Cartoons in the 1960's and 70's promised us flying cars and dutiful robotic (if somewhat smartass) servants. At least that's how I remember the Jetsons. By now half of us would be living deep in the oceans, (remember the cartoon Sea Lab) and all my friends thought it would be cool to hang with Fat Albert in the ghetto.
Fast forward to the 21st century and it's obvious the ghetto wasn't all that cool, Sea Lab lasted about 13 weeks and we're still decades away from affordable consumer "flying" cars.
Right now the C-1, built in San Francisco is a just a "prototype." But the company is taking $250 deposits on the god ugly machine that it says will retail sometime in 2013-2014 around $24K and if demand is strong enough, the price will drop to around $16K.
Different versions of the C-1 will be available for different markets. The model aimed at First World countries will have an 8-10 kilowatt-hour battery pack, while a model intended for developing nations will be rated at about 4-6 kWh. The vehicle will incorporate electric hub motors in both wheels, at least one of those motors being a high-performance Remy HVH unit. The top speed should be at least 120 mph (193 km/h), with driving range for the higher-end model expected to sit at around 150 to 220 miles (241 to 354 km) per charge, depending on the exact size of the battery.
One way this motorcycle imposter can reach those speeds with such high mileage estimates is by utilizing something called KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology. This thing stays upright with self-balancing Thrustcycle SRT, and (for lack of a better description) recycles kinetic power that would otherwise be lost in the braking process to assist in powering the flywheels. Along with providing stability, those wheels will also deliver power back to the drivetrain when the vehicle is accelerating, giving the battery pack a break. ( more after the poll)
How the self balancing mechanism would work is shown in this video. Part of me wants to be excited about this technology, and another part (a much larger part) is screaming, "don't take my wobbly, easy to fall over, dangerous as hell but more fun than sex, motorcycle away from me. Call me skeptical, but if this succeeds, the day will come when the insurance industry and the medical industry (read lobby) will figure out a way to make motorcycles (as exist today) illegal to operate on the road. (more photos after the video)