NOTE: There is a lot more to the 4MC's unique technology than just having four wheels
I created the 4MC concept in 1989. Since then I have evolved the 4MC through six development stages. The Kickstarter funding will be used to optimise development stage six (which will include making a research prototype of stage six) and to create a design suitable for low cost mass production (which will include making at least one pre-production prototype with bodywork). The finished pre-production prototype(s) will be as close as possible to a factory finished product and will be available for motorcycle journalists to test. The work will include a lot of testing of components, sub-assemblies, and of the finished vehicles. Patent costs will also be absorbed by the funding.
The 4MC's value is in the safety margin that it's unique design provides (without compromising agility) should a destabilising event occur. I have endeavored to show the 4MC's safety and agility margins in the four action videos. However, I do not recommended riding the 4MC in such a manner on the open road. In most circumstances the 4MC would be ridden just like an ordinary motorcycle or scooter.
The above animation shows the 4MC's unique adapting track (red line) during leaning movements. The adapting track is a function of the 4MC's patented transversely pivoted suspension arms. The adapting track cannot be achieved with longitudinally (black line) pivoted suspension arms.
Should the 4MC slide and fall (low-side) or slide and then abruptly re-grip (high-side) the adapting track changes fast enough to create discernible friction (extreme slip angle) between the tyres and road which slows the low-side or high-side to provide the rider with more time to regain control. In normal and even in aggressive riding the slip angles stay within normal parameters and the 4MC feels like a two wheeled motorcycle to ride.
The adapting track can also keep the 4MC from falling over should a low-side not be controllable.
These advantages can only be achieved if all four suspension arms are transversely pivoted.
Furthermore, because the 4MC's suspension arms are transversely pivoted the suspension arms directly bridge the gap between the wheels and frame (main body) instead of being connected to an in-between structure that is projected-out from the frame. The absence of an in-between structure allows the 4MC to be lighter. Lightness directly equates to greater battery endurance and less construction material, both aspects help the environment. Less material also means lower production costs because material is bought by weight and the requirement for tooling is also less. The weight of a battery powered vehicle is greatly dictated by the battery weight. The 200kg target is very light for a four wheeled electric vehicle with an urban range of 100 miles (160km) and a 70mph (115kph) top speed, and it is only achievable because the 4MC's chassis is extremely efficient in its use of construction materials. Less range would allow an electric 4MC to be lighter still.
The 4MC was specifically designed for congested areas (as simulated in the above video by the prototype of the first development stage). My experience as a motorcycle courier provided essential first hand knowledge in determining the 4MC's size and agility requirement. There are many other advantages that are unique to the 4MC such as an extremely low centre of mass.
Risks and challenges
Obstacles are normal and hundreds of obstacles have been overcome during the 4MC project.
It has nearly always been the case that what initially seemed to be an obstacle was actually a benefit in disguise. Consequently, I am now much more inclined to initially see an obstacle as a potential catalyst for improvement rather than something to be concerned about.
The 4MC's long gestation process has advantageously provided the time for quality research through six development stages. The resulting technology (development stage six) is supreme and the resulting patents are extremely strong. The 4MC project commenced way ahead of its time but now the market and legislation trends increasingly support an electric 4MC, hence this drive for mass production.
This leaves the Kickstarter funding target as the main obstacle.
Reaching the Kickstarter funding target would enable me to complete the work that is required to bridge the gap from the 4MC's current status to being ready for mass production. Bridging this gap is necessary to provide later investors (if I mass produce the 4MC myself - the preferred scenario) or manufacturers (if I license the 4MC's technology) with the confidence they need to commit themselves to seeing the 4MC into mass production (tooling/promotion costs etc) and into the shops. However, if the funding target is not reached the converse is true. Therefore, the biggest risk to the 4MC is in not reaching the Kickstarter funding target.
The gap-bridging work could alternatively be achieved with me project leading one of the established and highly regarded vehicle development companies. The advantage of this alternative is that the work will be completed sooner and the reputation of such a company might provide a future investor (for mass production tooling and promotion etc) with additional confidence in the finished work. For this alternative to be a reality (based on meetings with such vehicle development companies) would require the Kickstarter funding to exceed the funding target by about 90% and reach £1.5m. I realise this is a very high sum but I mention it anyway and leave the outcome to you. An in-between sum could allow me to project lead a vehicle development company for some of the work.
I have no concerns about, the 4MC's technology, its patents, any alternative technology, the legislation, or about production feasibility. My confidence is derived from, the 44,000 + hours over 26 years that I have dedicated to the 4MC project, environmental legislation trends, established markets and market trends, the prototype of the first development stage, and the feedback (see below) from journalists who have ridden the prototype of the first development stage.
“The British Inventor who beat Yamaha to the Punch!”
Ben Purvis - Bike magazine - June/09
“It’ll out-turn your average trials rider and won’t crash!”....“Impressed? Oh Yes!!” Steve Ross - Bike magazine - June/09
“The Shape of things to come”
Nich Brown - The Road magazine - Oct/09
“It’d be true to say that I’ve never felt quite as confident leaning hard on wet surfaces as on the 4MC. You can literally throw the thing into a turn and gas up with total impunity. Changes in direction are reassuring and there’s plenty of that motorcycling intangible, “feel”. One of the exercises I set myself involved sudden swerving to avoid cones at about 90Kmh. Without doubt, the same manoeuvre on a motorcycle at the same speed on the same surface would have resulted in the mother of all crashes. Yet the 4MC simply switched and straightened in the same way a motorcycle would have in the dry” Rob Smith - 2009
“It soaked up the track’s minor bumps effortlessly and gave great confidence...” Roland Brown - Motorcycle Sport and Leisure magazine - January 2010
“The 4MC (prototype) had achieved its creator’s aim in convincing me that it works and could be developed for production....A production machine on similar lines could match or even exceed the impact of the MP3.” Roland Brown - Motorcycle Sport and Leisure magazine - January 2010
“The Ideal Commuting Machine” Roland Brown - Sunday Times - Feb/10
“Coming out of turns on full throttle while fully leaned over on loose gravel, takes a bit of trust, but the 4MC just digs into the tarmac and powers out unfazed!” Ian Grainger - Press and Journal - Apr/10
“a Strong Competitor for Piaggio” Mau - Twist and Go magazine - June/10
“I can categorically state that if I could buy a production ready 4MC… I’d be putting a deposit down tomorrow!” Iggy - Twist and Go Scooter magazine - August 2010Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)