Planet Rider is a hybrid vehicle whose drivetrain consists of a human being, ultra-efficient electric hub motors, a revolutionary new alternator and small batteries.
The Planet Rider is something like an electric car, but is half the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and weighs 200lbs. You open the transparent door in front of the crush-proof steel-and-polycarbonate chassis, and easily slide through an open space wider and higher than the open door of a full-size sedan. Then you grab the vertical hand grips with the twist accelerator and brake lever similar to those of a motorcycle.
No engine noise, no emissions. Just the sound of silence from the 3 electric hub motors. Your 30 mile commute is no sweat for the two Lithium based batteries under your seat. They can be removed with one click, are lighter than two gallons of milk and recharge at any wall socket. One refill takes only 15 minutes, providing the vehicle with another 50 miles of range. Economically, it is about 26 times more expensive to operate a sedan for one year than to use a Planet Rider, $7,800 to operate the gas guzzler vs $300 for this electric vehicle.
The Planet Rider has some of the characteristics of a motor scooter, so it is classified as a motorcycle in the high-speed freeway territory, It travels at speeds of up to 65 mph without any problems, but when it gets off the fast lanes onto the city’s slower urban trails and commuter lanes it demonstrates its true talents and abilities.
The vehicle is only 34" wide and has uncompromised maneuverability. At lower speeds the eye level of the rider is higher than a typical car, making it easier to see and be seen by surrounding vehicles. You are able to thread between cars and weave in and out of traffic, transit easily from bike path to city street, safely pass bikers and pedestrians, and move accurately in the tightest of parking spaces.
Your Planet Rider follows the movements of your hands as you steer with the vertical hand grips: You can speed up, slow down, stop and turn with simple and natural gestures. At slow speed, the vehicle is at an almost upright position. But as you go faster, the rear swing actuator lowers the rear of the vehicle and your seating position lowers and reclines. As it does, the center of gravity lowers, thus improving stability and reducing aerodynamic drag. At the same time the motion split mechanism prevents you from experiencing any sideways acceleration.
There is also an exercise bike built into the Rider: Its pedals are always within reach on the floor level, and as you do your workout, you turn a generator that charges the batteries. The vehicle may be pedaled at a standstill or at 65 miles per hour with equal ease.
The Planet Rider, one might say, is the first successful attempt to provide both the advantages of a car and of an electric bike in one vehicle.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Andy Vaughan
Type of entry: team
Software used for this entry:
primarily solidworks & JMAG
Patent status: patented