Sinclair C5



Branded as flop but actually AHEAD OF IT’S TIME


The Sinclair C5 is a small one-person battery electric velomobile, technically an “electrically assisted pedal cycle. Although widely described as an “electric car”, Sinclair characterised it as a “vehicle, not a car”.[2]


Invented by Sir Clive Sinclair (also invented the first portable computer the ZX81/Spectrum )


Designed by OGLE who also designed

  • Reliant Robin
  • Bond Bug
  • Scimitar GTE (think princess Anne)
  • Raleigh Chopper

Developed by Lotus


Launched 1985

Price when new £399 (Current price up to £1500)

14,000 built 5000 sales


Famous owners include

  • Princes William and Harry
  • Sir Elton John
  • Paul Daniels
  • John Ottway
  • Arthur C Clarke (2001 a space odyssey)
  • Me!



Power  250 Watts

12 volt lead acid battery


Maximum speed 15MPH

Range 20 miles on battery, unlimited peddling

Gears None

Maximum gradient 1in 12


It’s control system was way ahead of its time

E-Bikes today still use similar technology and it’s classed as one

Legal on the road

No Tax, MOT or helmet required.