The Type II is a small leaning vehicle that combines the maneuverability of a motorcycle with the safety and stability of a car. It employs an innovative direct-link leaning mechanism that allows it to shift its center of gravity into a turn. This allows the vehicle to have a narrow track for efficiency in a straight away while maintaining stability by widening its track in turns without complicated servos or actuators.
Problem and Existing Technology
Urban populations are increasing and cities are running out of room to accommodate the increasing number of commuters. We must use the existing infrastructure more efficiently by designing vehicles highly specialized for use and environment. Most commuters travel alone, so designing a steamlined vehicle for this purpose can meet the needs of many millions of commuters.
Light economy cars on the market today fall short because they are still more heavy and large than necessary for an individual commuter, and motorcycles, although efficient, are less stable or safe, and lose traction easily in bad weather. The Type II is thin and streamlined to maximize efficiency through savings in wind drag and weight. Skinny cars typically lack stability, but in the Type II, leaning provides stability better than standard cars while maintaining a feet forward, protective driving experience.
In a typical car, computers and hydraulics are used to turn the vehicle, adding bulk, cost and complexity. The Type II uses a simple, efficient leaning system that allows it to shift its center of gravity and turn using a direct mechanical linkage that is cheaper, more responsive and more reliable than hydraulic, pneumatic, or computer controlled systems. Such a system can lend itself to a family of vehicles, from open motorcycle-like riders to more car-like driving.
The increased efficiency of the leaning system allows the Type II to be light and drive similar to a motorcycle. This makes commuting quicker and more fun. It is much safer than a motorbike, cheaper than an economy car and more fun that a sports car. The Type II takes up less space than a compact car: you can park four in the same parking space as a sedan. It can run using either electric or internal combustion engines, and provides the most energy efficient commute on the market.
The Type II is exciting enough to have a broad appeal, from car and motorcycle enthusiasts, commuters, to eco-minded individuals. The Type II is a gateway product for new bikers, maintains an exciting driving experience for aging motorcyclists, and provides both weekend joy-riding and weekday commuting. Urban commuters will be drawn to it for its ease of maneuverability in tight spaces, increased options for parking and the possibility that commuting could be fun.
See videos of the driving scale prototype here: