Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Dispatch riders and couriers know the fastest way to weave through heavy traffic is on a motorbike.
But for those jams even two wheels can't navigate, a new solution has been developed.
Just like a Transformer, the Uno III Streetbike - or U3 - can convert itself with the push of a button from a conventional motorbike to unicycle-style machine.
The electric-powered machine balances on two parallel rear wheels, the front retracting between them to allow it to manoeuvre through spaces so tight it can be driven into a building - and even fit in the lift.
The new vehicle was developed from an initial idea by Benjamin Gulak, a young American inventor.
Four years ago, while on a business trip to Asia with his father, the then 17-year-old conceived of it as a solution to China's smog-filled megacities.
As Benjamin witnessed the incredible pollution in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, much of it produced by smoky two-stroke scooters and motorcycles, he realised that electrics would make ideal substitutes.
When he returned home to the U.S., he made it his mission to design the ultimate electric vehicle - and to somehow make it cool.
Based on Benjamin's original Uno I prototype, built for a year 12 science project in 2008, the Uno III has evolved to manage the transformation from nimble city runabout to stable highway tourer.
Now the remarkable vehicle is being produced by his own motor design company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, called BPG Motors.
Small enough to fit in indoors, but powerful enough to tackle the road, the makers hope the cutting edge $7,500 ride will revolutionise the morning commute.