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"What are all these people doing on the ground?" was quite possibly the most frequently asked question at the Green Car and Transportation Festival in Ipswich, MA yesterday. What they were checking out is the 5th wheel on Mike Dabrowski's highly modified Insight.

In another discussion on the MIMA thread, I'd indicated that I thought the jury was still out on the effectiveness of the 5th wheel modification. For a number of technical reasons, it isn't feasible to independently drive the other 4 wheels on the Insight. None the less, the implementation of Mike's 5th wheel presented some significant packaging design challenges.

I finally had a chance to try it out, and this "juror" gives it a big "thumbs up". With the ETEC motor, there's quite a bit of torque, and it's possible to accelerate to 30mph in reasonable time. This car is a remarkable "science project", and quite probably the closest thing to a "space vehicle" I'll ever travel in. With the ETEC motor, there's really no need for additional sound effects. ;)

And, while I still like my electric assist recumbent bike, IMO, this 5 wheel Insight is a very practical around-town vehicle, With PV charging of the batteries, it's effectively zero carbon emissions. :)
 

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Mike's was definitely a popular display at the festival. There was a constant crowd around the five-wheel Insight, with Mike tirelessly explaining everything from the basics of the Insight to the intricacies of all his modifications for 5 hours or more. The fifth wheel is certainly a nifty piece of mechanical workmanship you might have to see to believe.
 
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