The Future is Here, (sort of) and We (don’t) Like It

Cartoons in the 1960’s and 70’s promised us flying cars and dutiful robotic (if somewhat smartass) servants. At least that’s how I remember the Jetsons.  By now half of us would be living deep in the oceans, (remember the cartoon Sea Lab) and all my friends thought it would be cool to hang with  Fat Albert in the ghetto.

Fast forward to the 21st century and it’s obvious the ghetto wasn’t all that cool, Sea Lab lasted about 13 weeks and we’re still decades away from affordable consumer “flying” cars.

Which is why I’m a little bummed over this new “electric motorcycle” from Lit Motors.

Right now the C-1, built in San Francisco is a just a “prototype.”  But the company is taking $250 deposits on the god ugly machine that it says will retail sometime in 2013-2014 around $24K and if demand is strong enough, the price will drop to around $16K.

Different versions of the C-1 will be available for different markets. The model aimed at First World countries will have an 8-10 kilowatt-hour battery pack, while a model intended for developing nations will be rated at about 4-6 kWh. The vehicle will incorporate electric hub motors in both wheels, at least one of those motors being a high-performance Remy HVH unit. The top speed should be at least 120 mph (193 km/h), with driving range for the higher-end model expected to sit at around 150 to 220 miles (241 to 354 km) per charge, depending on the exact size of the battery.

One way this motorcycle imposter can reach those speeds with such high mileage estimates is by utilizing something called KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology. This thing stays upright with self-balancing Thrustcycle SRT,  and (for lack of a better description) recycles kinetic power that would otherwise be lost in the braking process to assist in powering the flywheels. Along with providing stability, those wheels will also deliver power back to the drivetrain when the vehicle is accelerating, giving the battery pack a break. ( more after the poll) 

How the self balancing mechanism would work is shown in this video. Part of me wants to be excited about this technology, and another part (a much larger part) is screaming, “don’t take my wobbly, easy to fall over, dangerous as hell but more fun than sex, motorcycle away from me. Call me skeptical, but if this succeeds, the day will come when the insurance industry and the medical industry (read lobby) will figure out a way to make motorcycles (as exist today) illegal to operate on the road.  (more photos after the video)

5 thoughts on “The Future is Here, (sort of) and We (don’t) Like It

  1. This will turn out like the Segway – It's really cool, you may have seen one in real life, but don't know anybody that actually has one. Americans won't buy this. After selling us tiny pickups in the 60's and 70's, Toyota and Nissan (and now Honda) all make full size trucks for the American market. I ride a Honda Shadow, a big bike for American consumers. There is no cause for concern. Chicks that are afraid of dropping their Vespa scooter will buy the C-1.
    My recent post The Many Motorcycles of Dr Who

  2. I actually emailed Kawasaki about designing a motorcycle cab you could snap on for bad weather. an electric version beats that by a mile. I would be very interested inone for communicating to work etc But need that wobbly, loud cool motorcycle for the open roads!

  3. If it was not for CG, this video would not exist. I feel the mass of an object 5' tall must have a center of gravity about 6" from the ground to keep it upright if a car struck it 2' off the ground and stay upright. Let's say it works in full mock up like the model the tech slid the tire into; we are looking at a vehicle that will pass under a tractor trailer frame. I thought Ridley's original bike was short. This scooter would be about the same size and make a Smart car look like and SUV.

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