Posts Tagged ‘human car’

HumanCar Powered by Human Energy, Not Ethanol

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

fm4humancar.jpg

Charley and Chuck Greenwood, a father-son combo, think they know the secret to the future of cars: rowing.

And they founded their company HumanCar to prove that human energy, not biofuels, is the gasoline of the future. Their Imagine_PS car seats up to four in a low-slung chassis; the passengers get to help row the lightweight car.

Think of it as an ergonomic, efficient and sneaker-saving Flintstone’s car for an oil-free future. The front two ‘drivers’ get to steer, which is done with a talented and coordinated lean.

“Body steering comes from the hips,” CEO Chuck said. “It’s just like a properly performed ski turn.”

But revolutionizing steering is not the point of these Oregon entrepreneurs. “It’s about thinking about days per life versus miles per gallon,” CEO Chuck Greenwood said.

When powered by four people rowing, the car will go about as fast as the ‘drivers’ would on bicycles, on average.

But, that’s only if they were driving in a flat city like Chicago, where the car is currently on display for two weeks during the Wired NextFest future-tech expo in Millennium Park.

For hillier locales or higher speeds, there’s electric assist motors and regenerative brakes that funnel the vehicle’s momentum back into the batteries.

The Greenwoods plan to sell Imagine_PS as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, a state-by-state designation that frees it from requirements such as air bags and in some states, even the need for a licensed driver or insurance.

But to qualify, the top speed will have to capped at around 20 mph — though the Greenwoods say the chassis can easily handle sports car speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Hear that, hot rodders?

Though not yet for sale, advanced models of the Imagine_PS for corporate campuses will be available soon for $35,000 to $50,000, while the consumer model is slated to be be priced at $15,500.

Source: Wired