Three-wheel rides aren't big surprises in Asia. Thailand has its Tuk-tuk, Southeast Asia its rickshaws or trishaws, the Philippines has its tricycles.
However, we're more familiar with these chariots as taxis for commuters. For personal transportation, the West, during the throes of the Great Recession, turned increasingly toward affordable and more economical vehicles, particularly the three-wheel variant. While similar outings like Peugeot's HYmotion3 compressor concept vehicle look a lot yummier in the design department.
On December 17, 2008, theAutoMoto.com Corporation announced the introduction of the Auto Moto an unintimidating and zippy three-wheel scooter covey.
The Auto Moto has two major distinct advantages:
- Gas Economy - A bang-for-the-buck fuel system that coughs up 83mpg on the 150cc Honda-designed GY6 engine.
- Canopy - A full windshield and sunroof seen only in the two-wheeled Honda Gyro Canopy on Singapore roads, to keep out the elements.
The economical Auto Moto packs a surprising wallop in features for its size. For one, it unselfishly sits two in a tandem seat design that provides comfortable armrests for the rear passenger. There's also a lockable trunk for storage, four speakers with MP3 connection, and a carbon fiber-style dashboard that should be familiar enough with motorists.
For those of you worried how the Auto Moto handles being driven in the rain check this video:
For handling, the onboard Automatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gives optimal engine rpm, while a tilting "rocker system" offers enough traction for this scooter to take on corners and turns just like its bigger motorcycle cousin. The 2.1 gallons of fuel capacity is expected to provide about 160 miles of cruising range. And for a bit of personalization, you get a choice of nine colors to pick from.
GadgetReview took The Auto Moto scoother for a ride and gave it an excellent rating.
The best thing about the AutoMoto is the price - $3,800. Considering that the Xnovo was looking more like US$10,000, and this actually exists, that’s quite an achievement. Would we buy one? Nah, we get our giggles from fun factor, handling and hooliganism - but with its little windshield wiper pumping, some nice tunes on the stereo, no helmet (in some states, where it can be ridden on a car license) and standard ABS, it would sure be comfy in bad weather.
So how does The Auto Moto compare with other scooters? Let's take a look.
COMMENTARY: What's not to like about this super-cool three-wheel scooter. I love the low price, canopy, windshield, mobile device friendliness, automatic transmission, anti-lock disk brakes, dual seats, storage trunk, windshield wipers and driveability in the rain and that you don't need a motorcycle license to drive the damn thing (at least in California). A regular automobile driver's license will do just fine, thank you very much. The bike looks sharp and comes in several colors to suit your personal taste.
Here are some of The Auto Moto's advantages and features:
The Auto Moto is an economical choice for personal transportation to save on gas, insurance, maintenance, parking, and overall monthly payments.
- Affordability - The Auto Moto comes standard with features that put it in a league of its own, and at a price of only $3,800, it begs to be compared with other scooters and motorcycles on the road.
- Gas Economy - The Auto Moto achieves a remarkable 83 MPG meaning it can travel roughly 160 miles on just one fill of its 2.1 gallon tank.
- Low Insurance - Insuring The Auto Moto is simple and inexpensive. Supported by almost every big name in the insurance industry, getting the best rate is merely a phone call away.
- Low Maintenance - The Auto Moto is built with industry standard components and a widely popular single cylinder 4 stroke engine, making maintenance easy and affordable.
- Warranty - The Auto Moto comes standard with a one year Limited Power Train Warranty. Your dealership will assist you in registering for your warranty at the time of purchase.
The Auto Moto includes an assortment of features that shatter consumer expectations and surpass industry conventions.
- Ample Storage Space - The Auto Moto comes equipped with two lockable dashboard storage compartments and a large lockable trunk. The volume of the trunk is an impressive 72 liters, making it an industry leader in storage capacity.
- Stereo System with MP3 Connection - The Auto Moto has been equipped with a stereo system, FM radio player, and a hookup to connect your MP3 player or media device (Apple iPod-friendly).
- Cell Phone Recognition - When your cell phone rings in the dashboard storage compartment, the built in cell phone recognition system alerts the rider that a call is being received through a flashing light displayed on the instrument cluster.
- Seating For Two - The Auto Moto comes with fold out armrests, a spacious back seat, and a padded backrest to ensure the comfort of the second passenger.
SAFE & COMFORTABLE
The Auto Moto was designed to provide the comforts of a car with the convenience of a motorcycle, but more importantly strives to offer a greater level of safety than the average scooter.
- Three Wheels - The stability of three wheels offers increased safety and it’s so easy to ride that some states only require a regular driver license to operate The Auto Moto.
- Rocker - The Auto Moto is equipped with a rocking mechanism that allows the rider to lean the cab from side to side when turning while the engine and rear wheels stay firmly planted on the ground.
- Anti-Lock Braking System - The anti-lock braking system allows the driver to maintain complete control of the vehicle under heavy braking to prevent a skid and maintain traction.
- Dual Piston Caliper - The front dual piston caliper and drilled rotors for cooling and ventilation provide extensive stopping power.
- Limited Slip (Posi Traction) - The rear differential displaces power to both rear wheels simultaneously, allowing for added traction and stability under the most adverse weather conditions.
- Visibility - The Auto Moto’s attention-grabbing cab not only turns the heads of pedestrians on the sidewalk, but also that of the drivers on the road.
- Alarm System - An integrated alarm system ensures the security of the vehicle at all times.
- Partially Enclosed Cab - A full roof and windshield keep the driver and passenger protected from exposure to the elements.
- Wheel Configurations - Two different rear wheel configurations are available for The Auto Moto, a wide 7” diameter rim and a narrow 10” diameter rim.
- Windshield Wiper with Sprayer - The windshield wiper with three-directional high-pressure sprayer is ideal for maintaining clear visibility.
There Auto Moto scooter dealers in all 50 states, and you can lookup if there is one close to where you live. This is not an endorsement of The Auto Moto, but I do like this scooter very much. There's no shortage of three-wheel scooters and bikes these days, in fact all you have to do is look at the selection available at the Scooter Depot.
There are a few scooter's similar to The Auto Moto that come equipped with canopies, but most are two-wheelers, including the Xnovo, Peugeot HYbrid3, Honda 750, Adiva, BMW C1-E and Benelli, A few are hybrids or electrics like the Peugeot HYbrid3 and BMW C-1E.