You need to see the Lit Motors C-1 in action. It defies gravity. Sitting on two wheels like a bicycle, this commuter car is held up, like the Segway, by a pair of gyroscopes. Lit dramatizes how well it stays upright by dragging it sideways with a truck.
The C-1 is licensed as a motorcycle, and corners like one. (Photo: Lit Motors)
Lit Motors founder Danny Kim says he’s getting closer to putting the 800-pound C-1 (which can carry a driver and either some luggage or an adult passenger) into production for $24,000 (in basic form). Licensed as a motorcycle (which means wearing a helmet in a few states), the C-1 has a pair of hub motors and a 10-kilowatt-hour lithium battery pack. Range is projected at 170 to 200 miles, and it’s capable of 100 mph, but might be speed-governed in the “Eco” version.
A spawn of motorcycles, but you don't get wet in the rain. (Photo: Lit Motors)
The latest news is Lit’s EP4 “naked” prototype, which you can see put through its paces in the video below. Kim calls it “our first complete engineering platform,” which means it’s nearing a vehicle that could be manufactured. “We’ve done the heavy lifting,” he said. “We’re working on optimization, so it’s ready for any road conditions a driver might encounter, and setting up the production line.”
There’s also a new body. “The old one was Scandinavian, but the new one is definitely sexy and beautiful and Italian,” said Kim. He designed it with help from, among others, Yves Behar (the inventive designer behind the GE WattStation and the “$100 Laptop”). There’s a sneak peak at the new look in the video, and the body should be made public sometime next month.
The naked C-1 undergoes testing at Laguna Seca racetrack. (Photo: Lit Motors)
Lit, based in northern California, has 1,000 orders for the C-1, but while that will sell out the first batch, it’s hardly enough to get into production. Behar has helped put together a funding round, but the company isn’t over the hump yet. He’s in a position not far from that of Elio Motors, which wants to build an 80-mpg, $6,800 three-wheeler. Paul Elio’s approach is to try and get $185 million from a federal loan program for advanced vehicles, but Kim’s sights are set elsewhere.
Perhaps, like me, you wondered what happens to the C-1 when the battery runs down. Does it fall over? "The gyroscope takes time to spin down," Kim said. "But then the landing gear deploys."
If you’re excited by what you see in this video, you can make reservation 1001: