The History of the Carver

1990's
Inspired by the ever-increasing congestion and pollution problems of modern traffic, Anton van den Brink, founder and director of the Eurotool Group of companies, launches an initiative to investigate the feasibility of realising a so called slender comfort vehicle, i.e. a vehicle half the width and half the weight of a conventional car. Indeed, studies demonstrate that more than 90% of all cars
are only occupied by one or two people.

An enthusiastic group of engineers teams up with Anton van den Brink and found Eco-Car BV.

Eco-Car develops a single passenger enclosed ‘motorcycle’ with controllable support wheels to balance the vehicle at slow speeds and to allow it to stop. This first prototype, however, requires considerable driving skills.
1993

In December 1993, the prototype is demonstrated at the exhibition ‘The Compact Car, History with a Future’. Market analysis indicates a large potential for narrow vehicles that could transport one or two people and that would not require special driving skills.

Eco-Car concludes that its prototype is an interesting concept but not a commercially or technically viable solution. Whilst for decades several serious attempts have been made by established companies to develop a man wide vehicle that automatically tilts in corners (see footnote), patent investigations indicate that a truly user-friendly technology has not yet been developed.

Based on a thorough review of known designs and technologies, the engineers are convinced that the lack of practical man wide vehicles is largely due to the lack of a reliable technology that would automatically ensure the balance of the vehicle in corners, provide comfort and safety at varying speeds and road conditions while requiring no special driving skills.

Banking is the only natural way to take corners. Bringing the centre of gravity towards the centre of the curve ensures stability. For a vehicle to be user-friendly, the banking should be done automatically rather than being set by the driver.

1994
Chris Van den Brink and Harry Kroonen, aeronautical engineers at Brink Dynamics, one of the Eurotool companies, develop the Dynamic Vehicle Control (DVC™) concept which automatically translates the ‘car type steering’ input into an optimal ‘motorcycle type banking’ of the chassis. The concept is built into a first mechanical test model.
1995
International patents without limitations are granted on the DVC™ system.
1995-6
The first vehicle concept using the DVC™ system is realised. This narrow tilting three-wheeler is the validation of the concept, and, not unimportantly, offers tremendous driving pleasure as a bonus. Several versions of the prototype are developed, fine-tuning the hydraulic tilting mechanism and the steering system.
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1997
The three-wheeled prototype is extensively tested by the Dutch police.

In May, the prototype is approved for road use by the Dutch National Road Authority.

In June, Brink Dynamics is awarded the prestigious Dutch Innovation Centre award (ID NL) ‘Best invention of 1997’.

CNN World Report features the Brink Dynamics prototype and the future potential of narrow vehicles.
1998-9
The driving dynamics of the prototype are further optimised to improve vehicle safety and control, and to enhance the driving experience. In collaboration with Johan Vissers, one of the engineers who had been involved in the early versions of the prototype, the vehicle is further developed and restyled into the Carver.
Photo First version - Prototype
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1999
In September the Carver design concept is featured at the 1999 IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.
2000-2
The Carver design concept is further developed and validated.
2002
The Carver is granted EU type certification.
Vandenbrink BV, sister company of Brink Dynamics, is established to manufacture and market the Carver.
2003
24 exclusive Carvers are built by hand, 20 of which are sold worldwide (UK, Spain, Netherlands, UAE, ...)

The Carver features in various renowned magazines and television programmes, amongst them BBC Top Gear.
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The van den Brink Carvers appear on BBC Top Gear
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and wins Clarkson shootout
2004-5
Further road testing and validation results in a perfected version, the Carver One.
2005
Carver Europe GmbH, with head office in Zürich (CH), is founded to coordinate the worldwide production, sales and service of the Carver One. The engineering facilities remain located in Dordrecht (NL).
From 1 February 2006, Carver Europe head offices - now Carver Europe BV - are relocated to
Dordrecht, near Rotterdam (NL).

For the production, Carver teams up with Prodrive, one of the world’s leading motor sport and vehicle technology providers. Together they set up an entirely new production process. During the preparations for the new process, every single one of the 1200 components of the Carver One is under scrutiny. The total number of components is reduced to improve production efficiency and maintainability. About half of the original components are fully re-engineered resulting in a more reliable vehicle clients will be able to enjoy to the fullest for many years to come.

The global sales and service network is being rolled out and preparations for the production of the first batch of a limited edition of 500 hand-crafted vehicles are underway.

The Carver One features in several international television programmes, including Discovery Channel and Beyond Tomorrow and is exhibited at various international motor shows.
Customer place orders for the first production run of the Carver One
2007
Deliveries of the first 500 Carver One model starts
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Carver Owners Club (CVR-OC) is formed
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June 2009 - Carver Europe files for bankruptcy
Unfortunately, the company may never build another vehicle of its own as it has just gone bankrupt after a major deal reportedly fell through in May.

The problem – as often is the case when innovative technology first hits the market – was the Carver's high price. According to Carver Europe director Willem Verheul:
"Too few people wanted to buy the ingenious sports car at 50,000 euros. We had [planned for] about 300 vehicles sold per year, but in two years, only 200 were purchased."
2010 - 2016
2Drive Germany makes a few more Carvers
2016
Club Carver Parts and Service (CCPS) is born and all parts are shipped from Germany to the UK
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2Drive Germany shuts down - no more Carver one to be produced
Carver Owners Club