Join us at TNW Conference 2022 for insights into the future of tech →

The heart of tech

This article was published on February 27, 2013

    These guys built a propeller-powered land vehicle in 48 hours, and then took it to a Starbucks drive-thru

    These guys built a propeller-powered land vehicle in 48 hours, and then took it to a Starbucks drive-thru
    Emil Protalinski
    Story by

    Emil Protalinski

    Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

    Have you ever wished you had a roofless three-wheel land vehicle powered by a propeller attached to an electric motor? You were wishing for the Trifly.

    The guys from North Street Labs built their contraption in 48 hours. The Trifly is their entry in The Deconstruction, a build contest with teams participating from across the world.

    So where do you take your propeller-driven land vehicle once you build it? To a Starbucks drive-thru of course!

    The Starbucks staff were unsurprisingly amused and surprisingly cooperative. I once tried going through a drive-thru without a car and was denied (the staff even refused the idea of me in a shopping cart).

    The group clearly had a lot of fun with the project. In fact, it almost seems they had more fun putting it together than driving it around. The actual driving seemed more of a relaxing activity after all the horsing around during the construction process.

    Here are some of the build details, from the project’s page:

    • 20 HP (continuous) 72v neodymium motor.
    • 36×12 cheapo mass produced beechwood hobby propeller.
    • Two junked golf carts kindly donated from ODU.
    • Ultra powerful demonic red projector LED’s from a scrapped theater projectors speaker housing for mounting lights.
    • Glass shower knob adapted to throttle.
    • “Racing” Ford Bronco bench seat practically given away on Craigslist.
    • Custom machined adapters with a metal lathe to mount the atypical motor to the propeller
      2.22 kWh 74v nominal LIPO battery pack, 400A controller.
    • Old 4 AWG car stereo wiring and distribution blocks from highschool a decade ago.

    This is the type of vehicle that makes us wish we all lived in a very warm city that had everything accessible a bike ride away. I know I would personally build a TriFly myself if it meant I could use it for all my driving needs.

    Image credit: NSL