Is This 3-Wheel Car Poised to Drive Us Into the Future?

We’re seeing plenty of innovation in the EV race these days, but perhaps no electric vehicle is challenging form quite like the Nobe 100GT.

In its attempts to usher the automotive world into the future, this Estonian-based company has been looking to the past. The Nobe 100GT has a distinctly retro vibe; early renderings of the concept show a petite, tomato-red car that, with the exception of one major detail, looks like it could have been plucked straight from the set of Mad Men. That one detail? The fact that the Nobe only has three wheels.

The team conducted test drives around its home country before introducing the diminutive car on a global stage. At the Geneva Car Show, Nobe’s booth was planted between Bugatti and Aston Martin, a detail that thrills the company; “Yep, you read that right!” exclaims CEO Roman Muljar in a statement on the company’s website. “Those old, respectable car manufacturers often had to witness people ignoring their booths to come over to wonder at our cute little Nobe 100—a new kind of car, clearly. The cute-o-metre goes through the roof.”

While both the Nobe 100 and Nobe 100GT will prompt a double take for its missing wheel, this design element was actually chosen to pay homage to the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which dates all the way back to 1885. Despite this lending a distinct dainty quality to the ride, the company promises that it’s much more than a toy. It’s perfect as a hobby car or secondary family car, with its size making it easy to navigate through densely populated urban areas and especially easy to park. However, it’s surprisingly adept at tackling more difficult environments; those large wheels and all-wheel drive officially make it an ATV. Nobe Cruiser even comes with an M (muscle car) switch.

Both models come with a dual-battery system—one for powering the three wheels, and one to support the vehicle’s lighting, heating, and stereo systems.

The interior has been luxuriously designed, with rich leather upholstery finished in hand stitched edges. The company is so proud of its leather work that it actually offers handbags, golf bags, driving gloves, and caps to match. Each piece is emblazoned with the Nobe emblem and can be made in the same colour as your Nobe vehicle.

As for its specs, the Nobe 100 offers a top speed of 110 km/h. Its 21 kwh Li-On batteries push this battery to a range of 210 km. Max power is 54 kw, while max toque is 825 Nm. The Nobe 100GT offers similar specs but with a little more power in each area: top speed is 130 km/h, batteries are 25 kwh Li-On, and the car has a range of 260 km. Max power is 72 kw; max torque is 1050 Nm. This model comes with a panoramic removable sunroof, perfect for leisurely drives on balmy summer days.

The Nobe marks a first of its kind in numerous ways—well, just look at it—but especially notable is the fact that Estonia has to date only been home to small motorcycle or bus manufacturing. The team comprising the company, a group of alumni from Tallinn University of Technology, has ambitious plans to build Estonian’s first car factory. Will the northern European country, bookended by the Baltic Sea and Finland, become the continent’s next hub of automotive manufacturing? That remains to be seen. But the company has achieved one other goal for certain. “Our aim was to create a ‘feel-good ride’ which spreads joy wherever it goes,” says Muljar. It’s admittedly hard to look at this thing and not break a smile.



Images via Nobe