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Electric Leaning Three Wheeler

Motivo designed an innovative suspension and powertrain for a leaning three wheeler

Sway Motorsports is a Bay Area startup founded by two industrial designers from IDEO developing a small electric leaning three wheeled vehicle. They have the vision and drive to produce a first prototype but lack the engineering rigor to get to where they wanted to be.


Suspension design is critical to achieving correct handling balance between responsiveness and stability needed for compelling vehicle demonstrations. A limited available budget also required a cost efficient approach.


The dynamics of a leaning suspension are unlike that of conventional motorcycle or automotive suspensions. Motivo returned to first principles when developing the new settings to broaden the performance envelope of the system. A careful balance is required to provide an intuitive and stable ride for a beginner and the performance demands of an expert rider.


In order to test a wide range of suspension settings in a short period of time, Motivo developed a unique adjustable suspension that could be bolted on the vehicle. This allowed Motivo and Sway to try a number of settings very quickly and optimize the suspension layout. The final settings from the adjustable suspension resulted in the design and build of the final production suspension system. This efficient approach allowed the project to be completed within the customers “start-up” like budget.

Motivo delivered a robust vehicle with vastly improved handling ready to use for investor demonstrations and marketing events.


Motivo delivered the vehicle with an upgraded suspension in 5 weeks and Sway has been using the vehicle for over a year without any reliability or durability issues.

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