A start up in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood may soon be rolling out what it calls the future of two-wheeled transportation. It’s called the Lit Motors C1 and Daniel Kim, the company’s founder, hopes it will be the next killer app in electric powered urban commuting.
“So, basically, this is a fully enclosed, self-balancing motorcycle. It has 220 miles per charge, 0mph to 60mph in 6 seconds.”
What makes the vehicle special is not so much what’s under the hood, but what’s under the driver’s seat. “Yeah, so this is our gyro system. Each of these flywheels is around 40 pounds.”
The gyros spin at roughly 7000rpm and, when all goes well, they keep the motorcycle upright—whether at a dead stop or in the event of a collision. It’s the same technology used to stabilize satellites and the Hubble Telescope.
This is really the core technology of the future. And Mr. Kim thinks that it will appeal to urban drivers
“This isn’t going to replace, like, the SUV or replace the family sedan or the station wagon. This is really just for commuters here in the United States and in Europe. In India and China, we say this could be a huge market because two wheelers rule the road there.
The start-up, which joins fellow bay area company Tesla Motors, is a hardware rather than software producer, has attracted just under a million dollars in investment.
“It’s a bit unprecedented. You know, we do everything—all our hardware development—is actually done, the machine milling, the machine metal forming, it’s all done here in our lab.”
But the road to success is rarely smooth. The prototype is still bulky at times. But the company insists that it will begin delivery in 2014. “It’s gonna be coming out pretty soon so it should be pretty….we already built one.”
Early models will cost $24,000. Lit says it plans to mass-produce the motorcycles in the U.S. with an eventual price tag of $14,000.