San Francisco, Calif.--I’m at a green home conference called West Coast Green and two of the more startling exhibits are for urban transportation products.
Lit Scooters has concocted an all-electric two-wheeled scooter for city driving, particularly for cities in developing nations. The cargo space in the middle can hold a 22-inch TV, so you can even shop with it.
The added bonus comes in the fold-ability. Wait 'til the end of the video to see Scott Lananna, mechanical design engineer at Lit, do that trick. It’s pretty amusing. When folded, the scooter takes up about 50 percent less space. The Lit is powered by a battery pack in the seat tube and a hub motor on the rear wheel. (Editor's Note: I had a handheld so sometimes the sound is not so hot.)
A number of companies -- Zero Motorcycles, Mission Motors, Brammo -- have touted electric and/or efficient scooters and motorcycles in recent years. Some of the advantages include a lower price, a smaller battery pack, and easier testing. The challenge is that scooters represent a smaller market than cars. However, scooters and bikes remain hugely popular in places like Beijing.
Down the hall, Tim Miller showed off a prototype from Green Lite Motors. It is a three-wheeled plug-in hybrid that has about a 100-mile range. You might drive the first 25 miles or so on batteries and after that it functions like a regular hybrid.
The entire body of the vehicle leans into turns. A three-wheeled vehicle called the Carver from the Netherlands does the same thing, but it has two wheels in back and one in the front. Green Lite puts two wheels in front for better handling.
The company is aiming for a $25,000 price tag. We didn’t get to drive it, but Jon Bonanno of Sustainable Power Assets did. He said it was a hoot.
Miller explains more about the car in the video. This is only a prototype. The commercial version will have a shell over it -- you won’t be exposed to the elements. It has a top speed of 85 miles per hour.
The conference continues through Saturday at Fort Mason in San Francisco.