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Incredible plan for world’s first gravity-defying hybrid motorbike that never flips over with ultra-safe ‘magical’ tech

Incredible plan for world’s first gravity-defying hybrid motorbike that never flips over with ultra-safe ‘magical’ tech

A SELF-BALANCING motorbike that defies gravity using cutting-edge technology is ready to redefine city travel.

Equipped with a driver’s seat and a steering wheel, the futuristic mode of transport will merge the thrill of a motorbike with the safety and comfort of a car.

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The two wheel invention is the result of ‘cutting a car in half’Credit: Lit Motors
The vehicle can tilt into corners with a lean angle of up to 45 degrees

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The vehicle can tilt into corners with a lean angle of up to 45 degreesCredit: Lit Motors
Lit Motors AEV founder Daniel Kim stands with his two-person vehicle

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Lit Motors AEV founder Daniel Kim stands with his two-person vehicleCredit: Linkedin

Designed by San Francisco-based company Lit Motors, the AEV (auto-balancing electric vehicle) or C-1 will be able to pop back up after being knocked into thanks to its stabilising technology.

Refuelling is also rapid and efficient, with a full charge achievable in just five minutes at a standard 110V Tesla supercharger – supporting about 170 miles of range at an economical $1.25 per charge.

The AEV is the brainchild of company CEO Daniel Kim.

His inspiration for the vehicle came more than 20 years ago after he was nearly crushed by a chassis while assembling a Land Rover Defender.

That near-death experience led him to decide that cars needed “chopping in half” – and so the two-seater car-motorcycle hybrid was born.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: “I had the idea in 2003 while building a Land Rover Defender. I had a field accident that made me think about why are we driving around alone in these 4,000 to 5,000lb vehicles.

“Most people, approximately 80 per cent in California and the US, are driving alone, so it just made me think, ‘why don’t we cut the car in half?’

“We could have a fully enclosed motorcycle that has all the safety comforts and features of a car but with less parts, less complexity, same safety and better efficiency.

“Why isn’t this product on the market?”

Fast forward 21 years and the Lit Motors team are closing in on the finished article.

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The half-car-half-motorcycle uses a gyroscope – a spinning disc used for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity – to remain upright at all times.

The “magical” technology, as Kim describes it, also means riders will be able to remain fully inside the vehicle even when they are at a standstill.

“When you get to a stop sign, you’ve normally got to put your feet down, either with landing gear or like little kick stands or training wheels,” he said.

“But that’s not a really exciting or cool factor for the product.

“So I thought, why not put gyro’s in it and balance it? That’s kind of magical and fun and cool – and obviously possible.

“So I just kind of went with that concept of making a gyro-stabilised, two-wheel car.

“That was the idea and I’ve been pursuing it ever since.”

It will stay upright in all the important aspects of safety, making sure you survive, making sure you don’t get thrown off the bike, and making sure you don’t do a rollover

Daniel Kim

The AEV has the capacity to tilt into corners with a lean angle of up to 45 degrees and can be driven in rain, sleet or snow.

According to Kim, its versatility is what really “separates” it from a traditional motorbike.

He said: “When you hit ice, snow or gravel, this is what separates us from a traditional motorcycle – you’ll be able to stay upright – if you’re going within a reasonable speed at a reasonable angle.

“About 90 per cent of all the situations where you would find a motorcycle being compromised driving on ice, we will be able to overcome.”

Equipped with front and side airbags, a seatbelt and a reinforced cell, safety is also paramount with the AEV.

Described as “very robust”, so much so that you can even “hang off” it, the vehicle has been designed to ensure the driver survives.

KH 12 06 LIT MOTORS AEV v2 GRAPHIC 1

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Unlike a normal motorbike, the driver will be fully enclosed

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Unlike a normal motorbike, the driver will be fully enclosedCredit: Lit Motors
The AEV will be perfect for commuters

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The AEV will be perfect for commutersCredit: Lit Motors
The self-balancing motorcycle size comparison with a human

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The self-balancing motorcycle size comparison with a humanCredit: Lit Motors
This image shows how two people would fit inside the enclosed vehicle

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This image shows how two people would fit inside the enclosed vehicleCredit: Lit Motors

“You can push on it, run into it with your shoulder if you want, you can ride into it with a car and it will stay upright for the majority of the time at least,” Kim said.

“It will stay upright in all the important aspects of safety, making sure you survive, making sure you don’t get thrown off the bike, and making sure you don’t do a rollover.”

Kim even goes as far as saying that being knocked into by an elephant wouldn’t immediately send the bike to the floor.

He remains realistic about the bike’s capabilities, but acknowledges that it is not an indestructible force.

“If you had a bus that hit it and just stopped, the vehicle would actually roll a little bit then push back,” Kim explained.

“But then with that pushing back, your tires would end up slipping based on the force.

“You could technically push back on it if you get hit by an elephant or hit by a bus, but it would be short-lived and then eventually you would fall over.”

Regardless, this new-age invention is being engineered by some of the best roboticists “in the world”.

And customers can now reserve one of the machines for $250 (£196).

In return for their service, interested buyers will be put in the queue 6-12 months before production starts.

There is also the option of making a $1,000 investment in Lit Motors’ crowd funding site, where they are currently on $1.2million of their $11million target, to get into the queue for pre-order.

When you hit ice, snow or gravel, this is what separates us from a traditional motorcycle – you’ll be able to stay upright

Daniel Kim

“That’s the best bang for your buck, I think,” Kim said.

“We’re trying to raise $11m, eventually, to build our next beta, so participants can hopefully drive it in the next year or two.”

But the motors expert also revealed that the AEV isn’t quite yet the finished article, despite it being available to pre-order.

“There’s definitely work to be done,” he said.

“We have to finalise the product’s interior and there’s a lot of work to do with the exterior based on aerodynamics for basic efficiency.

“We’re excited. We’re in a good place.”

Kim and his team will be developing the vehicle to meet European NCAR homologation standards, as they are safer and more comprehensive than US car safety standards.

With almost 15 per cent of pre-orders coming from Germany, with “quite a few” also from the UK, the implications of this could be huge for the company.

“Our intention is to create a global brand because everyone deserves to have fun and enjoy a sexy, beautiful and amazing breakthrough technology product in transportation,” Kim said.

“I think this is going to inspire a new generation of drivers and culture around the vehicle.”

He added: “It’s going to be international.”

Our intention is to create a global brand… everyone deserves to have fun and enjoy a sexy, beautiful and amazing breakthrough technology product in transportation

Daniel Kim

When the pods are finally able to purchase, it will cost customers approximately $32,000 (£24,896) to get their hands on one.

Kim insists the expensive price tag will drop once sales pick up, however.

“Obviously, it’s going to appeal to some premium people but there’s quite a bit of performance and safety wrapped into this,” he said.

The plan now is to raise more money through the company’s funding campaign, with hopes of achieving $5million by September, to grow ever close to building the AEV beta.

“Hypothetically, that’s when you’d be able to drive it into production,” Kim said.

Read more on the Scottish Sun

He added: “Definitely in six months, we’re going to hopefully have something.

“We’re going to go straight into a hardcore build, which is what the team has been waiting to go into over the last year.


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KSR

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