Trev, the idea

Fossil-fuelled cars are unsustainable: oil is running out, and CO2 emissions are too high.

Conventional cars also use a lot of energy. Try pushing one. The larger and heavier the car, the harder it is to move and the more energy it uses. Typically, less than 15% of the energy that reaches the wheels is used to move the occupants; the rest is used to move the machine.

Most of the time, we use our cars to travel short distances in slow city traffic with only one or two people in the car. But we do it in cars that are capable of carrying four or five people across a continent at 100 km/h or more, and towing a boat or caravan at the same time.

We need something new. Something appropriate for city mobility.

Automotive companies are developing electric versions of conventional cars. Recharged using renewable energy, these cars will have no CO2 emissions. But they are still large, heavy cars, and still use a lot of energy.

Rather than take a conventional car and try to make it clean, our approach has been to take a clean, low energy vehicle—a solar racing car—and make it practical. Solar racing cars can cross a continent at 100 km/h powered only by sunlight, so it should not be too hard to build a clean, efficient vehicle that can transport someone to work and back each day.

Our requirements:

  • carry one or two people
  • travel at urban freeway speeds, up to 120 km/h
  • acceleration and handling comparable to conventional cars
  • low mass (less than 350 kg is not that difficult)
  • low aerodynamic drag (drag is significant in a low-energy car)
  • efficient
  • simple (because it was going to be built by novices)
  • recharged using renewable energy.

Trev. Low energy, zero emission mobility.


Trev. If a two-year-old can't push it along, it is too heavy.


7 responses to “Trev, the idea

  1. Joe O'Hanlon

    Never been first at anything, so here goes.
    I go along with much of your objectives, bearing in mind that I disagreed with a Lucas UK rep when he told me in back the late ’70’s the Hybrid would never work, when I suggested that it just might be a good intermediate technology!
    My question is — How will Trev be a Zero in the race? How will it get enough energy for a days competition?
    Thanks and GOOD Luck,
    Isle of Man, British Isles

    • Thanks Joe.

      During the Zero Race, Trev will use about 2100 kWh of electricity. We will charge Trev in the middle of each day and each evening. The electricity will be generated from a variety of sources, some clean and some not. To be zero emission, we have to put 2100 kWh of clean electricity into an electricity grid somewhere. Effectively, we will be borrowing energy from a mixture of sources, and repaying it with clean energy.

      Peter, Team Trev

  2. I like it.
    Once registered, do you intend to offer it as a kit car?
    Have you considered a hybrid option with a tiny non traction engine purely for topping up the battery – auxiliary power?

    Perhaps if the canopy on the kerb side took in some of the side of the car, or there was a drop down panel on that side as well to make stepping out easier.

    Perhaps make the rear section of canopy a bit hiegher with a ‘roll bar’ section at the back into which you could incorporate brake and/or turning lights at a higher level.

    I take it the car does not tilt?

    • We don’t yet have complete plans on how to build it, but we are working towards developing a kit car on Trevipedia.

      Many people have asked about a hybrid version. We prefer to keep the car clean and simple. You would need a 4-5 kW generator to keep Trev cruising at highway speeds, and there is not a lot of room inside the car. A generator on a trailer might be a good option for the occasional long trip.

      Getting in and out is very easy—there is a suicide door (Rolls Royce would call it a “coach door”) on the left side of the car, and the floor is cut away so you can sit on the seat with your feet on the ground. There are a couple of photographs that show this at the top of the main page of Trevipedia.

      We are currently lowering the rear seat and raising the rear of the canopy to give more headroom in the rear. The brake and turning lights are already reasonably high—there are some photographs that show the rear of the car on the UniSA web site.

      Trev does not tilt.

      Peter, Team Trev

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