Image Credit Greely
Chinese car maker Geely proposes a new kind of spare: an electric trike that rolls out of the back of the car. It is hard to think of why any able-bodied person would want such a thing, although Dvice admires it because "One of the problems with driving in a big city, is that once you've found a nice parking spot, you don't want to give it up. That means riding public transport or burning a lot of shoe leather to actually get to the places you want to go." Horrors! Walking! Public Transit!
Kit Eaton at Fast Company likes it too, imagining that commuters might use it.
The McCar scooter could be the solution to urban traffic problems, especially for longer-distance commuters who insist on driving into the city. It's most ideal use-case would be to drive from a rural or suburban home under all-electric power, parking in a freely-available space on the edge of a city, and have the driver weaving his way through more traditional traffic to an inner-city office on the trike where the scooter wouldn't eat up too much parking space in the office garage.
And where would it go in the city? at 18 MPH it is too slow for the road, can't go on the sidewalk and don't you dare put it in the bike lanes. It has all the problems of the Segway in the city.
I suspect that the real market for these things is probably people who are too lazy to walk. As was noted in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago, more and more perfectly healthy people are using scooters to get around.
The power scooter is an increasingly ubiquitous sight, with an estimated 1.2 million in use nationwide. But while the $1,000-plus vehicles have been hailed as a boon for the infirm and the elderly, they are now finding a new constituency: able-bodied people who simply don't feel like walking. In addition to theme parks like Dollywood and Minnesota's giant Mall of America, the scooters are popping up everywhere from Las Vegas casinos to grocery stores.
With the Geely McCar, one need never walk again.
Image Credit Mini
Another company with a spare in the trunk is BMW's Mini, which has just released a folding bike "designed as a short-range shuttlecraft for when city-centre parking is at a premium." It is built by Dohan and adds 24 pounds of weight to the car, which will mean a hit on mileage. But at least there is a place for bikes in the city.
Parking in a city core is expensive, and a bike is faster anyways. Some cities like London have really expensive congestion charges. Unlike the Greely McCar, this makes some sense. More at AutoBlog
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