The next big thing in hybrid vehicles may not come from the likes of Toyota or General Motors. Instead, it may come from Charles Samuel Greenwood. Greenwood has been working on a human-powered vehicle concept for decades, and all of his hard work is coming together in the form of the HumanCar Imagine PS. The vehicle seats four and generates power through a system of hand cranks. Yes, hand cranks.
One might think that a hand-cranked vehicle would be marketable only as a neighborhood vehicle with a limited top speed. However, the HumanCar has surprising potential — a top speed of 30 mph going uphill and 60 mph on a flat surface. All of this can be achieved via human power and nothing else.
However, Greenwood addresses the times when owners may not have three friends available to help power the vehicle. The HumanCar Imagine PS (power station) is equipped with electric plug-in capabilities so that a single person operating a hand crank can power the vehicle. That makes this a genuine human-electric hybrid. Forget the advanced gasoline-electric hybrids of today; tomorrow’s hybrid is a true muscle car — one that can be powered by human muscle alone.
This zero-emissions vehicle is not only better for the environment; it improves the driver’s health thanks to the workout one gets while driving it. The human health aspect was part of Greenwood’s decision to build and ultimately refine this concept.
“It was 1968. Traffic was at a complete standstill, again, on a busy boulevard in what is now known as the Silicon Valley. Sitting within their cars were many commuters who were overweight and out of shape, breathing unhealthy exhaust fumes. As a young engineer working at my first job at a research and development laboratory for a major corporation, it seemed intuitively that there must be a better way to move people around than this.” Source: HumanCar (PDF)
And with that, the concept for the HumanCar Imagine PS was born. The vehicle is street legal as a low mass vehicle and is vehicle-to-grid (V2G) compatible. Greenwood plans to bring the vehicle to market next year but is already taking reservations on his website. A $50 fully refundable, no-questions-asked reservation fee will put you on the list for a $15,500 HumanCar Imagine PS.