As a student, Indian designer Narayan Subramaniam first designed his Eclipse concept car for the All India Automobile Design Challenge. Subramaniam took second place in the contest, but he also grabbed the attention of French automaker Renault. The result? The young designer’s pet project is now known as the Renault Eclipse Concept.
Unlike many concepts, there is something intuitively “right” about Subramaniam’s futuristic, three-wheeler. The electric, amphibious trike is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that Subramaniam envisions as paper thin and being integrated into the frame of the pod. To provide auxiliary energy to feed the battery, the Eclipse features a turbine to harness the high velocity wind passing through the interior of the vehicle. Subramaniam also sees this wind as producing ground effects aerodynamics, which produce a downward force on the vehicle at high speeds, aiding handling.
The Eclipse, which aspires to find the sweet spot between the power and speed of a conventional car and the wind-in-the-hair thrill of a motorbike, is powered by three independent in-wheel hub motors with regenerative braking technology to also aid the battery. Riding between the three wheels, the bike is suspended by a unique tilt mechanism which allows the passenger compartment to move along the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. According to the designer, this gives the thrill of riding a two wheeler while actually sitting on the extremely stable platform of a low-slung trike.