The C-1 is a working prototype of a fully-enclosed electric motorcycle designed by Lit Motors, an automotive company based in the Bay Area of California. The most innovative feature of the C-1 is its patented self-balancing system that makes it almost as stable as a four-wheeled vehicle. The C-1 combines all the benefits of motorcycles (fuel/energy efficiency, maneuverability, compactness) and cars (weather protection). The C-1 will accelerate 0 to 60mph in 6-8 seconds; its battery will get 150m per charge, and its top speed will be about 120 mph.
The prototype is expected to be completed in 3 months. Production will start 2013 and the price of a unit will be around $16,000. Different versions of the vehicle will be available for different markets.
The main person behind C-1 is Lit Motors’ CEO, Daniel Kim, an automotive designer, and entrepreneur. He had the idea for C-1 after traveling around the world for a year, seeing the transportation challenges and innovations in developing nations. “We’re creating a safe motorcycle, and that’s never been done in the way that we’re doing it, where it’s also incredibly efficient” said Kim. “We’re trying to open up safety to a huge market of 200 million motorcyclists, daily in the world. We have a huge market, and I think we could have a lot of impact.”
C-1 has attracted the attention of several big names including Robin Chase, the co-founder of Zipcar, the largest car-sharing service. The MIT Media Lab provides assistance in the design development.
It’s difficult to predict how well this will sell here in the States. I guess the Americans who would buy this are scooter and moped riders. The C-1 looks suitable for the densely populated urban areas of developing nations where many rely on motorcycles as a main mode of transportation. But the price seems a little high—a basic Smart car costs about $10.000 and a basic gas-powered moped can be found at $600-$1000.