from the it's-faster-than-walking-now dept.
Grant Sinclair, nephew of Sir Clive Sinclair, is promoting a new version of the C5, his uncle's electric trike of 32 years ago. The new one, called IRIS, is faster and has a weather enclosure. Both can be seen in this BBC article. The original C5 was launched back before people had become punch-drunk with announcements of personal transport revolutions; and in the UK, before the launch, there was great excitement and a general expectation of a small electric car.
However the C5 turned out to be an open three-wheeled pedal car with feeble electric assistance. The C5 (and Clive Sinclair himself) instantly became laughing stock, and it has been described as the "worst gadget of all time" and the "biggest technical flop ever". Nobody thought it was "cool", as the BBC commentator claims.
Arguably, the C5 set back the cause of EVs by a generation, as people assumed that any EV would be similar. One commentator said that it seemed axiomatic that EVs had to be "quirky, ugly and tiny". Indeed, IRIS joins quite a range of similar tiny EVs, none of which are showing much sign of revolutionising transport. Meanwhile conventional car type EVs look set to thrive.
[Ed. Note: The BBC link is a short video. This article on techmash has more words.]