First ‘human’ car to be fuelled by passenger exercise is unveiled
AN American company has shown off a prototype version of a car that is powered by its own passengers.
The HumanCar Imagine PS is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that can also be charged by the passengers.
This is done with four rowing-machine style handles allowing passengers to combine refuelling the car with an upper-body workout.
With four on board, it can run on human power alone, but even with just one driver it offers the back-up of a mains charged battery.
Company scientist Charles Greenwood says the idea came to him in 1968, when he was stuck in a traffic jam and saw that many of his fellow drivers were overweight and sitting still, breathing exhaust fumes.
Despite the physical exertion of powering the car, the company says it doesn't require huge amounts of strength or fitness and can even be driven by oldage pensioners.
One of the first groups that tested it included someone in their 80s. The company says that it is no slouch either.
HumanCar insists the vehicle is capable of up to 100kmh on the flat, while it can climb hills at 50kmh.
It isn't a sparse electric box on wheels though – it also boasts technology that is usually associated with high-price executive saloons; including a touchscreen GPS system, iPod connectivity and Bluetooth.
Most surprisingly, the company not only plans to put this into production (claiming it has around 100 pre-orders) but it also says it will not be that expensive.
It will cost $15,500 (€12,200) and future models should be road legal.