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First look: BMW gets CLEVER

Future car: CLEVER concept could replace C1.

BMW reveals a gas-powered three-wheeler that sips just 2.4 litres of fuel per 100km

1 May 2006

IT may look a little unorthodox but in today’s world of high fuel prices any vehicle that consumes just 2.4 litres of gas per 100km is worth a second look.

That’s the fuel consumption figure BMW has been able to extract from its three-wheel, natural-gas powered micro-concept called CLEVER - Compact Low Emission VEhicle for URban Transport.

Although purely a concept at this stage, some reports are suggesting it could replace the C1 motorcycle, which was never sold here but was something of a hit in Europe because of its enclosed rain-proof design.

The $US3.9 million CLEVER concept is an enclosed two-seater that BMW claims combines the safety of a microcar with the manoeuverability of a motorcycle.

The bike runs on compressed natural gas and its strengthened frame will protect the driver in a crash and the vehicle will have a top speed of about 90km/h.

14 center imageThe 230cc BMW engine has been modified to use natural gas and produces 12.5kW of power and maximum torque of 15.5Nm at 6300rpm.

Fuel consumption is estimated to be 2.4L/100km equivalent to petrol, with 59.5 g/km of CO2 emissions.

The compressed natural gas is stored in two removable gas bottles providing a range of 150km.

To maintain stability Clever cabin tilts into corners up to 45 degrees, like a motorcycle, while the rear engine remains upright.

Apart from BMW, partners in the joint-venture project are the Technical University of Berlin, German Institute for Land and Sea Transport and Cooper-Avon Tyres Ltd in the UK.

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