Polaris seems to have their hands in just about everything these days. Victory and Indian motorcycles, a strong ATV lineup, snowmobiles and even electric vehicles. This diverse lineup keeps the company profitable so they can expand in even more areas and it looks like they're about ready to strike on another front, because they've applied for a patent on a street legal side by side reverse trike.
Instead of building a tandem seat straddle trike like the Can-Am Spyder, they've placed the driver and passenger in side by side seats with a steering wheel instead of handlebars. The vehicle has a tube frame with bodywork of a non-specified material. The longitudinal mounted engine is up front with power going through a transmission and driveshaft to a final drive system mounted behind the seats with an input U joint and an output sprocket where it then transfers power by means of a belt drive to the single rear wheel mounted on the swingarm.
The rear swingarm has a centrally mounted monoshock and the front wheels are mounted to upper and lower A arms with a single shock on each side. Steering is shown as rack and pinion and the patent says it could incorporate an electronic power steering system in the future.
The patent describes the engine as a GM 2.4 liter Ecotec with a manual transmission, though it could also incorporate a hybrid system or even be a battery powered electric.
Polaris obviously has international markets in mind, too, because they describe the interchangeable lighting depending on the country where it will be sold.
They have a lot of features in the "may include" section, too. Other "anticipated" features are antilock brakes, traction control, MSR, which limits rear wheel slip during downshifts or a locked rear wheel on a slippery surface, EBD, electronic brake distribution to modulate brake pressure front and rear and VSC, vehicle stability control to limit yaw rate in a turn by modulating throttle input and applying the outside front brake, which means it will be really hard to drift unless you can turn it off since this baby looks like it could toss the back end out pretty easily.
Is this a competitor to the Can-Am Spyder or the Campagna T-Rex or V13R or possibly the Morgan 3 wheeler? It's hard to say, but with the Polaris engineering and design teams behind it and dealer network supporting it, this could be a formidable entrant in the market. Price will be a factor, obviously, but they have considerable leeway there because of all of the optional configurations and features. I think Polaris has big plans for this and with all of the detail shown in the patent drawings, it looks like this could be very close to getting the go ahead, if it hasn't already. If I were Can-Am or Campagna, I'd be a little uncomfortable.
This is very interesting, and though I have no information beyond the patent itself, I'd be surprised and disappointed if Polaris didn't introduce this sometime in the near future. I like it!
UPDATE! - logo and name - The Polaris Slingshot
Among the other paperwork Polaris filed recently, here's a design for a vehicle logo with the name included. It's registered as the logo for "three-wheeled motor vehicles for on road use." The name in the logo is "Slingshot."
With the design so well developed and the name trademarked, you have to wonder how close we are to seeing this vehicle introduced. Maybe something for this spring?
Link: US Patent Office