Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Can Ride a Tron Cycle. Really.

The original.  Cool as the Batmobile, no?

LIT Motors C-1

A recent visitor to Shanghai noted that 80% of the vehicular traffic was electric bikes and scooters.  I've been casually researching this mode of transport, and, distressingly, despite one each high-quality American and  French entry into the field, pretty much all you see for sale locally or online is Chinese-made.  Do you think they're going to flood the Western markets soon after building out their manufacturing base at home?  Do you think the sun will probably rise tomorrow?
I'd pay no more than $40 for one, since it is going to last about two months until something fails and the thing is pushed to the back of the garage.  Meanwhile, the well-designed American and French brands are not available.
Let's say you too have been thinking about avoiding some of the average $8000/year cost of operating a gasoline car and want something that is more of a car substitute and less of a battle between you and the elements.
Just this month Mr. Danny Kim of LIT Motors announced the launch of his C-1 untippable enclosed motorcycle in San Francisco -- and I wish him all the breaks he can get.  At low speeds and in chancy situations, two flywheels gyroscopically stabilize his vehicle, removing most of the dangers of two-wheeled travel; an enclosure offers bad-weather comfort as well as air conditioning, airbags and power windows, things which people generally require these days.  With a 200 mile per charge range, there's no comparison with the tiny 25+ mile range of electric scooters.  And it will cost you about $1 worth of electricity to go those 200 miles --not $4 a gallon for liquefied ancient sunlight.  And it is a motorcycle, not a bike:  it does 0 to 60 in six seconds (electric motors have full torque at 0 rpm).
There is a need, a few of us think, for a one-person commuter vehicle (a solo driver piloting an Escalade or Range Rover to work just seems a little wasteful, don't you think?), and this may be it.  Cost?  Around $24,000 initially (2014 production start), declining to a projected $12,500 by 2018.
The amazing Mr. Kim is an automatic transmission expert, has studied architecture, and attended Reed College, UC Berkeley and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Finally, you can be ecologically responsible, economically prudent, and futuristically bad-ass all at the same time!


  1. The Triumph dealer is now next door to BJ's Wharehouse (our downmarket version of Costco), and when I visited an old Bonneville out front, she said, No way. Step away from the deathmobile!