When Daniel Kim, a Land Rover mechanic in Portland, Ore. , attempted to build the “perfect SUV,” his dreams crashed down on him in the form of a 500-pound Land Rover chassis he was welding. His original idea – to construct a smaller, more rugged SUV powered by biodiesel – gave way to a concept of more manageable size. Nothing like a near fatal accident to sharpen your thinking.
Kim, now the founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Lit Motors, was aware that 70 percent of motorists drive alone and waste significant space when parking their vehicles. Armed with this knowledge, within two weeks following his incident with the Land Rover, he had a solution: a gyroscopically stabilized, enclosed electric motorcycle called the C-1.
The C-1 aims to combine the efficiency of a motorcycle with the safety of a car. The vehicle delivers 1,300-foot-pounds of torque and has a range of roughly 200 miles – that's triple the range using a third of the battery requirements of an electric car. Like an electric car, it boasts regenerative braking and airbags, but has a notable size advantage over its four-wheeled counterpart.
Set for release a year from now, the C-1 will set buyers back $24,000, which is expensive compared to many traditional motorcycles, but quite competitive with compact cars. According to energy consultant Pike Research, the two-wheeled electric vehicles market will accommodate 138 million electric motorcycles and scooters by 2017, with China and southeast Asia accounting for a large share of the market.
However, there is a ways to go before Kim's electric motorcycles hum down our roadways, and previous electric motorcycles have met without success in the past – for example, the SAM, developed by Cree. But if the C-1 is received with enthusiasm, we may be seeing more two-wheeled electric vehicles and fewer Land Rovers on our streets and highways. Time will tell.
Full story at Txchnologist.