The ideal way to get around a city is on a motorcycle, but it can also be dangerous. Meet the C-1: a two-wheeled electric vehicle with a sleek, fully enclosed chassis that provides more safety than a motorcycle.
The C-1 is the flagship vehicle of Lit Motors, which was founded by Daniel Kim in 2010. It has room for a driver and one passenger and is powered by a hub motor in each wheel. It also uses gyroscopic technology to stay upright even when stationary. The C-1 takes about four to six hours to fully charge and has a range of up to 200 miles per charge at a cruising speed of 65 mph.
Kim was inspired to found Lit Motors while working as a Land Rover mechanic. As he was rebuilding the drivetrain of an SUV, the chasse fell on him, nearly crushing him. “I stiff-armed the chasse and it shot me out,” Kim recalls. He says the experience made him question his involvement in the motor industry--and the role of large, inefficient utility vehicles. “Why was I building this?” he remembers thinking.
Ultimately, Kim decided that the auto market was ripe for an alternative. In fact, he describes the C-1 and his company's cargo scooter, both of which are still in development, as the “alternatives to the alternative.” Lit isn’t targeting only the owners of large gas-powered vehicles. The company hopes to hook bicyclists and motorcyclists, too. “You don’t need a helmet because you’re driving in your helmet," Kim says.
As of March, Lit had received nearly 800 pre-orders for the C-1, which costs $24,000. The company plans to roll out its first models by the end of 2014. Moving forward, Kim describes the company’s marketing strategy as a form of consumer courtship. “The gyroscopes initiate the romance,” he says, “but all the value that this vehicle has makes it easier to fall in love.”