Back in 1994, the Netherlands surprised the world with a very unique machine, the Carver One. It had a steering wheel, but looked and behaved like a motorcycle, being able to lean in curves. Sadly, it died in 2009. Toyota supplied its engines and decided volumes were not interesting to maintain that. But the leaning technology kept the company alive. And September will see the first customers receive a brand-new Carver. An electric one.
The company said engine supply was what killed the Carver One, but it was expensive and too different to have the right to cost €30,000 (~$33,600). So the volumes were much smaller than expected: only 250 were ever built. The new Carver shows the company has learned that lesson well.
Instead of being a machine that goes from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 8.2 s and reaches a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h), it is defined by its manufacturer as an ENV, or enclosed narrow vehicle, similar to a BMW C1. With that, it demands at least a scooter license to be driven.
It is also much cheaper than its predecessor, at €7,990 – a little less than $9,000. Top speed is limited to 28 mph (45 km/h) and the 5.3 kWh battery pack is enough to make the 330 kg Carver have a range of 62 mi (100 km). The leaning machine is 113.8 in (2.89 m) long, 34.7 in (0.88 m) wide and 58.7 in (1.49 m) tall.
The ENV is able to carry the driver, a passenger right behind the one on the steering wheel and 2.5 ft³ (70 l) of cargo. Although it looks like an open vehicle in the video, it also has a removable fabric roof and side windows. So it can be whatever you choose it to be.
Safety is ensured by a steel tubular frame that the company classifies as "sturdy". Its low weight would also probably just make it move instead of absorbing an impact. The fact is that being an ENV makes its homologation process be easier than that of a car.
Regarding what makes it truly unique, the Carver’s tilting device is called Dynamic Vehicle Control, or DVC. It uses a hydraulic mechanism to lean the body up to 45º in order to make the vehicle more stable by counteracting side load transfer.
Being narrow reduces the Carver frontal area and helps it be a more efficient EV. Being electric allows it to replace the single-engine solution the Carver One had by two in-wheel hub motors.
Each develops 2.7 hp (2 kW), for a total power of just 5.4 hp, but torque figures could be around 7.4 lb-ft (10 Nm) per unit, for a total amount of 14.8 lb-ft (20 Nm). Carver still did not confirm these numbers. We will update them with their reply.
Charging requires a 220V outlet and takes 4.2 hours for 80 percent of charge and 6.5 hours for a full recharge. The company says it can be done “with a regular power socket or with a converter connected to a car charging station.”
Production is currently going in Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland, on the north of the Netherlands, and there are plans to scale up production by the end of the year.
When that happens, Carver plans to expand sales to Belgium, in a first step, then to other Western Europe countries. Previously, the company had plans to sell in Asia, but they have probably been halted due to the high volumes of production that would require.
If the company ever manages to establish a factory in China, for example, it can even think of exporting to the whole world. It would help if they carried on plans to have a new Carver One, without speed limitations. Hopefully electric.
There are probably many importers already thinking about how to sell the Carver in their countries. If you were an importer, wouldn’t you?