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Transportation AI

Lit Motors, Danny Kim, and Changing How Americans Drive 144

Posted by timothy
from the soma-isn't-just-a-ritual-drink dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "In early March, Lit Motors founder Danny Kim hit the road to meet investors. The Portland native needed to keep the momentum growing for his small firm, which builds the two-wheeled C-1. His modest lab, located in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood, could accommodate another 12 employees—but he needed the money to fund them, and to build a manufacturing facility that could turn his prototype ideas into a reality. Like Elon Musk and other manufacturing savants, Kim is someone who enjoys the challenge of building things—whether it's eyeglasses, chairs, or motor vehicles from scratch. He's spent the past five years re-thinking modern transportation, and using those insights to design prototypes of two-wheeled, motor-driven vehicles that can self-balance with a dancer's grace, thanks to an integrated software platform and a patented gyroscopic system. In a wide-ranging conversation with Slashdot, Kim discussed his plans for manufacturing the C-1, as well as the challenges in convincing consumers to try out a new kind of vehicle. "Seventy-two percent of commuters drive alone, so it just made sense to cut the car in half," he said, explaining the decision to go with two wheels instead of four. 'You have to think about this two-wheeled car as a robot because of its stability. It purely uses our AI/stability algorithm so it can balance and you don't have to. We had to develop our own firmware for our own dynamic system. It is code heavy.'"
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Lit Motors, Danny Kim, and Changing How Americans Drive

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just because people usually ride alone doesn't mean that they always ride alone. These one person vehicles become useless if you ever have passengers. And they're not cheap enough to justify having a second one just lying around if you ever need a passenger.

    • Elio (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Immerman (2627577) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:50AM (#46515725)

      Indeed. I recently spotted the Elio, which seems to have real potential if they can pull it off. A spacious three-wheeler with automotive safety features, a large back seat, 84mpg, a top speed over 100mph, and a price tag well under the cheapest mainstream cars. Doesn't look nearly as fun to drive as a C1 or Carver, but better than a normal car, and at a price point that could give it a place as something other than an expensive toy. Definitely gonna take a test drive at least, should it make it to market.
      http://www.eliomotors.com/ [eliomotors.com]
      http://fox40.com/2013/09/17/be... [fox40.com]

      • There is also the Chinese made Wildfire WF650-C [google.com] 3-wheeler. An older couple near me has one of these. Takes a bit to get up to speed but 56MPG beats most four wheeled vehicles.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          There's a lot of vehicles like that, but having a single wheel up front is a serious stability issue in turns, and you can find no shortage of videos of them rolling when drivers get overly aggressive. Also, and this is just me personally - if I'm driving some sort of lightweight wierdo vehicle interesting looks and decent acceleration and handling are a major plus - after all I'm going to have to merge with highway traffic, and inevitably dodge some idiot in an SUV that thinks they own the road - I've had

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          A classic Golf TDI got the same kind of mileage with no compromises but a louder engine. I'm sure that three wheeler is a lot cheaper, but no thanks.

      • A spacious three-wheeler with automotive safety features, a large back seat, 84mpg, a top speed over 100mph,

        Either that mpg rating is grossly optimistic or I predict 0-60 in ...around...6 minutes or so.

        I can't think of a single large bike that get over 35mpg, and while I'm sure the aerodynamics help, the extra weight most certainly doesn't.

        • I can't think of a single large bike that get over 35mpg, and while I'm sure the aerodynamics help, the extra weight most certainly doesn't.

          I have two that do, and both are cruisers with no aerodynamics.

        • That's because motorcycles have almost universally shit MPG for no goddamned reason. (Or more precisely, because the vast majority of them are built for power and revving to OVER 9000!!! instead of fuel economy.)

          If a first-generation Honda Insight from 14 years ago can get 70 MPG average (and it can, and then some), then I have no trouble believing this thing that's newer and smaller can do worse (the page cites 84 MPG highway, but only 49 MPG city)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's all on their website. A couple of quotes from their specs page.

          An inline, 3 cylinder, .9 liter, 55 HP, fuel-injected, SOHC gas-powered, liquid-cooled, automotive engine.

          Top speed is in excess of 100 MPH, and the 0-60 speed is under 9.6 seconds

          Fear not, with its city rate of 49 MPG

          So it's 84mpg highway/49mpg city, and certainly not a fast 0-60 time but not unreasonable for a vehicle focused on fuel economy.

    • You can carry a passenger if you chose...
      view the third slide (center button)
      http://litmotors.com/c1/ [litmotors.com]The video of it getting t-boned is pretty net looking
      http://litmotors.com/wp-content/themes/starkers-lm0/video/c1.mp4 [litmotors.com]
      • by pnutjam (523990)
        wow, can you imagine trying to get out of that passenger seat in a crash or if it went into water...
    • by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @02:20PM (#46518661) Homepage
      I actually like this comment, because it brings up one of the major idiosyncrasies of how we buy cars. Specifically, we buy cars that meet all of our needs, as opposed to buying cars that meet our most frequent needs, and we can only really afford one vehicle per driver.

      Consider my household growing up (I know, I know, plural of anecdote is not data, but this is just an example). Growing up we always had two vehicles - one minivan, and one smaller sedan. This was mostly fine - my dad took the car to work, and my mom had the van for driving the kids around, doing groceries, etc... The sedan got much more use, and the van mostly stayed in the driveway, except when it needed to be used for something a sedan can't handle. But when my mom went back to work, the van had to be used for the daily commute. And this eats gas like crazy. You shouldn't be driving a minivan with only one person in it, but because we couldn't afford a third car (a sedan to get my mom to and from work) and because we still needed the minivan for groceries & family trips, a huge amount of gas gets wasted hauling one person around.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Oddly, the only minivan which gets decent fucking mileage is the one that should get the worst; the 2000+ Chevy Astro with the 4.3 liter Vortec V6, which just means the same V6 they've been producing since time immemorial but with better-flowing heads and maybe reverse-flow cooling. The one with highway gears (3.23:1) gets no shit 26+ MPG on the freeway at 70 or 75 while carrying a bunch of people and/or stuff. And you can pass people with it, too. I have no idea why this is true, but it is. It doesn't make

      • by mjwx (966435)

        I actually like this comment, because it brings up one of the major idiosyncrasies of how we buy cars. Specifically, we buy cars that meet all of our needs, as opposed to buying cars that meet our most frequent needs, and we can only really afford one vehicle per driver.

        Consider my household growing up (I know, I know, plural of anecdote is not data, but this is just an example). Growing up we always had two vehicles - one minivan, and one smaller sedan. This was mostly fine - my dad took the car to work, and my mom had the van for driving the kids around, doing groceries, etc... The sedan got much more use, and the van mostly stayed in the driveway, except when it needed to be used for something a sedan can't handle. But when my mom went back to work, the van had to be used for the daily commute. And this eats gas like crazy. You shouldn't be driving a minivan with only one person in it, but because we couldn't afford a third car (a sedan to get my mom to and from work) and because we still needed the minivan for groceries & family trips, a huge amount of gas gets wasted hauling one person around.

        This,

        A lot of people have two cars, even if they don't have a family. They have a daily car that is used for going to work, doing the shopping and so forth. Then they have a weekend car that's used for driving you enjoy. I.E. you have Hatch or Sedan for it's practicality, then you have a sports car for the enjoyment, a Ferrari F430 isn't something you really want to be clocking up 20,000 KM a year on.

    • It's a two seater. There is a second seat behind the driver for a passenger.

    • If you need to take passengers somewhere, rent a car for the day.

      I used to live with no car, and I could rent a small hatchback for $15/day on the weekends, with unlimited distance allowed.

      Now I've got kids and I'm in a city with worse public transit, so it'd be a lot harder to live without a car. But it's not a large car, and if we need more capacity then I borrow a trailer or rent a truck/minivan.

    • For families who want two cars -- one commute car one family car -- it could make a lot of sense. Plus it's good for antisocial people like me.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:16AM (#46515463) Homepage Journal

    I wish that phrase didn't set off my "marketing bullshit" alarms(as is clearly appropriate in this case) because a culture of long-distance driving commutes is leading to serious long-term problems with respect to suburban sprawl and blight. Retreating residential neighborhoods a little further down the interstate every time an area falls into disrepair(and no, it's not just white flight) is causing huge swaths of places where no one will ever want to live.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by NotDrWho (3543773)

      I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of two-wheeled, motor driven vehicles. What would one of these strange motor-cycles even LOOK like??? Truly, that's a "new kind of vehicle" indeed!

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        I think he's stolen my idea. I have three of these motor-driven cycles. One working model (with 120,000 miles on the clock), one with some minor electrical problems that I'm ironing out (22,000 miles before the problems started), and one that has minimal electronics that I'm in the process of building.

        The bastard!

        [John]

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
      Reminds me of the Segway hype.
    • by Immerman (2627577)

      I do agree that this has the potential to change driving - most of the benefits of a motorcycle with few of the drawbacks. However I don't see it affecting sprawl or blight in least. If anything it may exacerbate the problem by making the drive slightly more enjoyable and less expensive. What it could change, is reducing the fuel consumption and amount of road necessary for a given traffic density.

    • a culture of long-distance driving commutes is leading to serious long-term problems with respect to suburban sprawl and blight. Retreating residential neighborhoods a little further down the interstate every time an area falls into disrepair

      People don't move "a little further down the interstate" because of disrepair - they usually do so because of crowding and cost.

      There are lots of cities that have healthy city cores AND healthy suburbs that extend very far out.

      Yes most cities also have a "bad" area but

  • These will be way too easy to tip into canals. It's like a Smart only even less heavy and more weird-looking.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:25AM (#46515531)
      I disagree, I think it looks nice. Certainly nicer than a Smart Car.

      As a motorcyclist (including daily commuting), an enclosed motorcycle doesn't seem at all absurd to me. It addresses the main disadvantages that prevent most people from riding motorcycles - higher safety (if it is adequately constructed, obviously) and protection from the elements.

      • It definitely looks nice, but I think they went too far. Protection from the elements and increased efficiency due to reduced air drag are wonderful things we should have equipped street bikes with long time ago. However, it's too heavy (360kg) and too expensive ($24,000), meaning it's more akin to a thin smart car than to a bubble bike. I'd bet a gas-powered 100kg moped can beat the C-1's city commute energy efficiency at a $1,500 price point, especially if we bring manufacturing into the equation. When we

        • by timeOday (582209)
          I think that depends on the market they are targeting. In the US, a 100KG moped will never sell, because it cannot have enough protection to make it reasonably safe. The per-mile death rate on motorcycles is about 35 times that of cars. That is out of the question to the vast majority of people who can afford something safer.

          Really it would be interesting to see how light you could make a reasonably safe vehicle, e.g. using a titanium frame with a carbon-fiber shell, then working backwards to make it

          • Well, a Harley also doesn't offer enough protection to make it reasonably safe, and I think they sell pretty well in the US. Bikes sell about 500.000 units a year in there, that's a pretty ok number, roughly one in every 600 people seem to buy one each year (is my math correct? It seems too many people). There are lots of drivers, like me, ready to sacrifice safety for efficiency. I'm not saying it's a smart choice, but I think it's a choice made enough times as to create a hefty market.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I ride a motorcycle to work every day too.

        Being a two wheeled vehicle it has several safety disadvantages, the design will always be inherently more dangerous regardless of how it is constructed simply because you have less than 1/2 the amount of contact patch with teh road (this also makes it more fuel efficient). And then the fact that it will have very low production numbers initially (along with increased risk of catastophic failures), would keep me away for a while. Oh that and I'd never get one becaus

  • by EvilSS (557649) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:21AM (#46515505)
    Haven't we heard that before? About another self-balancing 2-wheel vehicle?
    • It's the rallying cry of every vehicular product that tries to maintain the status quo by being small and cheap. Our problems are not one that can be solved by a marketing campaign.

    • by xplosiv (129880)

      Do your research before thinking it's another self-balancing vehicle. That said, I'm not aware of any other vehicle which balances itself, even when not moving, or can handle a side impact crash, without tipping over. Please don't use E-Tracer as an example, because they are 2 different vehicles.

      Check out the videos floating around the internet, this vehicle really does have a chance to make a difference, or check out LitMotorsForums.com if you want to have a real discussion [litmotorsforums.com].

      • by EvilSS (557649)

        Do your research before thinking it's another self-balancing vehicle.

        So it's not a self-balancing two wheel vehicle? because...

        two-wheeled, motor-driven vehicles that can self-balance with a dancer's grace

        Either way I take it I talk to you if I'm interested in buying one?

        • by xplosiv (129880)

          Do your research before thinking it's another self-balancing vehicle.

          So it's not a self-balancing two wheel vehicle? because...

          two-wheeled, motor-driven vehicles that can self-balance with a dancer's grace

          Either way I take it I talk to you if I'm interested in buying one?

          Wow, way to put words in my mouth ;) I'm using using your own words, but I did explain how it is self balancing, so I guess you are just nitpicking at this point (miss the old /. days where people actually tried to understand/learn about new tech)

          If you are interested, go to litmotors.com ;) I'm just someone who actually did the research, believes in EVs, and put down a deposit on a C-1.

          Now, if you have any real/serious questions, I can try to help answer them.

  • by PSUSkier (3517721) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:35AM (#46515595)
    ...for our own dynamic system. It is code heavy." Maybe I've been working around software too long, but the more code needed to run a single function generally equates to more software defects. In a balancing and stability control system, I'd hate to be the one to find it.
  • Why two wheels? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wdomburg (141264) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:36AM (#46515603)

    What specific value is there in using two wheels and a "code heavy" stability algorithm instead of using more vehicles. For example, Elio motors is aiming for 84mpg with a three wheel car [phys.org] that uses "no special technology" and is expected to cost $6800.

    • by Ly4 (2353328)

      Well, it's narrower - that'll help in many urban areas, and will make finding parking a bit easier. A two-wheel car is also a little less likely to take out pedestrians with one of those protruding front wheels.
      But those advantages might be outweighed by other disadvantages - as you've noted, cost and complexity are concerns, and the actual performance of the balancing algorithms and such is still an unknown.

      • by Wdomburg (141264)

        Yes, narrower at ~ 67" vs 40". But roadways and most parking is built to accommodate cars, which are wider than both. I suppose you could potentially double up along side traditional motorcycles, though.

        I'm not sure I see any particular risk to pedestrians. They shouldn't be in traffic in the first place, for starters.

        • by Ly4 (2353328)

          They shouldn't be in traffic in the first place, for starters.

          True, but then again, automobiles shouldn't be driving into crosswalks when I've got the light, but that happened to me today - in fact, during the time since I wrote that last comment.

          Today's incident wasn't a big deal, because I was watching the driver, and I could see she was looking only at oncoming traffic from her left, while I was on her right, trying to cross in front of her turn. So I waited, and resisted the temptation to slap the side

    • by xplosiv (129880)

      The C-1 is an electric vehicle, so it's much quieter and nicer to drive if it's anything like other electric vehicles, not to mention, it looks really nice. The C-1 balances itself, making it more difficult to flip the thing. As for being code heavy, try to find out how much software goes into a 'regular' vehicle, I doubt the C-1 will be more complex.

      The Elio looks like a GM EV1 chopped in half, and the interior looks like standard dated interior as well. Elio's price is definitely very attractive, but

      • by Smivs (1197859)

        The C-1 is an electric vehicle

        Nope, it runs on petrol (er, gas :P ) [citroen.co.uk]

        • by xplosiv (129880)

          That's a C1, not a C-1 ;) I do agree the name can be confusing, as far as I know, this is just a 'project' name, and Lit Motors plans on giving it a real name when they get closer to releasing the vehicle.

          • by Smivs (1197859)
            Ha, let's hope so, as I suspect Citroen have a bigger legal fund. :) (They're both horrid little things anyway - where's the V8?)
      • by Wdomburg (141264)

        The point was not to contrast specific vehicles, but the basic design. There have been a number of other EV microvehicles produced or designed, including a number of three-wheeled variants like the ZAP Alias, Toyota i-Ride, Aptera 2, and Green Vehicles Tirac.

    • by Wdomburg (141264)

      Er, using more WHEELS.

    • because we want special technology!

  • Failure modes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:40AM (#46515629) Homepage Journal
    I prefer a vehicle that doesn't fall over when there is a code failure or the battery dies.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I prefer a vehicle that doesn't fall over when there is a code failure or the battery dies.

      Vehicles with three wheels are bad enough when there is a tire/wheel failure. Vehicles with two wheels have long been proven to be much worse even when the vehicles are basically dynamically stable when moving down the road under their own power. Now we're going to add dynamic instability to the mix as well? What can possibly go wrong besides everything?

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:41AM (#46515637)
    The key problem with such an elegant vehicle is that it fails the "Gives better than it got" crash test. SUVs and pickup trucks are popular because people perceive that they are driving a tank and will fare better against the various pop-cans out there. Quite simply if you are in a BMW X5 and have a head on with a prius then you may very well limp away with the prius crew ending up in body bags. With this perception then a vehicle like this will not get much of an audience beyond a few hipsters.

    But at some point when driverless cars dominate (and ideally own) the roads then you could potentially safely drive a car made from non-tempered glass. Once this has sunk into car culture then people will wisely conclude that you want to commute (and park) in the least amount of vehicle required to keep you comfortable and get you to your destination in haste.

    But while the roads are still filled with morons behind the wheels of multi-tonne homicide factories then any vehicle of this nature will be regarded by the vast majority as DIY coffins.
    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      "SUVs and pickup trucks are popular because people perceive that they are driving a tank and will fare better against the various pop-cans out there"

      Only two kinds of people drive pickups:
      - Legit users who use them for actual hauling or towing (minority)
      - Manly men* who smoke cigars and wear sunglasses while crossing their arms with a scowl for every photo (like those cool dudes on american chopper). Bonus for adding: lift kits, truck nuts, bigger lift kits, rims, even bigger lift kits, monster truck tires

      • I would love to hear your opinion on those people who have no technical reason for driving the double wheeled pickup trucks. Ideally the noisy diesel ones.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      The key problem with such an elegant vehicle is that it fails the "Gives better than it got" crash test. SUVs and pickup trucks are popular because people perceive that they are driving a tank and will fare better against the various pop-cans out there. Quite simply if you are in a BMW X5 and have a head on with a prius then you may very well limp away with the prius crew ending up in body bags. With this perception then a vehicle like this will not get much of an audience beyond a few hipsters.

      Which is sad because it's incorrect. If you're in a BMW X5 and you have a head on with a Prius you're more likely to roll than the Prius as rolling causes more head and neck injuries and it's the head and neck injuries that are the big killer. So in a low speed crash, the Prius' low centre of gravity means lateral movement does not turn into a roll, where as the high centre of gravity in the X5 means it will. Sure the Prius will look worse for wear and the X5 will look less damaged, but the occupants in the

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      So is there any real reason it can't have a real roll cage, that would survive being mashed by a truck and improve the occupant's chances??

      I do find it a bit amusing that we're essentially reinventing the go-cart in the name of fuel economy.

  • I've watched a bunch of videos online of this vehicle. I've seen it go in a straight line. Is there any video of it driving around a curve while traveling at a decent speed?

    Motorcycles lean into a turn, lowering their center of gravity and maximizing traction/grip with the road. My guess (in the absence of seeing evidence otherwise) is that they've programmed this vehicle to stay bolt upright and just slide around a lot. Maybe it would be popular with drifters in Tokyo.
    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Can't offer a link, but I did spot almost such a video, and it seemed to be leaning (pulling out of a parking lot, not highway speeds, so not super obvious). If you've got computer control of the balance it would seem pretty silly *not* to lean when turning - performance is much improved, and the driving experience made more exciting.

      The exciting part is when the balancing system goes out of alignment and leans you over at 45* while driving in a straight line.

    • The FAQ on their website says that the vehicle leans into turns.
  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:43AM (#46515647)
    It is an absolute, unmitigated mistake to attempt to market this thing in the US. To get it to work, you'd need to convince each state's DMV to not classify it as a motorcycle, the license for which is more difficult and expensive to get, and testing for which would be unnecessarily dangerous for the C-1's target market. Unfortunately, this is an absolute impossibility; even if you can break through a bureaucracy's natural tendency towards collecting more fees by having more rules to enforce, the venture will be lobbied to death by dealerships that don't want to try to sell the thing. It's going to look like what's happening to Tesla, only much, much easier for the douchebags.
    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Why not classify it as a motorcycle? That actually eliminates most of the stringent safety requirements for cars (and I'm sure they could volunteer for testing anyway for safety ratings, especially if they greased the right palms) It does require a special license, but frankly I suspect the primary target market, at least initially, is people who already have a motorcycle, but want something safer and more weatherproof. And for car drivers there's plenty of classes that will get you trained on the basic

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        Why not an intermediate license, or class it as a motorcycle but allow it to be driven with an ordinary car license? I know some places have scooter licenses, so it's not like it hasn't been done.

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          You think building an efficient vehicle is difficult and expensive? Try getting a law changed in time to enable your business plan.

          I agree though that going forward such a thing is probably a good idea, for the three-wheelers at least. If this thing handles a lot like a motorcycle though, then it's probably a good idea to have the appropriate license. A more pressing concern to my mind would be changing helmet laws, so that helmets are not required when in a vehicle with a roll cage and seat belts, regar

    • While MC written exams in the US are more stringent, most states have relaxed driving test rules for three-wheeled motorcycles. It is conceivable that these gyro bikes could be grouped in the same category since they have the same self-stabilization as three wheels and require less skill in low speed maneuvering.

  • Brazil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:45AM (#46515665)

    I am reminded of the scene from the movie Brazil, where the protagonist is drving this tiny little one-person vehicle on the freeway, surrounded by huge trucks on all sides.

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @09:48AM (#46515699)

    The easiest way to change how they drive is to change the structure of the roads. The amount of fuel and tarmac America wastes by having stop junctions, and light controlled intersections everywhere is enormous.

    • The easiest way to solve traffic problems is to reduce traffic. The US (and plenty of other large countries) should focus on giving people opportunity to live close to where they work, to where their kids go to school. Building more roads, making them more efficient and/or offering public transportation only postpone the problem when you consider population growth, if those measures are all you take.

    • Define "easy". Last I checked, it requires a lot of public funding for road restructuring projects, whereas vehicles are sold on the open market to individuals.

      Not exactly disagreeing with your point, though... there are many MANY examples of terrible traffic patterns in my town alone.

    • by FridayBob (619244)

      The easiest way to change how they drive is to change the structure of the roads. The amount of fuel and tarmac America wastes by having stop junctions, and light controlled intersections everywhere is enormous.

      That may be true, but it's also a much more expensive approach that requires more space (not always available). Plus, all those extra viaducts and tarmac would also need to be maintained, while the State and Federal governments already do a pretty poor job at maintaining the existing infrastructure. Of course, they could always decide to raise taxes in order to pay for it all, but that would be unpatriotic...

  • by RandCraw (1047302) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @10:17AM (#46515927)

    Lit has to convince drivers (not bikers) that the C1 is worth the premium over a bike. But you could pour million$ into ads to promote that difference, or get a dozen road test reviews in the major car/bike mags, and *still* not get the word out.

    OR... You could feature the C1 in a movie, maybe sci fi or better yet, a movie about Makers. Those visuals would go a long way, especially footage of the C1 swooping through some esses -- "Where no bike has gone before".

    Maybe the C1 could be one of Tony Stark's ubertech toys in the next Iron Man flick?

    The company *is* located in LA, not 10 miles from Tinseltown...

  • As someone who's developed a lot of code containing bugs not found 'til long after it's been used, this scares the shit out of me.
  • Forces who don't give a rat's ass about cool tech or changing how Americans drive are giving a collective middle finger to Tesla. This guy had better study how things with Tesla are unfolding very carefully because he's next.

  • The driver in this picture looks as tense and cramped as if he were sandwiched on a high-speed expressway between two triple length truck trailers. I'm six foot tall and getting in and out of this low-rider doesn't promise to be any great joy either.

    I need an all-weather commuter car for upstate New York, not a $24K scooter designed for the photo-op in San Francisco,

  • Go Danny, go! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FridayBob (619244) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @11:25AM (#46516735) Homepage

    As opposed to the seemingly numerous SUV fans here, I'm apparently one of the exceptions who actually believes in this product. I heard about the C-1 in December 2012 and made my initial deposit for one only about a month later.

    I love everything about this idea. If successful, it will be the cheapest plug-in electric road vehicle on the market, it will have a range second only to a Tesla and it will have the fastest charging time of all due to its small battery. The latter, along with its speed and acceleration, is made possible by its low weight, and that's largely thanks to the fact that it has only two wheels. Mileage? The C-1 will get 200 miles on a 10 KWh battery, so think about that the next time you fill'er up. In the US that's about $1.25 for a full change, or 0.625 cents a mile. And yes, it'll always be more dangerous to drive than a car, but certainly safer than any motorcycle.

    Okay, you can tell from my homepage link that I'm based in the Netherlands, where cars are smaller on average than in the US, where lane splitting is legal (below a certain speed) and where gasoline prices are higher than anywhere else in the world. I also happen to have a motorcycle driver's license. But as much as I hate the fossil fuel industry (global warming, the Iraq war) and wish I could stop buying gasoline, until late 2012 there wasn't an electric vehicle available that I considered worth buying; cars like the Nissan Leaf aren't exactly cheap and don't have enough range, while the Tesla Model S is just too expensive. The Lit C-1 has both of those bases covered. And like a sports car the C-1 may not be very practical (although more so than a motorcycle), but considering what it offers in return I'm willing to put up with that.

  • People may "commute" alone, but the primary reason for a car purchase is not the commute. We'd all be in smart cars and fiats if all that mattered was getting to work efficiently and staying out of the rain. I think they need to think a bit more about why people (ok, specifically americans) buy cars.

    Maybe it's only 20% of the time I need cargo space, passenger space or the ability to mount a child's car seat. The reality is, it's that 20% of the time (moving kids around, weekend trips, runs to the hardwa

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