Trev, the car

The idea is simple—a low-mass, low-energy vehicle powered by renewable energy and designed specifically for city mobility.

In 2003, the task of designing such a vehicle was given to industrial design students at the University of South Australia, led by an experienced automotive designer. At the same time, engineering students started designing the low-mass structures and the major components of the car. The design was further refined during 2004.

Trev. The design.

The key features of the design were:

  • three-wheeled design with tandem seating layout, to give good aerodynamics and good balance
  • a canopy similar to that found on sailplanes, giving an unimpeded view of the road
  • a single door, on the kerb side of the car
  • single rear-wheel drive, to simplify the suspension and transmission
  • an electric motor, to give smooth quiet acceleration from 0—100 km/h in about 10 seconds
  • efficient tyres, to minimise rolling resistance
  • a 45 kg lithium polymer battery, giving a range of over 100 km
  • a tub chassis made from composite boards, formed by cutting, folding and gluing.

In 2005 the car was built, painted green, and named “Trev”.

Trev was further refined during 2006, and in 2007 was driven 3000 km from Darwin to Adelaide in the demonstration class of the World Solar Challenge. Cruising speed was 80-90 km/h, range was up to 120 km, recharge time was one hour.

Devil's Marbles, NT Australia, October 2005.

The current challenge is the Zero Race—carry two people 30000 km around the world, powered by renewable energy. To achieve this, we need to:

  • place a larger battery beneath the floor, to give a range of 250 km
  • improve the brakes and suspension
  • make the back seat more comfortable
  • get the car registered.

The key design concepts will not change.

Trev. Simple, efficient, clean.

18 responses to “Trev, the car

  1. Andrew Goff

    Hi Team,
    Sounds FANTASTIC! I want one. are you going to produce the car for sale?
    Hope you acheive your aim. Have a great trip.

    • Thanks Andrew.

      At the moment if you want one you have to built it yourself. We will be putting instructions on Trevipedia (

      Our aim is not to build cars (we are a group of volunteers doing this in our spare time, and we do not have the time, skills or money to produce cars for sale); our aim is to inspire people to look for more efficient vehicles, and to inspire companies that know how to build things to build on our ideas and produce something appropriate for daily commuting.


  2. Wolfram Lindl

    Hi TrevTeam,

    met you and your fantastic car in Linz (Austria) during the Zero Race.
    Good luck for the tour, I hope you will win with this great car!


  3. How much did that custom canopy cost to have made? Is there a high failure/reject rate in its production?



    • Chris,

      The canopy was made for us by Ian Linke, a Team Trev member who has a business making sailplane canopies: Aviation Acrylic Mouldings. There is an article in AutoSpeed magazine explaining the process. This was the largest canopy Ian had built, and one of the first without a mould, so it took about three attempts to get it right.

    • Chris,

      The canopy is worth about $ 1600.00 AUS +GST(10%) tax

      Production rejection rate 1 in 4 ish depending on what the fault may be . Sometimes the sheet will have a fault sometimes the tooling will do something unexpected , sometimes Ill mess something up. It is a big canopy and you need a big oven to do it successfully.


      Ian Linke
      Aviation Acrylic Mouldings

      • On the subject of the canopy, I couldn’t help but notice the windscreen wiper there in the recent pictures – despite the comment in the Autospeed article about that posing a scratching risk. Was that just a little exaggerated, or has some other less scratchy solution been found? (Or do you guys just use an awful lot of cut&polish on it? 🙂 )

  4. Pingback: COP16: Sleek Electric Vehicles Race Through Cancun | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World

  5. We don’t use the wipers much, but the windscreen does scratch easily. After 27,000 km, it is due for a good polish. A cleaning system without a wiper would certainly be useful.

  6. The ZERO RACE has published today a “30 second Zero Race design survey”
    Unfortunately I gave the wrong answer (well, the race has been interrupted for a while and I must have mixed up the team names…)
    The ZEROTRACER is certainly very nice, but – from the photos – I would prefer the TREV. Probably some other readers of this posting can vote to compensate my mistake (The survey must leave some “cookie”, as I could not correct it…)
    I’m very much looking forward to your postings on, as I’ve always wished a modern version of my LOMAX(es):

    Hope the team & TREV arrive safely at CASABLANCA & then GENEVA !

    Best regards from France
    Henry C. REESE
    – Secrétaire général de l’association ENERGIE Franco-Allemande –

  7. @teamtrev • Thanks for your kind answer & glad to hear that the cars have arrived safely and that you are on the way to Casa ! Louis mailed me mid of last week, as I had proposed to arrange something in GIBRALTAR with an friend of mine who the the European Member of Parliament for Gibraltar (& the south-west England… ): Graham WATSON MEP, LibDems UK.
    Like that you would have at least “touched British soil” (WELL, I hope this blog is not read in Spain…) during your “race” around the world…
    Louis wanted to call last week, but he must have been busy with the cars etc.

    Are there any plans for FRANCE yet? We had hosted the SOLARTAXI-crew for a few days, & arranged some events/media activities – and could again do so in (for example) Marseille, Lyon, Paris etc.

    Best regards from France

    Henry C. REESE, Dipl.-Ing.
    – Secrétaire général de l’association ENERGIE Franco-Allemande –
    E: /
    B: +33-970445011
    M: +33-663825487

    • Membre des commissions: Développement durable et aménagement du territoire, Affaires étrangères & Défense et forces armées du PARTI RADICAL Valoisien
    • Responsable régional Cher/Nièvre et Allemagne & expert bâtiment référent d’ÉCOLOGIE RADICALE
    • Ancien délègue de la FDP à la ELDR et à Liberal International, au congrès national (BPT) et autres commissions de la FDP (Parti des Libéraux & Réformateurs Allemands)

    • Our itinerary for the remainder of the tour is:

      16 February: Casablanca, Rabat
      17 February: Tanger, ferry to Spain, Tarifa
      18 February: Malaga, Tabernas
      19 February: Murcia, Sagunto
      20 February: Cambrils, Barcelona
      21 February: Barcelona
      22 February: cross into France, Odeilo, Perpignan, Montpellier
      23 February: Remoulins, Valence, Le Bourget du Lac
      24 February: Geneva, Payerne

  8. Tanks for the Infos ! Louis PALMER has asked us to try to arrange a brief visit in Gibraltar on the morning of Friday 18th – and we are currently in the process of arranging this. We published your schedule an these blogs:
    Welcome in Europe, safe driving & regards from France
    Henry C. REESE

  9. Hi,

    Glad that there are enthusiast like you building out EVs that are small, light and efficient. One thing is when it comes to market, I hope that you will make it affordable to the masses.

    Too many such concepts become way to expensive that find no takers.

    Anyway, good luck & hope to see more on the road

  10. Pingback: Design Workshop « African Solar Taxi

  11. Pete Gorton

    Has Trev moved into retirement? Have followed the adventure since the early days, and admire the effort (both vehicle and website!). Are there any plans to follow it up? Looking to follow next year’s 2017 World Solar Race on the road.

    • Trev has been taking it easy since being driven around the world. We have had some student projects that replaced a failed dash computer with a Raspberry Pi, and tidied up the motor control software. We still drive Trev to events (we did a hill-climb last year, as well as the usual science events and EV displays), and we get lots of school visits where we get the students to sit in Trev and push it around so that they can appreciate the benefits of a low-mass vehicle.

      We are currently finishing off our low-mass African Solar Taxi—a low-mass vehicle designed to transport pregnant women to hospital in rural Zimbabwe.

      The next World Solar Challenge should be interesting. I have heard that the number of Cruiser cars (solar cars designed to be practical as well as efficient) is continuing to grow.


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