The new HumanCar Imagine_PS™ is a plug-in electric vehicle that also provides optionally for added power generation by the driver and any passengers. Below are some more details, in question-and-answer form.
Q: Can it be powered by one person or do you always have to have 4 people to generate power?
A: Yes it can be powered by one to four people. One can even operate it in full electric mode as well.
Q: Do you have to be super-strong to make it work or can a regular reasonably fit person power it?
A: It's about the same energy as your bicycle. A reasonably fit person will do very well with the HumanCar.
Q: What kind of licensing does it require?
A: The HumanCar Imagine_PS is street legal for off-highway use. Think of it as a perfect neighborhood commuter.
Q: Can you also plug it in to charge the battery?
A: Yes! The Imagine_PS is a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)
Q: Will it be street-legal in my state?
A: Yes, the new NEV designation will also make large tax credits available as well as new lane space for these new cars.
Q: Will it have a top so it can be used in the winter/rain?
A: Yes, we will offer a coupe version as well as have an optional convertible rag-top for the Imagine_PS.
Q: When can I buy one?
A: Right now, by placing an order via humancar.com. (A $99 dollar down payment will reserve one.)
A note from the inventor on specifics: "HumanCars uses recycled plastics and other exciting materials (hemp fiber for example, Kenaf, bamboo, etc). The output of the FM-4 is measured in watts at the drive wheels. Power output has been measured as high as 1,800 watts for a strong 4-person team. Energy output depends upon how long they can maintain this level of output, typically only for short bursts. The continuous output can be half or less of the peak output.
"For vehicle use the peak output determines the drive train engineering requirements, as well as the vehicle performance envelope – think "passing power". Human generation is appropriate for low-draw highly-efficient devices such as communication equipment and task lighting. It is not an answer for our typical massive use of electrical power/energy.
"We're hot rod builders, dirt bike riders, bicycling enthusiasts, and we love all kind of sports, with or without machines, with or without electronics. We love healthy people. You and your family will power yourselves down to the store and back.
"We are here to race and the opponent is dependency. It's on."
HumanCar Inc. is privately funded and independent research/industrial design firm.
RE: 60 MPH? A human powered car will go only as fast as its occupants make it go. However, with a small amount of additional power, it may be possible for many people to achieve truly useful cruising speeds. This has been the core of many years of research at HumanCar, Inc. The FM-4 was engineered to test the limits of four-person teams using a rowing-like interface along with a push-back power stroke. All of the major muscle groups can be utilized.
Down hill testing of the FM-4 verified the vehicle stability of this design, traveling around corners at speeds in excess of 60 MPH. A tricycle configuration is inherently unstable under such conditions. That is why we do not "play cutesy" and offer three-wheeled electric contraptions that sneak through the licensing laws as "motorcycles". Indeed, our down hill testing program has verified the absolute necessity of proper suspension, steering, chassis and brake design. We are lucky enough to have predicted a number of key changes in the specialty vehicle market.
Low Mass Vehicles is a term originated by us in a 1996 white paper of the same title. One hundred years or more ago such an idea was well accepted, but larger and larger cars and trucks made it difficult for very elegant small vehicles to have market acceptance. Those days have changed. HumanCar, Inc. is now ready to produce a neighborhood electric vehicle that integrates the FM-4 biometric interface. The inevitable High Speed/Low Mass vehicles that will follow are already in the prototype lab. And yes, they go 60 MPH.
Welcome aboard to the future.