Shopping? Check out our latest product comparisons

Lit Motors' C-1 electric motorcycle will stand up for itself

By

January 4, 2012

The C-1 is a proposed fully-electric and fully-enclosed self-balancing motorcycle

The C-1 is a proposed fully-electric and fully-enclosed self-balancing motorcycle

Image Gallery (12 images)

As any avid biker will tell you, motorcycles have a lot of advantages over cars - they use less fuel, accelerate faster, are more maneuverable, can be parked in more places, and don't incorporate the weight of extra seating for passengers who are non-existent on solo commutes. As many other people will tell you, however, motorcycles also leave their occupants open to the rain and cold, and can potentially tip over and scatter those occupants across the road. That's where Lit Motors' C-1 comes into the picture. It's a proposed fully-enclosed two-passenger electric motorbike that uses an electronically-controlled gyroscopic stabilizing system to stay upright when stopped, or even when struck from the side in an accident.

Lit Motors is based out of San Francisco, and is headed up by industrial/automotive designer Daniel Kim. The idea for the C-1 came to him after he had traveled around the world for a year, seeing the transportation challenges and innovations in developing nations. "I met thousands and thousands of people, and learned how cultures function and how people get around," he told us. "It was an amazing experience. That's basically what informed me, for the rest of my life."

The vehicle

So far, Kim and his team have developed an operating model of the C-1's flywheel-based stabilization system, along with a full-scale fiberglass mock-up of the vehicle itself. They are now working on a hand-built steel uni-bodied working prototype, which should reportedly be complete within about three months. Plans call for an initial run of production vehicles to be available at a price of about US$24,000 by late 2013, with that price going down to $16,000 once full production gets under way in 2014.

The C-1 is a proposed fully-electric and fully-enclosed self-balancing motorcycle

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.

Harvesting energy

While the C-1's light weight, aerodynamic shape and low rolling resistance should allow it to get decent mileage, KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology will also help in that department. As is the case with the self-balancing Thrustcycle SRT, kinetic power that would otherwise be lost in the braking process will instead be used to assist in spinning up 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.

The C-1 is a proposed fully-electric and fully-enclosed self-balancing motorcycle

The flywheels will be located beneath the vehicle's floor, and should generate over 1,300 lb/ft (1,763 Nm) of torque in the final, commercial model. Although previous attempts at gyroscopically-stabilized vehicles such as the Gyro-X were rumored to be tippy when cornering at high speeds, Kim assures us that a patented system will keep that from being the case with the C-1.

Keeping connected

As with many existing newer cars, the vehicle will also utilize various connectivity protocols to stay in contact with the internet. This will allow its driver to be continuously aware of factors such as traffic, construction, and adverse weather conditions - where applicable, alternate routes will be suggested.

Some fairly big names have become interested in the project. While Daniel was first developing the C-1 as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, it caught the attention of Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the world's largest car-sharing service - she has since become "a huge proponent" of the vehicle. The MIT Media Lab also provided assistance in its design. More recently, Jason Hill, lead designer with the now-defunct Aptera Motors, signed on to work on the final design of the C-1.

The C-1 is a proposed fully-electric and fully-enclosed self-balancing motorcycle

Should you want one...

Lit Motors is now accepting US$250 refundable deposits, from people interested in becoming early adopters of the vehicle. Approximately 25 deposits have been made so far, mainly from Europe. When and if it hits the market, the C-1 may face some competition from the E-Tracer, a fully-electric version of the Monotracer cabin motorcycle made by Swiss company Peraves. Unlike the C-1, however, the E-Tracer lacks a gyroscopic stabilizing system - instead, its driver must manually deploy retractable outrigger supports when slowing down or coming to a stop.

"We're creating a safe motorcycle, and that's never been done in the way that we're doing it, where it's also incredibly efficient" said Kim. "We're trying to open up safety to a huge market of 200 million motorcyclists, daily in the world. We have a huge market, and I think we could have a lot of impact."

The video below shows how the C-1 might operate in the real world.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
66 Comments

Where does the rest of the batteries go? Every picture/videos I've seen there is BARELY enough space for the gyroscope/flywheel. It doesn't seem like they're in-wheel motors, so where does that go and the rest of the elctronics?

Unless they have a range of less than 50 miles I doubt you can fit them all together using current technology. Batteries need a quantum leap in technology and from what have been shown, there is none, other than findings of what it MAY promise, Like Michio Kaku says, batteries are inefficient unless there's a quantum leap in physics.

Also the ability to lean in motorcycles is also important in what makes them manuevarable, hence for a 2 wheel vehicle being 'unleanable' and too stable would not be too great of an idea in most circumctances. It may have computer controlled systems which is why I doubt they will able to fit all of them, computers,elctronics, motor, gyroscope/flywhel with a steel unibody while keeping the weight down to attain a range of over 100 miles in a single charge.

From what I've seen there is not a single actual real video of the thing MOVING and navigating bends, only CG which is why I have my doubts.

SpaceBagels
4th January, 2012 @ 04:34 pm PST

Why can't Yamaha or Honda or Harley Davidson come up with something like this?

After all, even Mazda figured out that some people want a hard top for the Miata.

If Honda made a version with a 600cc motor then I'd be all over it!

Grunchy
4th January, 2012 @ 06:02 pm PST

Why so much CG? Why no actual footage of it moving? Why no stability test with a full vehicle with someone in it? The test without anyone seems wobbly at best.

silkblue
4th January, 2012 @ 06:03 pm PST

more vapourware

I would have thought any biker would be able to point out the obvious pitfalls of strapping a large gyroscope to a bike. You need to lean it over to turn properly.

I guess that's why this is still just vapourware.

Adrien
4th January, 2012 @ 07:11 pm PST

Far too much trouble for two wheels. Just make it a three wheeler with two wheels up front like the cam am spyder.

phydeaux
4th January, 2012 @ 07:13 pm PST

Someone has an idea that if brought to fruition would be the answer to a lot of wage earner, long commute, gas not going below $3.00 a gallon ever again poor people, and you complain!

Zappenfusen
4th January, 2012 @ 07:27 pm PST

^^^^^^

3 wheels? You're kidding! 3 wheels need too much common sense! They need a marketing spiel to make it attractive to unwitting investors like a motorcycle that wouldn't tip over if kicked at the side so it can navigate bends at 5 mph with the much required gyroscope/flywheel.

From the pictures there doesn't seem to be any kind of legs or stand so the vehicle can be parked so I assume it has to run that flywheel and gyroscope FOREVER like some kind of a perpetual motion machine to stay upright.

And where's the spare tyre WHEN I get a flat? *Ba dum tsssss*

SpaceBagels
4th January, 2012 @ 07:50 pm PST

It's certainly NOT vapourware.

Gyroscopes are capable of much more than people realize.

I can personally testify that they are fully capable of allowing controlled lean.

This vehicle may not make it to market but gyroscopes are extremely under-utilized and misunderstood,

even now-

as several of these comments demonstrate.

Griffin
4th January, 2012 @ 07:55 pm PST

I know slime can be used instead of spare tires, but still...

SpaceBagels
4th January, 2012 @ 08:06 pm PST

There is no reason to think a gyro-stabilized two wheel car won't work. There are plenty of mechanically successful predecessors but I want gas or diesel power.

http://www.aqpl43.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEUM/TRANSPORT/gyrocars/gyrocar.htm

http://www.aqpl43.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEUM/TRANSPORT/gyrocars/schilovs.htm

Slowburn
4th January, 2012 @ 08:09 pm PST

For criticism: those doors are expensive to make, just look at the complex 3d curve of its edge. That's where it needs to seal, and it has TWO doors. No back window, no rain gutter. No opening side windows. No kick stand? Because it's going to be a hell of a job fixing the bodywork if it ever tips over, and even if it has a powerful gyroscope it has to be turned on for self-balancing.

Good points: I do like white, that color reflects the heat best. If the hatch on the back is a trunk, I sure like it. They have got to incorporate some tipover bumpers somehow, like the dress-up kits they sell for Goldwings and big Harleys. With the overhead roof, this should make the scooter-type seating into a formidably strong frame. The crash protection looks superior to every motorcycle ever made (I guess that's pretty obvious). I would want a snap-out stand to automatically spring out and hold it up if the gyroscope ever quits, when at a stand-still. Once you're moving the gyroscope may as well turn off, the rolling wheels take over that function - oh right somebody pointed out, putting gyroscopic elements like rolling wheels on a bike will never work, what was I thinking?

Bottom line: awesome idea! This is the closest thing (of this type) to a marketable product that I've seen yet.

Grunchy
4th January, 2012 @ 08:57 pm PST

Doubters, who reckon they know a thing or 2......

(I'm a doubter for different reasons)

Motorcycles are only tricky to balance at slow speeds.... when the gyro stabilisation is handy...

Every motorcycle already has 2 gyros, they are the main reason why a bike turns corners at high speed....

There are lots of ways in which the gyro can assist the bike to lean in corners at speed....

Just as it can aid in stability, when a bike turns a corner at speed it is still stable, otherwise you would High or Low side at every corner (that's what happens when the gyroscopic (x2 or 3), centripetal, gravitational, radial, tangential and Coriolis accelerations become unstable about the eigenvector corresponding to the patho f the bike in space at any instant in time....

NOw that little stability program, can assist the bike to translate from one eigenvector to another, that is change direction, in a balanced manner....

Also, the computer needed to run the stability program would fit inside a mobile phone case, (well several (computers) seeing the slowest commonly used processor for mobile phones are probably 200 times more powerful than needed.. So Space isn't a problem....

I still question space for Battery storage for long range, also, using the stability gyro for KERS, also has problems, as to be used as a stability device, it will need power fed in and out, in almost equal amounts.....

And the final problem, what happens when we achieve 100% Gyro wind up, stability control will be lost, as the gyro will be spinning at its max speed....

Sometimes simple is good (most of the time) a set of outrigger wheels will be simpler, probably safer and consume less power than the dynamic balancing system....

This is not the only similar design, and the gyro stability would most likely be out of patent (see thrustcycle) or be very hard to defend, they may find themselves in court against Dean Kamen...

If I was in the market for similar, and of Monotracer was more affordable, that is the way I would go... Or just rip it off, and make my own..... (then I can play with stability control on my on platform....)

Good Lick Guys, get market share then worry about the Litigation (patent)...

He Who gets Market share wins in court....

MD
4th January, 2012 @ 11:17 pm PST

With the flywheel spinnning at high speeds it's not like it can be slowed down instantaneously to navigate tight bends and bank suddenly (for instance evading other vehicles that can instantaneously squash this one like a tin can).

Motorcycles are more stable because the wheels are bigger unlike this and doesn't have a flywheel spinning in acces of thousands of rpm as a prerequisite. With the Monotracer (basically similar in design with this thing) it has these two retractable lightweight side wheels, because the designers have common sense.

SpaceBagels
5th January, 2012 @ 01:13 am PST

Ya, this will work. It will need a proper heat/ventilation system to keep from fogging up in cool or sloppy weather but that shouldn't be a major challenge. I'd like to see a read-view camera and/or better all-round road awareness (maybe a clear glass hatch cover at the rear).

Otherwise a nice design. The base-unit price point should be about $10,000 and the company should be planning to absorb those short term losses for 12 to 18 months or until some critical mass can be achieved. Otherwise, you've just excluded 50% of your market.

Mirmillion
5th January, 2012 @ 09:20 am PST

You guys ar hilarious. You might try reading the article and clicking on the links before inserting foot in mouth. A physics course might also help with foot in mouth desease. The gyros are on gymbals so that the motorcycle can still lean into curves -- watch the videos! With a body, room can be made to fit batteries. For long term parking, common sense dictates that there will be a "kickstand" sort of thing. It also mentions having 2 in wheel drive motors for 2 wheel traction. Light weight and aerodynamics allow a long range with a small battery.

This product is going to be a winner if they can execute. There are a lot of people that would buy one for very practical reasons -- and fun with safety. Good luck Lit Motors!

see3d
5th January, 2012 @ 12:21 pm PST

Throw in a 6CD player/changer and use the heating and cooling system that was being used in the Aptera and you have a deal. I can't wait till these show up in a showroom near me.

YukonJack
5th January, 2012 @ 01:15 pm PST

You say Motorcycle, I say Organ Donor.

You don't think so?

Last night the first fatality in Hawaii was from a motorcycle driver.

The cyclist impacted a car at a high rate of speed...and this is in a state where motorcycles are prevalent! Yeah...spend $24k and die...not my idea of fun!

Ed
5th January, 2012 @ 02:22 pm PST

Watch the videos? I think you should know that none of the videos show an ACTUAL REAL prototype moving faster than standing still and taking bends at high speed.

Why didn't they show it? Right, because it doesn't work like it's purpotedly so they show it in CG.

SpaceBagels
5th January, 2012 @ 05:08 pm PST

Also where are the side crumple zones WHEN it gets plowwed sideways by a vehicle 3 to 5 times larger and heavier? Riiiiight. Taking impacts by resisting the opposite force so it can stay upright is much much better if some of that energy is converted so it can just roll over.

The material must be made from some kind of alien technology for it to not even dent as shown in the video.

SpaceBagels
5th January, 2012 @ 06:37 pm PST

It looks good. Good enough to purchase if it gets in to production.

But, wasn't C1 the name of the Sinclare electric car from the 1980s (produced in the UK by the same guy who built his own computers)? So isn't that name "taken"?

Womp
5th January, 2012 @ 06:40 pm PST

Side plow by a car 3-5 times bigger and heavier + Small steel unibody enclosed motorcycle that resists tipping over at all times = Death Trap

SpaceBagels
5th January, 2012 @ 07:32 pm PST

re; SpaceBagels

Gyro-stabilized 2 wheeled cars from decades ago have worked in both leaning into curves and non leaning into curves types. There is no reason to doubt the accuracy of that part of the video, and some composite material/structure would spring back into shape as soon as the presser is removed.

Slowburn
5th January, 2012 @ 08:08 pm PST

actually I'd be less worried about being crushed. They can make some fairly hellishly stiff and tough monocoques nowadays. Expensive though making a titanium frame.

To protect against crushing means stiffness, which then means there's no space for crumple zones. G-forces when you're hit side on by an SUV doing 70mph is therefore a big problem. You'd want to always be wearing a neck brace, helmet and have a wrap-around head-rest built into the seats. Maybe even an inflatable cushion (always inflated once you get in) to cocoon you.

Anyways, is it worse than being thrown off a bike into some other car or power pole? I doubt it.

And sure, the gyros (which must be twin counter-rotating to prevent making the thing spin) can be on hydraulic gymbals to allow the bike to lean in a controlled fashion without the gyros departing from their plane of rotation.

But that all sounds like a bunch of power. I guess some braking energy could be used to top up the gyro. Pulling energy back out of it would reduce the gyro effect, but probably not an issue since as you accelerate, you need the gyro less.

Adrien
5th January, 2012 @ 10:50 pm PST

re; SpaceBagels

I disagree being knocked over means not only do you have to suddenly absorb all the energy of the original impact as you are pushed out of the way, you then have to suddenly absorb the energy of falling over. Removing a impact makes you safer.

Slowburn
5th January, 2012 @ 11:03 pm PST

About safety : as long as it is lighter, it will be safer than a traditional car.

I've been driving a TWIKE electromobile for 15 years now : a side-by-side two-seater, 3-wheeler with one wheel in front and batteries at the back on the main axle. And pedals, making it the only sports vehicle on the road.

Except for the third wheel and the gyro, its concept is comparable to this vehicle. I've also test-driven a Monotracer, back when it was not yet battery-powered. And I've recently seen the battery version, complete with scratches on its side (it must be pretty difficult to remember extending the side-wheels when halting ;-)

I studied accidents involving TWIKEs : there have been some, for sure, as there are about a thousand spread over the world now totalling millions of kilometers (I did 65.000 myself).

But no heavy casualties so far ! I had two accidents during that period, both of my own making : I slammed sideways into the backside a van doing an emergency stop for road works, on a wet and slippery downhill in a curve while dreaming of a better world, and I hit an Audi on a snow-hidden ice patch in a curve, also sideways : both times the collision was on the side I was sitting, but : not even a bruise ! The crate of empty 1 litre juice bottles survived, too !

I saw the wreckage of a TWIKE that was hit broadside while waiting in the middle of a crossroads, by a Mercedes taxi burning the traffic lights at 70 Km/h : the TWIKE was catapulted away, landed topside down and rolled over several times, its roll bar took the strain and its space cage was bent inward less than 10 cm. A TWIKE is basically an aluminium cage with a thin plastic skin around it. The pilot just got a bruise on his wrist from gripping the joystick too firmly !

The reasons why such lightweight vehicles (250 Kg, including batteries) are so safe :

1. Egg shapes are incredibly strong. You basically drive "inside your helmet".

2. Try destroying a football or a balloon by kicking it ! It happens, but I know only of two occasions (in Belgium and in Spain, and the Belgian player scored a goal when the ball exploded and deviated by the blast ;-)

3. You can't choose your type of accident. There are three kinds :

a. Traffic pile-ups : you get crushed between trucks anyway, whether you are driving a Volvo or a beetle. Extremely rare (less than 1%). If you miss the axles, you might excape underneath if your vehicle is low enough, or sliding underneath sideways...

b. Collisions with other vehicles (50%). The heaviest one is safer, because its velocity is reduced less than the lighter vehicle. But... that is an ARMS RACE ! Soon, we'll all be driving armoured cars or tanks. So bigger mass is not the solution.

c. Collisions with fixed objects (trees, walls, poles...) : also 50%. Here, lighter vehicles are safer, because it is the mass of the vehicle which crushes you against the immovable object. If princess Diana had been in a VW beetle, she would still be alive. But the armoured Mercedes squashed her agains the concrete pillar of that Paris tunnel...

The thing is : you don't get to choose the type of accident you are going to have ! And we don't want an arms race, either. So lighter is better, period. Shoes are better than bikes. The ultimate goal is a Star Wars "Beam me up, Scotty !" kind of thing :-)

Apart from that : consider the point of view of other people on the road : they would much prefer being hit by a lightweight vehicle, rather than by a typical car... just ask your own kids if you don't believe me.

And that, my friends, is safety's most ignored aspect : you gotta care for the safety of others, hoping they will do the same for you !

I know - a most un-American point of view... criticizing the arms race, for crying out loud : the man must be a socialist 8=/

Bart Viaene
6th January, 2012 @ 04:46 am PST

Excellent detailed comment, Bart Viaene. Thanks for sharing!

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
6th January, 2012 @ 08:57 am PST

I think any vehicle like this would be great either as a self-balancing enclosed motorcycle or as an enclosed trike or reverse trike, although I would like to see the Lit Motors' C-1 cabin just a bit longer for passenger comfort - back seat looks very cramped - especially if either the driver or passenger are at all tall like I am (6'4", 193.04cm).

yrag
6th January, 2012 @ 09:52 am PST

Now you are talking. This is a really great idea. Having ridden motorcycles for years and an accident when someone made a left turn in front of me. I think this would be great. As I read about motorcycle accidents about 90% of deaths are from head injuries, and while most states in the U.S. require helmets some riders still don't use them. My injury resulted in 5 broken ribs, collar bone and shoulder blade. I had a helmet, but my arms were scrapped as well and I still bare the scars. The one thing that prevented me from serious injury was the fairing and windshield I had installed. They took the most damage. Also in riding my bike I got wet many times and even with a rain suit you still get soaked. Of course, there is the ever popular bug problem. Ever get hit in the throat with a bug traveling at 60 mph? Needless to say this is a grand idea. I only hope they have a good range on the electric batteries, because if it gets only 50 or 60 miles before having to recharge it won't be a big seller.

ebastro
6th January, 2012 @ 10:01 am PST

Amen, @Bart Viaene! One thing that is hard to grasp for most people living "here, now" is that in the future 90% of commute vehicles may be single-person and lightweight. Then the idea of driving alone in SUV to work would be like smoking cigarette on a plain (not to mention it may be banned on most traffic lanes). And 50 years ago everybody was smoking. It will take time, but _today_ is always the best day to work towards better future.

Andrzej Rusztowicz
6th January, 2012 @ 10:08 am PST

re; Andrzej Rusztowicz

Most people can not afford an extra vehicle for use for commuting to go with their take the kids to grandma car. One car must fulfill all their transport needs even if that means driving to work alone in a SUV. Comparing that to smoking an a plane is ludicrous.

Slowburn
6th January, 2012 @ 02:23 pm PST

Anybody else notice it was a Nissan Leaf that hit this thing in the video?

Video of Thrustcycle self balancing (full size, not a model like in the Lit video)



Eletruk
6th January, 2012 @ 02:25 pm PST

it's wonderful

Abdulrahman Ali
6th January, 2012 @ 02:38 pm PST

Looks like all they actually have right now (judging from the vid) is scaled-down engineering prototypes and a mock-up for a model to sit in. But it looks like a fantastic idea with the gyro system. That's what you need for safety in something enclosed on two wheels. That and mini-airbags. And the computer leaning the bike for you when you turn. But the tiny size of sensors and the things you can integrate these days, it ought to be possible and pretty nice.

Larry Olson
6th January, 2012 @ 06:36 pm PST

I love the idea, I'm not a motorcycle rider, but This idea makes me want to seriously consider owning one. I have to say, the style is on the feminine side, I'd like to see A lowrider slead version with bigger fatter wheels.

Gargamoth
6th January, 2012 @ 08:06 pm PST

If it had a proper ICE powerplant it could sell for half the price. EVs will still be in the minority 50 years from now.

William H Lanteigne
6th January, 2012 @ 11:02 pm PST

I still don't see ANY benefit of having 2 wheels over 3 for such a vehicle aside from the g-wiz factor. The added complexity of gyros and the fact that there is better braking and handling from 2 wheels up front would far outweigh any perceived benefit.

This is product nonsense in the same way that the Segway is product nonsense.

phydeaux
7th January, 2012 @ 07:55 pm PST

Eh, EVs are not entirely guilty from polluting the Earth anyways so why the excitement? Those raw materials for the motors and batteries need to be mined, transported, manufactured, trasported again and again, by using, guess what? Using petroleum based transportation.

The manufacturing processes are equally and in some cases more toxic and destructive than what goes into making an ICE based transport using unrenewable raw materials.

This demand and consumption will increase at an exponential rate and we will again faced wih another bleak reality and doomed future unless we change our excessive consumerism lifestyle drastically.

EVs are not the ultimate solution, far from it.

People should stop thinking driving an EV will stop polar bears from drowning from meltimg polar caps, orang utans and pandas from being squashed bulldozers and fishes and whales from choking in toxic waste chemicals and plastic soup. The processes that produce EVs do just that, pollutes the Earth thus everyone who buys EVs are as ecological guilty as people who buy ICEs.

In a few years or so there will be MASSIVE demand for these raw materials namely rare Earth, and man's unbounded greed and insatiable gluttonny will prevail once more in his never ending quest for Earth's destruction.

EVs should be treated as a transitional state of technology, nothing more.

SpaceBagels
7th January, 2012 @ 08:27 pm PST

Hey SpaceBagels: You really should pay more attention before you start spouting out stupid comments...First, the reason you haven't seen one except for cg is because they haven't finished the full-scale prototype yet, should be about 3 months. Everything to date is smaller scale, but functionally the same in theory. Second, if you actually WATCH the video, it shows legs deployed at about the 18 second mark. Perpetual motion is still at least 3 weeks off. Third, how many motorcycles do you see that have spare tires? Maybe you can hang one around your neck while u ride. Fourth, where are the crumple zones? The same place they are on any other motorcycle. Except this actually has some side impact protection, and will probably have the equivalent of a roll cage. AND secondary protection when you are driven into another object or the ground. Fifth, due to the fact that the gyroscopes can be manipulated to facilitate maneuvering, it will behave much better than a vehicle with fixed gyros, including the tires NOT sliding out from under you when you take a turn too hard or hit a slick patch. Sixth, how does NOT going down when impacted = death trap? Try getting hit from the side on a regular motorcycle. Logically, there will be a threshold where you'll get killed anyway, but how is this not better? Seventh, since production isn't scheduled for nearly two years, battery technology will have a chance to improve. It may not be where it should be, but we won't know until then, will we? I hope this helps.

Futureshock
7th January, 2012 @ 08:57 pm PST

@Futureshock

"Seventh, since production isn't scheduled for nearly two years, battery technology will have a chance to improve. It may not be where it should be, but we won't know until then, will we? I hope this helps. "

Isn't that what they ALWAYS say for years and years? Ever since EV1 made the news more than 10 years ago they said batteries will improve in a few years. Guess what? NOTHING CHANGED. Same thing as hydrogen fuel cell, just mere empty technological promises being delayed year after year.

Top physicist like Michio Kaku says chemical batteries are very inefficient in storing energy, even if we manage to improve it using nanotechnology the efficiency and energy density will not even match the energy density of dino fuel, not with the way and the rate of the increasing masses of gluttanious humanity consumes power.

There's not going to be a quantum leap in battery energy technology that will rival the energy density of dino fuel not in 5 years, not in 10 years, not even in a hundred years not ever because the laws of physics forbids it.

In about 10 years rare earth technology will take over petroleum industry and chemical battery industry will take over and monopolize because it's being ignorantly embraced by the tree and polar bear hugging hippies as 'Clean' and 'Green' which is a bunch of nonsense. There will likely be another 50 years of stiffling era of new better technology and wars over rare Earth so stop wasting time by repeating the mistakes of history before it's too late.

Humanity should stop wasting time screwing around and wasting time with this primitive and inefficient heavy bulky polluting and toxic technology and look into harnessing the power of the nuclear fission instead.



SpaceBagels
8th January, 2012 @ 02:28 am PST

@Futureshock

Hi,

Do you know nanotech batteries require immense power to produce? Much much more than conventional ones? And guess what, they require even a lot more massive amount of energe to recycle as scientists found out. Simple analogy are like plastic bottles, which requires a lot more energy and time to recycle.

And where does that massive energy supply come from? You guessed it. What left of the planet's fossil fuel.

There goes your 'improvement' in batteries. As with everything bound by the laws of physics, "There's no free lunch"

I hope I have not spoiled your Utopian vision of the future, just like how Popular Mechanics of the pipe smoking 50s retro future with happy smiling families and entirely impractical forms of transportation promised, and will not be 'future shocked' when faced with such a distopian abysmal future.

As history have proven time and time again. "We will choose to ignore until then, will we? "

SpaceBagels
8th January, 2012 @ 03:34 am PST

What a wonderful idea! You can replace each car with one of these! That way, instead of having a car with four people in, you can have four seperate vehicles with one person in it. Traffic will be dramatically...affected.

SpaceBagels
8th January, 2012 @ 05:24 am PST

Interesting concept.

I can just anticipate the comments when I

go to Starbucks on Friday night from the

other bike riders (posers).

I think not.

BombR76
8th January, 2012 @ 09:26 am PST

What is its price and when will it be available in the market? Does anyone have its tech specs?

Owais Siddiqui
8th January, 2012 @ 10:35 am PST

"Far too much trouble for two wheels. Just make it a three wheeler with two wheels up front like the cam am spyder. "

Clear or 2 in the back like that dutch car/vehicle, for got the name, oh yes, the carver, this one :

http://www.gizmag.com/go/4817/



Yves Trlt
8th January, 2012 @ 05:54 pm PST

This gyroscope thing having to always turn is scary, carver one a better idea, or even the twizy

Yves Trlt
8th January, 2012 @ 06:19 pm PST

re; Yves Trlt

The two extremely well balanced wheels spinning on premium bearings is not the fail source on this vehicle.

Slowburn
9th January, 2012 @ 02:48 am PST

Why two doors? It's only got one seat, so you only need entry from one side. Two doors and associated hardware adds complexity, weight, sealing problems. Other than that question, I like the overall shape - it's a marketable design, avoiding the signature ugliness that most hybrid and electric vehicles have.

SeekMocha
9th January, 2012 @ 08:49 am PST

wow thats gr 8...but will the gyros will be useful at high speeds ...??

/\/)aestro
9th January, 2012 @ 04:30 pm PST

re; /\/)aestro

The gyros have enough power to exceed the traction limit of the tires. you will slide before you tip.

Slowburn
9th January, 2012 @ 05:42 pm PST

Every motorbike I have ridden has two very large gyroscopes which help keep the bike upright - they are called wheels. Gyroscopic force depends upon mass and velocity and this can be controlled by a computer very easily to allow for turning. Would have thought this would be obvious in the current age of fly by wire planes.

Calson
10th January, 2012 @ 09:03 am PST

re; phydeaux

Only two thirds of the rolling friction.

Slowburn
10th January, 2012 @ 09:04 pm PST

I love this concept... and can't wait to see the product on the road.

Nina Pruitt
11th January, 2012 @ 08:50 am PST

All I can say to the many ignorant comments is to paraphrase a famous comedy quote from over a hundred years ago. Everything that can be invented has been invented. Nothing will improve in the future, right SpaceBagels? I suggest you take a couple of things into consideration. First, you don't know the future. Second, Gizmag is about things that are being worked on in the early stages. Third, look into LENR technology that is being commercialized for 2012-2013. It blows most of your energy arguments out of the water without violating the laws of Physics, which I doubt you are an authority on it in any case. Best to engage brain to avoid foot in mouth syndrome.

The C-1 is a great idea -- end of story. Now let's watch to see if it can become a great product. As always, the devil is on the details.

see3d
11th January, 2012 @ 09:39 am PST

I am a biker that is actually disabled from a bike crash. I also have experience working with gyro's and I do not buy the video. Unless they devised a way to adjust the axis point of the gyros simultaneously in motion , this bike will never corner like that. it is going to be a battle between centrifugal force and gravity, meanwhile the bike will want to stand up while cornering.

timfixesit
11th January, 2012 @ 09:52 am PST

This Electric vehicular looks amazing. Its design is awesome. No one can believe its a bike actually it looks like a car. I don't have any more words to express this bike.

Shaharef Ahmed
12th January, 2012 @ 11:41 am PST

I see red flags going up when a) the "next big thing" is being promoted and there isn't even a working prototype, and b) deposits are being solicited when there isn't even a working prototype. Aptera all over again? Wouldn't it be refreshing if these sorts of things were proven to WORK before the hypefest begins?

Frank Lee
25th January, 2012 @ 12:45 am PST

A vehicle along these lines is going to be the future of personal transportation. Like some others here, I favor 3 or 4 wheels, at least until the gyro technology can be tuned in real-world conditions. Maybe two extra wheels could retract 10 cm during straight-ahead driving, something like high-tech training wheels.

ralph.dratman
8th February, 2012 @ 02:48 pm PST

It would be so easy to eliminate the gyro completely by having a pair of stabilizer wheels automatically drop down at low speeds

PeterB
18th February, 2012 @ 05:35 pm PST

Russian count Schilovski started this idea in 1912 with his Gyrocar. The gyro didn't allow him to turn left. I drove both the Monotracer and the E-Tracer from Switzerland which is a paradigm shift in driving experience and fuel consumption. Peraves won the X-Prize by the way. Key advantages are that you basically have twice the comfort because roll-disturbance is lacking and half the roll resistance and half the frontal area. "Did you ever forget to put your feet down on your motor- or bicycle? You won't" was their answer to the most obvious question. Issue with gyros is that they are nasty things to control, just physically, and you really don't need them - indeed even want them - onboard once you are dynamically stable beyond 2 km/h. A lot of technology for stand-still mode then.

francm
12th April, 2012 @ 04:14 am PDT

If BMW does not jump on this fast, then Mercedes-Benz will. While it would be nice for Daniel Kim to get other funding from sources such as Zip Car, the automotive industry is smart enough to know this is not just another awkward project.

Hugo Schauer
11th June, 2012 @ 02:04 pm PDT

If you will watch the video, when the lady gets out of the vehicle, it clearly shows a kickstand, on the drivers side. When you stop, the gyroscope is still running, giving you time to lower the kick stand. I believe that the gyroscope runs only when the vehicle is slowing down to a stop. Cruzing down the road is fine without it. I believe that when you engage the brakes, the gyro is engaged. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT ONE!!!!!

Billy Heddins
23rd August, 2012 @ 06:35 pm PDT

I think a little common sense applies here and a few of you get it, first off, motorcycles are not very aerodynamic, most of the power, more then half goes to overcoming air resistance. It is not uncommon for a aerodynamic motorcycle to double the mileage and or range of a electric powered one. So even with the low capacity of today batteries, in the case of the C-1 with it aerodynamic body, it can go a lot farther on a lot less. Common sense tells us, these guys are real smart, smart enough not to have a gyro spinning while your shopping, yes it will have some type of stand to hold it up. I'm sure they are well into making this all work, the gyro's are to keep it upright at slow speeds and stopping and in the case of a impact to keep it upright, so I'm sure it will lean just like any other motorcycle does,. I love it, don't be surprised if this type of vehicle takes over the roadways, whether it's Lit Motor's , Honda, or all of the manufactures, at some point in time they will over come all the problems and you will see enclosed motorcycles all over the highways,and when you drive one, you won't be worried about what anybody thinks or says.

Thomas Lewis
6th October, 2012 @ 12:07 am PDT

No doubt, narrow-track vehicle with a smooth, shock-dissipating hull that protects from the elements and in accidents while decreasing air-drag at high speeds is the way to go..

Fitting regular motorbike in such a hull is obvious solution if it can stay vertical by itself at full stop. From three known solutions: tilting trike (carver one), retractable stabilizers (X-tracer) and gyro-based stabilizing, the third one is the worse. Here’s why:

1. Two ~10 kg gyros of 5000-7000 RPM turn into kinetic bombs of ~ 18 kJ each in case of getting loose due to an accident or bearings failure. 36 kJ equals ~25 rounds burst from M-16. To kill a man, 80J is enough, so gyros have energy to kill a battalion.

2. From available videos &specs I can guess that gyros take ~ 15-20 liters of space and put on ~20-30 kg of load that can be better used for extra batteries, or for the third wheel and tilting suspension, or for retractable stabilizers (both need much less sophisticated robotics, if any).

3. Gyros of this size and weight must be crazy expensive: a) to manufacture (low tolerance machined parts as in any high RPM device), b) to spin-up (it consumes ~3 kW for 6 sec to provide C-1 “untippability” with very doubtful purpose, see i.6), c) to efficiently maintain high RPM, reliable non-lubricated bearings &vacuum are needed (but to cool gyros you need opposite – ventilation), d) to control (precise, compact and powerful servo-mechanism is needed).

4. C-1 need absolutely reliable real time controller that realizes complicated algorithm for modes: a) stabilizing at short stops b) side collisions c) leaning in sharp cornering. Code with many condition operators and loops are very demanding to chip performance, let alone they are notoriously hard to debug.

5. To sense what gyros are, imagine a hard drive of desk top PC but a few times bigger and hundred times heavier with more complicated control. Mass produced HDs are priced at a few dozen dollars, so two gyros along will add many hundreds dollars to price of C-1 and just to keep C-1 from falling on red signal ?! I feel too stupid to get it.

6. Bikers can survive by slamming self down to slide under the obstacle or to avoid up-right [side] collision and consequent fly over handlebar but gyro-robotics won’t allow the trick unless it reads biker’s intention and disengages itself in an instance. I can hear bikers saying, “I’ll kick out your gyros stuff to make two boot-sized holes in the bottom of C-1 in order to put my feet on the road while waiting the green.”

May be Lit Motors has extraterrestrial technology and their gyro-staff is hundreds times lighter, cheaper, safer.. Good luck with this.

Mike Akulov
21st October, 2012 @ 05:54 pm PDT

People used to think that a person would be torn to bits at 100 mi. an hour.Now it is "how is it possible to make a turn without leaning?"It must be a scam because the company hasn't shown a video of their motorcycle making a turn.

Richard Wysham
3rd January, 2013 @ 09:50 am PST

Looking at some of the comments,some need to do a little reading.I can't vouch for the gyro technology controlling the lean of the bike and holding the bike upright at slow speeds and stopping,it may not work as seamlessly as it will have too,for buyer's to take the risk.But what I do know is the technology[enclosed motorcycle,tilters,narrow vehicles] is the holy grail of commuting.They can be made very safe,the aerodynamics add almost twice the distance on the same amount of fuel,battery capacity,they take up half the space,which will help improve traffic flow.I see a very narrow 4 wheeled tilter as the best solution right now,using weight shift and not controlling the amount of lean by means of steering.4 disc brakes,4 tires add to incredible stopping power,Using a little F1,NHRA and Nascar technology, safety will be very good.if not better.No vehicle can be made to protect you from every concievable type of accident,but if you will in your mind,picture taking a Toyota Corrolla or Chevy Cruz and taking a large section out of the center of the car,you now have a verylight narrow aerodynamic vehicle.Is it now a deathtrap,because you took out a large section and now have tandem seating for two,not at all.I think its more about profit margins and oil,right now,the basic wait and see like electric cars.Personally we should be embracing the technology,it puts a little fun back into driving,takes away a lot of energy cost and if we all commuted in LA or NY traffic,it would be like taking half of the vehicles off the road.Picture commuting at 60 mph in LA or NY traffic instead of 20 mph.Its a win win and yes you can keep your SUV for the family outing's.

Thomas Lewis
13th October, 2013 @ 09:31 am PDT

I think a 3 or 4 wheel bike would be a better design. That would probably eliminate the need for the heavy, high tech, and possibly dangerous gyros. Yamaha and Carver have the right idea, or the Elio. Also the side-view mirrors should be bigger, or they could offer optional rear-view cameras. And they should check out the applicability of energyreturnwheel.com.

John Carraway
12th February, 2014 @ 09:44 pm PST
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 28,266 articles