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Lit Motors C-1 strikes a balance between car and bike

Can’t decide between a car or bike? Soon you could have the best of both worlds thanks to the C-1 concept — a vehicle that combines the agility of a motorcycle with the protection and safety of a car.

Is the Lit Motors C-1 a bike or a car? it might just be both.
Is the Lit Motors C-1 a bike or a car? it might just be both.

It might resemble an egg perched precariously on two wheels, but the C-1 promises to be very stable. Its driver doesn’t even need to stick his or her leg out of the door at a standstill, because this car-bike-mashup uses a pair of powerful gyroscopes that keep this it firmly upright at all times.

The C-1 exploits the same science that keeps a child’s spinning top from falling over. The heavier the spinning top, and the faster it’s spun, the harder it is to tip over. According to the company, the C-1’s internal gyros spin like there’s no tomorrow, generating 1,300lbft of torque – or more than twice the twist action developed by a Lamborghini Aventador on full song.

Computers and sensors constantly monitor the angle of the C-1, allowing the vehicle to lean smoothly into bends while adjusting the gyros to compensate for any sudden changes — anything from a gust of wind to being T-boned at a junction. The C-1 is designed to stay upright even in an accident, though we wouldn’t want to be the ones that test that theory.

Propulsion is all-electric. Lit Motors will supply a battery pack with a 10kWh capacity, which should be good for 220 miles. The company is also mulling a second version of the C-1, aimed at developing countries, which will have an 8kWh battery and a 150-mile range. 

Inside, the C-1 resembles a very narrow car, with just one seat and conventional car controls including pedals and a steering wheel. It’ll also pack airbags and aircon.

With bodywork barely wider than your shoulders, the C-1 could provide an ideal means to zip from A to B in congested city centres. It should enjoy the same parking and bus lane concessions as an ordinary, rain-soaked motorbikes, too.

Lit Motors has been working on the concept for the past eight years, and hopes to bring its two-wheeled car to market in the next few years, priced at around $16,000 (£10,093).


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