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A Motorcycle Car That Makes Commuting Easier
National Geographic ^ | December 9, 2012 | Dan Stone

Posted on 12/10/2012 1:20:35 AM PST by nickcarraway

Daniel Kim was trying to build a drivable truck from scratch. While lying on his back one day in the shop, the 500-pound chassis hung above him. It started to teeter, then fell, barely missing Kim’s face. His life spared, Kim had his “aha” moment. Just over three-quarters of commuters drive alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so why are cars so big and bulky?

Kim’s idea was to cut the traditional car in half, the concept behind the fully electric vehicle dubbed the C-1 that his San Francisco-based company Lit Motors is developing for the next decade. It resembles a motorcycle but with with an exterior around a single driver, with space for an occasional passenger. Two wheels keep the vehicle agile, and two gyroscopes keep it upright, even in an accident. Top speed? Over 100 miles per hour. And the most stunning part is the price. Kim believes that at full scale, Lit can sell the C-1 for $12,500 in developing countries like India and China, slightly more in the U.S.

Other companies have picked up similar goals to steer the future. Myers Motors in Tallmadge, Ohio, has developed a three-wheel car for one person. Now engineers are working on a two-person model, essentially cutting out all the extra space you’d find in a traditional coup. People who commute fewer than 30 miles to work don’t need expansive trunk space, so the smaller frame is designed to make roads and parking lots less congested and more efficient.

I visited Lit’s San Francisco offices just south of Market Street, an area teeming with new start-ups, to see some transportation ideas of the future. The C-1 isn’t all that Lit has cooking. A cargo scooter that can hold a 22-inch cube is Lit’s answer to needs in developing regions in Africa or the Middle East where people spend large amounts of time hauling this like water or food. “We even developed it to hold nine extra large pizzas and a few liters of soda,” Lit’s chief marketing officer Ryan James said. People all around the world could use it.

Sitting in the vehicles gives an idea of what commuting through a city or delivering pizzas might one day be like. “We’re trying to build a future transportation,” Kim told me. For now, the challenge is to raise more money and scale the technology for wider production. Whether or not you’ll soon see Lit’s vehicles on a road near you, Kim says that the company has already taken pre-orders for 500 C1s. They’re expected for delivery in just over a year.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Travel
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/10/2012 1:20:39 AM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

I wouldn’t drive one, but I think there’s probably a market for it. More power to him!


2 posted on 12/10/2012 1:24:37 AM PST by Cowboy Bob (Greed + Envy = Liberalism)
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To: nickcarraway

I wonder what keeps it upright when the gyros aren’t running.


3 posted on 12/10/2012 1:30:40 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Cowboy Bob

12 grand ?

Get real.


4 posted on 12/10/2012 1:31:01 AM PST by onona (Blame it all on my roots.........(Vendome made me do it))
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To: onona

My thought as well. For $8K I’d get one for my 5 mile commute.


5 posted on 12/10/2012 1:49:19 AM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: count-your-change
I wonder what keeps it upright when the gyros aren’t running.

Magic pixie dust.

6 posted on 12/10/2012 1:53:46 AM PST by wastedyears (I don't want to live on this planet anymore.)
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To: nickcarraway
I want one -- this would be great for a commute in the city, but isn't it similar to

7 posted on 12/10/2012 2:09:25 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: nickcarraway

Two wheels and all electric? For a “measly” twelve grand? No sale.

I would prefer bubble cars over something like this. At least you get three wheels (four on some models) and an internal-combustion engine that can run at highway speeds (if you go with two cylinders that is). Back in the day, you would not pay ridiculous prices for cars like that; but given today’s bizarre market, even supposed “Smart” cars cost more than four-seaters.


8 posted on 12/10/2012 2:10:03 AM PST by Olog-hai
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To: Straight Vermonter

I wonder why he needs to have gyros instead of just making it a tricycle? It would probably lower the price to 8k


9 posted on 12/10/2012 2:10:31 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos

“I wonder why he needs to have gyros instead of just making it a tricycle? It would probably lower the price to 8k”

Ditto to that.


10 posted on 12/10/2012 2:15:45 AM PST by exPBRrat
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To: nickcarraway

I would rather get a CanAm and play around with some form of removable convertible top.

BTW I own three bikes, a Star 1300, Honda CX650 and a CX500.
A Ural bike with its rear drive wheels both powered would be another candidate.

This isn’t something I would want a greyhound bus or a large semi rig to pass me on the highway at high speeds.

A good idea but limited to Utopia of The Fantasyland.


11 posted on 12/10/2012 2:23:12 AM PST by Eye of Unk (A Civil Cold War in America is here, its already been declared.)
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To: Eye of Unk

“A good idea but limited to Utopia of The Fantasyland.”

Driven fast enough, vehicles like that are still heavy enough to kill a pedestrian or cyclist.


12 posted on 12/10/2012 2:45:19 AM PST by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: Eye of Unk

not fairyland — these would have their place for short commutes or intra-city


13 posted on 12/10/2012 3:22:03 AM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos
I wonder why he needs to have gyros instead of just making it a tricycle? It would probably lower the price to 8k

Casters on the ends of retractable telescopic struts to assist the front wheel when the slow speed/balance point is approached... When the bike accelerates, the struts retract back up into the shell.

14 posted on 12/10/2012 3:32:56 AM PST by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: nickcarraway

Check out the Monotracer. The idea has been executed on for over 25 years.

The Monotracer is available in both gas and electric versions, but it doesn cost a bit more than $12k.

http://www.webroad.ch/monotracer/index.php?lang=en

:^)


15 posted on 12/10/2012 4:07:44 AM PST by Disambiguator (America chose...poorly.)
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To: Cowboy Bob

He’s saying more than $12.5k for this? Nope... When someone can do this for half that, then we have an idea.


16 posted on 12/10/2012 4:22:52 AM PST by paul544
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To: nickcarraway
"While lying on his back one day in the shop, the 500-pound chassis hung above him. It started to teeter, then fell, barely missing Kim’s face. His life spared, Kim had his 'aha' moment."

$12K for an idea someone thought of in a moment while almost being killed for not adequately supporting a vehicle they were under?!?

I'll pass.

17 posted on 12/10/2012 4:46:23 AM PST by Carl Vehse
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To: nickcarraway
More pricey, but this looks a tad bit better than that guy's smart-car design.(and it's a two seater)


http://www.customsalley.com/venomss-products.html

18 posted on 12/10/2012 5:05:59 AM PST by libertarian27 (Check my profile page for the FReeper Online Cookbook 2011)
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To: nickcarraway

19 posted on 12/10/2012 5:09:11 AM PST by bmwcyle (Women reelected Obama)
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To: Carl Vehse

“It started to teeter, then fell, barely missing Kim’s face.”
As I’ve posted many times before...you gotta be tough
to be dumb.


20 posted on 12/10/2012 5:09:24 AM PST by Fireone (Impeach and imprison, NOW! Treason and murder are still crimes.)
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To: exPBRrat

The Morgan supersport three wheeler in the 1930s was a car that was both fun to drive and low on gas. We should re-build them in this nation by the thousands.


21 posted on 12/10/2012 5:29:42 AM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: exPBRrat

“I wonder why he needs to have gyros instead of just making it a tricycle? It would probably lower the price to 8k”

Besides spinning that gyro consumes precious battery energy.


22 posted on 12/10/2012 5:30:04 AM PST by chainsaw ("Two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by Obama")
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To: nickcarraway

Death-trap


23 posted on 12/10/2012 5:35:49 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: nickcarraway
There was something like this on the market in about 1955 (can’t think of the name right now). I was 15 and out riding my horse one day. I stopped at the dealership, tied my horse to a fence and they let me drive one home to pick up my mom and take her for a test drive, by my self. Imagine that happening today!
24 posted on 12/10/2012 5:37:14 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Forward the Light Brigade

Supposedly coming to the U.S. in the next few years is the Tata Nano, an Indian car - read this tidbit about it:

“After months of rumors and tantalizing leaks — and as we first told you earlier this week — Indian automaker Tata Motors has finally unveiled the Tata Nano — its already legendary $2,500 (1-lakh)car. As expected, the car that Tata claims will change the face of not only the Indian car market, but the global auto industry will be a four door, five seat hatch, powered by a 30 HP Bosch 624 cc four stroke engine mounted out back and mated to a CVT. That makes the Nano the first time a 2-cylinder gasoline engine will be used in a car with a single balancer shaft. The Nano’s also expected to get 54 US miles per gallon.”

Google Tata Nano for more info about this car. Sounds interesting.


25 posted on 12/10/2012 5:38:53 AM PST by flaglady47 (When the gov't fears the people, liberty; When the people fear the gov't, tyranny.)
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To: bmwcyle

That’s actually kind of cool. Care to provide more info?


26 posted on 12/10/2012 5:40:19 AM PST by Lee'sGhost (Johnny Rico picked the wrong girl!)
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To: libertarian27

Now, that’s just the kind of look that would capture the youth market. Or lost youth market. IMHO, the secret to selling a dorky little alternative vehicle is to not make it LOOK dorky. That looks like something out of Death Race 2000. Way cool.


27 posted on 12/10/2012 5:43:04 AM PST by Lee'sGhost (Johnny Rico picked the wrong girl!)
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To: central_va
Death-trap

Less crash-worthy than a full-sized car. Much more crash-worthy than a motorcycle -- which is what it is, an enclosed motorcycle.

28 posted on 12/10/2012 5:44:45 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: flaglady47
Google Tata Nano for more info about this car. Sounds interesting.

Good car for the Third World, or for puttering around the neighborhood.

It's not something that I would ever take on a highway.

29 posted on 12/10/2012 5:51:11 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: flaglady47

How they got the Tata Nano so cheap: no air bags, manual transmission, no power steering, no air conditioning, no radio, etc. As listed, it would not be street legal in the US.


30 posted on 12/10/2012 5:56:23 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: Lee'sGhost
It is a concept item. It's eletric
31 posted on 12/10/2012 5:56:39 AM PST by bmwcyle (We have gone over the cliff and we are about to hit the bottom)
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To: nickcarraway; All
IIRC...the GERMANS (late '80s); had enclosed carbon-fabric motorcycle body that could really
haul (@$$ :) two ppl. based on a very sleek BMW 2000cc chassis.. 120mph/200kph..gyro-enabled
hvac..communication equipped.

32 posted on 12/10/2012 5:57:59 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (Who'll take tomorrow,spend it all today; who can take your income & tax it all away..0Bama man can :)
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To: nickcarraway
Meh!


I'll take one of these.
33 posted on 12/10/2012 5:58:22 AM PST by RandallFlagg ("Liberalism is about as progressive as CANCER" -Alfonzo Rachel)
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To: nickcarraway

The commute won be so easy for them when my SVT Raptor rolls over it during a simple lane change...


34 posted on 12/10/2012 5:59:08 AM PST by Adams (Fight on!)
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To: nickcarraway; All
looked similar to post #15..& it was designed by a aircraft engineer.

35 posted on 12/10/2012 6:06:28 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (Who'll take tomorrow,spend it all today; who can take your income & tax it all away..0Bama man can :)
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To: onona
12 grand ? Get real.

Fear not.

Ubama has plans to make the price of conventional vehicles "skyrocket."

36 posted on 12/10/2012 6:13:10 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum ("The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state." - Cornelius Tacitus, Roman Senator)
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To: Dixie Yooper
Casters on the ends of retractable telescopic struts...

Somthing like this?

37 posted on 12/10/2012 6:13:10 AM PST by Jonah Hex ("To Serve Manatee" is a cookbook!)
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To: nickcarraway
Just bring back the Nash Metropolitan.... 4 cyl. two seater 45 miles mpg. Photobucket
38 posted on 12/10/2012 6:14:05 AM PST by baddog 219
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To: wastedyears; count-your-change

***I wonder what keeps it upright when the gyros aren’t running.***

***Magic pixie dust. ***

Needs permanent training wheels!


39 posted on 12/10/2012 8:41:45 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (The parasites now outnumber the producers.)
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To: nickcarraway

How are you going to haul plywood with that?

I figure if I can’t haul a full sheet of plywood then the vehicle isn’t worth driving


40 posted on 12/10/2012 9:57:52 AM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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