Humancar: Ready for Prime Time?
When we last looked at the Humancar, Collin noted "we aren't convinced it's the future of transportation, but it's a pretty cool application of technology and a dang interesting concept."
Now it is back, and going on sale this Earth Day for $ 15,000. It has more trademarks than you can shake a lawyer at, and is now the Imagine™ LMV HumanCar® with BodySteer™ chassis and SyncGuideway™ compatibility, an exoskeletal safety cage chassis, dual electric motors, variable human power input. "The Imagine™ LMV will rock the world."
PSFK tells us "The HumanCar started life as a flash of inspiration in the mind of Charles Samuel Greenwood, an engineer and drag racer in the late sixties. The project has been passed down a generation to Charles’ son Chuck....His passion has made the HumanCar a reality and he clearly believes the machine has more to offer then simple transportation; test drivers regularly come back with their friends the following day, desperate for another ride. By all accounts the act of moving the vehicle together is a powerfully unifying and life affirming activity."
The brochure says: A simple yet robust control system is utilized in the basic model. Conventional mini-contactors connect both motors in parallel for acceleration. Alternatively, they are reconnected in series when the brake lever is actuated. This creates a much higher output voltage that is temporarily stored in a small bank of ultracapacitors, and then re-regulated down nominal storage battery voltage.
"The high end state-of-the-art system uses a pair of 3 phase AC frameless motors along with a special controller adapted from machine tool industry, and 200 VDC NiMH batteries (or Lithium Ion if functional and available). This system achieves a much higher total efficiency, but at a correspondingly much higher price.
So what is the point? PSFK suggests that "The bicycle remains a triumph of human ingenuity and a supremely efficient way of moving from a to b. However, there are drawbacks for the cyclist, you are alone and vulnerable on your bike and when it rains… you get wet! The HumanCar changes all that by offering communal pulling power and a roof."
We suggest that this might be offset by the need to put together a car pool every time you want to go anywhere, or that you cannot go where a bike can go or park anywhere. But it does look like fun. ::Humancar via ::PSFK