Nothing But Water Powers This Tricycle That Goes From 0 to 62 MPH In Half a Second

Remember that feeling of terror when a five-year-old version of you climbed aboard your tricycle before careening down a giant hill? That’s nothing compared to what François Gissy must have felt climbing aboard this adult-sized trike powered by a water tank pressurized to 6,000 PSI.


When the valve holding back 35 gallons of pressurized rain water inside the carbon fiber-wrapped tank was released, the tricycle accelerated to 62 miles per hour in just over half a second. But by the time that tank was completely emptied, the tricycle, built from motorcycle and go-kart parts, reached a top speed of 162.2 miles per hour. Somehow a motorcycle helmet just doesn’t seem like enough safety equipment.

[YouTube via Popular Mechanics]


Very Little Gravitas Indeed

I really wanted to criticize you for regurgitating the PopSci claim that this is “powered by water” and “nothing more than rainwater,” but unfortunately even the creator is running with that story - publishing a video implying he does nothing more than pour rainwater into the tank and Boom - ready to roll.

Water doesn’t compress. Water doesn’t (in this vehicle) fuel anything. Water is the reaction mass that propels the vehicle, using energy stored in a compressed gas. Since he isn’t saying, who knows ... He probably pressurizes the headspace above the water with something out of a high pressure gas bottle he’s rented from the local welding gas vendor, but there could be a compressor involved instead.

In any case, the trike is powered by whatever mechanism compresses the gas - mains power, or a gas powered generator. Everything else is just energy storage.