“Imagine a vehicle that can drive you five miles for a penny. A vehicle that needs no petrol – just a battery. And that takes the press of a button to start, the squeeze of a lever to stop.
That needs no license, no road tax, and you can drive whether you’re 14 or 40. A vehicle that costs just £399. The Sinclair C5. It’s a new power in personal transport”.
Sir Clive Sinclair was an inventing genius in the early 1980s.
When he announced he was turning his attention to electric vehicles you could almost smell the fear emanating from the petrochemical industry . . .
In January 1985, the Sinclair C5 was launched. Costing only £399 (plus £29 P&P), the electric trike had a top speed of 15mph!
It was quickly ridiculed by everyone who saw it – except motoring organisations like the AA, who were more concerned that the battery-assisted tricycle might actually be a death trap.
Given that it could be purchased by anyone, didn’t require a license to drive on the road and involved the driver sitting a mere two inches off the tarmac below, they had a point.
In the end, only about five thousand C5’s were ever sold, most of them ending up in service as wheelbarrows. Albeit pretty funky, futuristic-looking wheelbarrows.