The road to the future is, apparently, always under construction. Its hard shoulder is littered with automotive relics that did not make it. Sometimes a wacky design is the cause of their downfall. Sometimes it’s the strange propulsion system. Or sometimes, as with the Sinclair C5, it’s an unfortunate combination of the two.
The C5 electric tricycle (with pedal assist) was a single-seater vehicle unveiled with great fanfare on 10 January 1985. It was billed as the future of transport. A non-polluting machine, capable of taking a driver wherever they needed to go: the shops, to work, or to a train station. It would replace oversized, under-efficient cars.
At the time of its launch, there was a great deal of hope (if not hype) around the vehicle. Take, for instance this report from BBC World Service’s Science in Action. Note the reporter, Dick Oliver’s, very British way of expressing joy.