Building a Better 'Car'

Dec 21st, 2012 | By Nicole Rogers

Lit Motors is a scrappy San Francisco startup with a basic but ambitious plan. They want to radically change American transportation to be safer and more fuel-efficient using technology that’s been around for over a century – the gyroscope.

Lit Motors’ gyroscopically stabilized C-1 “combines the efficiency and freedom of a motorcycle with the safety and convenience of a car,” according to the company’s website. Officially classified as a motorcycle, the gyroscope technology that Lit Motors uses ensures the C-1 will not fall over like one. In fact, they say it’s virtually untippable, even when broadsided in an accident. (Unbelievable, right? Watch the video below.) Plus, the C-1 offers the body protection of a car.

A one-person vehicle like the C-1 serves an important purpose. Most Americans drive to work, and most of them (over 70%) drive alone. Most cars seat at least four, with the gas mileage to match. By contrast, the C-1 is fully electric and can go 200 miles on a single charge. CEO Daniel Kim says the C-1 can get a driver to and from work for less than 50 cents a day.

According to an article in the Atlantic Monthly, the vehicle’s price is currently estimated around $20,000 for early adopters, “but that cost will go down significantly–to around $16,000–once the product gains sufficient market share to enable bulk manufacturing. The C-1 is slated for initial release in May 2014, and more than 250 people have already put down a deposit to buy one as soon as it’s available.”

Perhaps in the near future, you will be able to save your family’s larger vehicle for weekends and camping trips, and glide through rush hour traffic on weekdays with the ease of a motorcycle and the safety of a car.

At Sustainable America, we’re excited about the role of entrepreneurship in the transportation sector. Companies like Lit Motors drive the kind of innovation that can create jobs and help the United States become less dependent on oil.

Watch the video below for more info on Lit Motors.


Tagged: fuel efficiency cars, range of electric cars, fuel efficiency, improving gas mileage, electric car range, clean air car, fuel, Science & Tech, Innovation

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