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Lit Motors Puts a Gyroscopic “Spin” on the Traditional Motorcycle

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.

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Feature Articles

Titan Puts a New Spin on GE’s Wind Turbine Research

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production.

Lighting a Fire Under Combustion Simulation

Combustion simulation might seem like the ultimate in esoteric technologies, but auto companies, aircraft firms and fuel designers need increasingly sophisticated software to serve the needs of 21st century engine designs. HPCwire recently got the opportunity to take a look at Reaction Design, one of the premier makers of combustion simulation software, and talk with its CEO, Bernie Rosenthal.

D-Wave Sells First Quantum Computer

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world's first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their "most challenging computation problems." D-Wave co-founder and CTO Geordie Rose talks about the new system and the underlying technology.

Short Takes

Local Motors and ORNL Partner for Automotive Manufacturing

Jan 24, 2014 | Local Motors, a vehicle innovator, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced a new partnership that they hope will bring change to the automotive industry.

Robots Showcase Skills at DRC

Jan 22, 2014 | A month ago, the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials (DRC) commenced. The main goal of the event was to aid in the development of robots that will someday respond to natural or even man-made disasters. At this year’s DRC, prototype robots from 16 teams were put through a series of trials in which they were to showcase their skills.

Engineers Develop Microwindmills to Power Electronics

Jan 17, 2014 | Engineers at the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a new technology that could come in handy when electronic devices run out of power. Their idea stems from a source of power generation that we are all familiar with; windmills.

Advanced Modeling Benefits Wind Farms

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Not Your Parents' CFD

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The UberCloud HPC Experiment: Compendium of Case Studies

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