Germany is a little less giddy about putting teens behind the wheel at an early age, and while they can begin driving at 17, it isn’t until 18 that they can do so unsupervised. As is the case with any law though, there are loopholes to be found, and if someone is willing to buy one of four cars and pay a hefty sum to then permanently ruin it, a German teen can be unleashed on the roads early thanks to a German company by the name of Ellenator.
Under the current German law, anyone 16 and older is allowed to operate a class L5e vehicle unsupervised, which amounts to a “three-wheeled motor vehicle with three symmetrically arranged wheels” and a “maximum design speed of more than 45 km/h (28mp/h). Generally the specs aren’t ever found in a more traditional car, so Ellenator found a way to mod some cars to make them fit.
Drivers are offered the choice of four cars, the Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia, or Fiat 500, and for a $5,000 it will receive the irreversible transformation. The trunk is reworked to accommodate the new rear axle that centers two 14-inch wheels placed only 18-inches apart, effectively meeting the criteria of a three-wheel design. In order to put a hard limit on an otherwise speedy car, the engine is reconfigured to only put out 20HP.
It is an interesting approach to a problem that is faced by a limited demographic, and are parents or teens willing to buy a brand new car that after two years becomes effectively obsolete? And are parents willing to hand their kids keys to a car that can easily meets its tipping point with one wrong turn? For anyone looking to throw $5,000 and a perfectly good car away though, Ellenator would be happy to have the business.