Structure - I used a timber
structured ladder type chassis design which is rigid in both bending and torsion and relatively easy to make. Both front and rear wheel pairs are mounted on timber beam axles (strengthened as needed) suspended from the chassis. The rear suspension is a simple linear vertically guided design with coil springs whereas the front suspension uses leading (rather than trailing) radius arms with a Panhard link for lateral location - again with coil springs.
Steering - Although the steering is tiller operated, down at the front wheels, at
the business end, actuation is by up-to-date modified Ackerman geometry with the wheels set on tilted king pin axes. Together with the independent electric drive to each rear wheel I've found this makes for an easy to turn, manoeuvrable vehicle.
Brakes - Mechanical braking independent of the electric drive's regenerative dynamic braking is provided by bicycle style disc brakes on the front wheels.
Body - I tried to design the vehicle with a fully self-contained operational chassis - you can drive the chassis about on its own if you don't mind the lack of seat (depends on how much personal
"padding" you have)! The vehicle's removable timber upper body fits neatly
on the chassis and gives the car its shape. Seating, mudguards (fenders) and containment and access for the motor forward mounted controller are designed into the body. Plenty of scope for customisation arises from this design from the type of finish adopted through to design changes to the upper body or even lengthening/widening of the chassis.
The Electric Voiturette is great to drive and we've had fun testing it. I've strengthened and modified one or two components and have improved to whole front suspension as a result of seeing how the prototype ran. What has surprised me is how quiet, responsive and manoeuvrable the vehicle is. Probably best suited for parades, shows etc - you'd have difficulty getting certification for full road usage in the UK I think (even if it was sensible to do).
Here are some short movie clips showing the Voiturette in action........
I have two articles written
on the design and development of the Voiturette - you can read them here -
Article Part 1
Article Part 2
For more images of the original Renault and Argyll Vehicles check out
Back to Page 1....
Detailed plans are now available for a slightly modified version of the Voiturette. The modified version has
2 x 500W motors and runs slightly slower than the prototype and also uses heavy duty Worksman spoked wheels which are available in the US. These simplify the vehicle construction and avoid the need for constructing your own wheels.
sheets are available
for the assemblies only - part details are in the paid-for
set. The more convenient paid-for set is available as a single packaged pdf document download with an overall materials and components list. This is included with the full download plans set or