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Established in 1975 by Edwin Shackleton-Jones, Combidrive started life primarily as a distributor for Variable Speed Drives, Geared Motors, Freewheels and Centrifugal Clutches and Brakes.

For over 50 years we are proud to be the UK distributor for:


1980’s Danish company City EL started producing a small electric car with 3 wheels, powered by 3 large 12v lead acid batteries driving a 36 volt DC motor. It was called Mini EL. The range was quite good in Denmark, where there are no hills!

The City EL factory went into liquidation, probably due to such extreme innovation. The market was not ready, the range was limited and the price high. In 1993 Combidrive purchased an early car as a non runner and shipped it to the UK. The car was renamed “Mouse”, batteries and motor removed and the vehicle rewired for 12v (not 36V). Combidrive fitted a Robin 4hp air cooled diesel engine driving the rear wheels via an automatic variable ratio belt transmission and overrunning clutch (freewheel).

In company with a Combidrive customer, Harold Marfleet, two “mice” were driven from Birmingham to London. The vehicles were monitored by an RAC vehicle to observe fuel consumption.The Combidrive “Mouse” did 291mpg on the public roads.

During the years 1994, 5 and 6 Combidrive further developed the Mouse in respect of the engine and transmission, entering the Shell Mileage Marathon competition held annually at famous race tracks such as Silverstone and Mallory Park.

During the Shell Mileage Marathon vehicles are carefully checked by engineers and the fuel consumption calculated based on an average speed of not less than 15 mph round a short circuit (drivers are allowed to fire the engine then coast). Four attempts are allowed during the day and the best figure recorded for each entrant.

In 1996 the figure of 568mpg was recognised as a world record for the Combidrive “Mouse”, a road legal diesel powered three wheeler. Media interest followed and the Combidrive mouse was featured in BBC “Record Breakers” and “Top Gear” programmes. For further information take a look at ‘mouse top gear’ on YouTube or take a look through the video links below.

Watch the Mouse in action