and brimming with confidence, has emerged. Born of Silicon Valley and the dot-com culture, they are trying to apply to carmaking the same entrepreneurial spirit that built the information superhighway.

Most of the inventors are not carmakers by background or training. But they are cocksure, backed by millions of dollars in venture capital and cloaked in the righteousness of environmentalism. To their critics, they are flying at high speed around a blind curve, destined to become reality-check crash-test dummies.

Source:  New York Times

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