Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sean Effel tells us all about his Corbin Sparrow

Walking through Harvard Square the other day, I noticed an oddly-shaped 3-wheeled vehicle with a lovely purple veneer nosing its way through the rain and thick traffic. Although I couldn’t get close enough to get a great look at it, I did notice “CCTV" emblazoned on its side. Though I didn't know it at the time, the car I spied was a Corbin Sparrow ...

A Corbin Sparrow with its owner Sean Effel

I watched the car work its way north along Massachusetts Avenue and made a mental note to reach out to Susan over at Cambridge Community Television to find out more about this wild vehicle sporting their logo.

"I think I saw a very cool 3-wheel CCTV car driving through Harvard Sq yesterday,” I queried her the following day. "I'd love to take a look at it, take some photos of it. (I have a car obsession these days!)."

Susan responded quickly … "ah, our first bite! Sean owns the car, most days it is in our garage and I am sure that he wouldn't mind pulling it out for you."

Sean is Sean Effel, the associate director of operations over at CCTV, and he was fine with that, 
"Hi, Sam. Swing by and have a look. Call ahead though since sometimes when the weather is bad I choose to leave it at home." So we set up a time on Friday to roll the car out into the parking lot and take a look.

With the advent of the Toyota Prius and the Tesla and the Chevy Volt and Bolt and everything that’s happened with electric cars in the intervening almost two decades since this Corbin Sparrow was built, its shock value (pun not intended) has diminished since it first arrived in 2000. But that doesn't mean this little jelly bean isn't still a head turner. It is.

Sean has conveniently put up a FAQ on the CCTV website, where you can read all about the car. In it, you’ll learn that this 3-wheeler is actually classified as a microcar, but in Massachusetts is registered as a motorcycle. By his best estimation, the all-electric vehicle gets 162 mpg equivalent from the multiple batteries up front under the hood and driver's seat. Here is a video walk-thru that Sean and I made the other day.

Below are photographs of Sean and his very special vehicle.