• EEVblog #501 – Sinclair C5 Electric Car Teardown & Test Drive

    Dave goes back to the future and takes a 1985 vintage Sinclair C5 electric “car” for a spin, one of only a handful in the country. This was Sir Clive Sinclair’s vision for personal transport.

    Schematic and service manual
    Micro Men movie
    The Sinclair Story
    Delorean & C5 video

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      • Saulius
        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          Would almost certainly slip? Can imagine it being problematic.

          • Saulius

            I wouldn’t think that they would not take that in to consideration, while trying it to take in to mass production. And i don’t think that it would slip, because it is pressed against the tire with quite strong hydraulics.

      • http://www.aykira.com.au/ Keith

        Ah the C5. I remember the advertising on the telly for those. Thought then they wouldn’t go far…

        Last time I heard them being used for real was on some remote island for tourists to ride around on…

      • Carl

        Awesome video Dave. I never did see one on the road here in the UK. Was there any regen on the C5 at all?

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          No regen.

      • WV1800es

        As I heard those two C5s accelerating down the street, the next thing I expected to hear was from Dr. Who- “EXTERMINATE!!””EXTERMINATE!”
        Nifty little time travellers you got there.

      • Christian

        As a “right” driver is looks very dangerous to see such vehicles driving in timelapse on the “wrong” side :-)

      • Lefuneste

        Just imagine what we could achieve with today’s technology! I definitely like the idea of this machine with a fuel cell, magnetic brakes with battery recharge, and most importantly, movable pedals… Also one cup holder and some stereo would be nice…

      • Peter Gant

        I actually rode one of these when they first came out. A shop in the centre of Manchester (UK) had one in the window so I asked if I could go for a test drive. Well, they were a little worried that I would nick the thing so I left a couple of credit cards with them whilst I went for a trundle.

        The performance was OK but what I couldn’t stand was all the folk pointing at the young fool trying to drive an electric roller skate :)

        Good times.

        Peter Gant

      • Chris

        this is well worth a look
        A Jet powered sinclair C5 for sale

      • Chris
        • ToeJam

          Yeah that would be the ride of your life – all 2 seconds of it!

        • ToeJam

          Yeah that would be the ride of your life – all 2 seconds of it!

      • Frank

        Did You Know:

        Sinclair used the Z80 CPU for their home computers, and the mnemonic for opcode C5 in the Z80 instruction set is “PUSH BC”. Push Bike… get it ? :)

      • Paul

        I remember these coming out over here in Britain (for, as you said £399 in Comet) and inspite of how dangerous they looked, wanting a go in one.

        Quite a few sea-side resorts used to hire them out for riding down the prom, but mum and dad wouldn’t let me hire one (darn it!)

        Top marks to Sinclair for his design of the wipe-clean plastic – how many people ‘brown-trousered’ when cars got too close to them, let alone the HGVs?

      • http://organictransit.com/ Alistair


        In case you’ve not seen this, the Elf, designed and manufactured in Durham, North Carolina by Organic Transit is a modern implementation of what the C5 tried to accomplish.

        They actually manufacture them right next to where my kids go to school. Hopefully they use Cree LEDs, since those are made just down the road too :) .

        It has many of the features commenters have been suggesting for C5 upgrades. Actually, it would probably do pretty well in Oz . . .


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