Yesterday GM unveiled a trio of people pods in Shanghai. Designed to combat urban congestion, these tiny two-wheeled electric vehicles replace some of what conventional car provides with no emissions. It is cool, though a bit awkward, but any idea that rethinks the car is all right by me.
But even though I generally prefer American cars, and I’m no fan of French cars especially… I really like these little Peugeot electric pod vehicles. Called the 1001, this little pod doesn’t have wheels, but spheres, driven by eight different electric motors. It can even spin in place 360 degrees, easily navigating the congested alleys and roadways of future cities.
This doesn’t appear to be an “official” Peugeot design as much as one artist’s idea of how people might get around in the future. I’m a big science-fiction fan, and I often idle my time away wondering what the future will look like. Most of the time it is a pretty bleak picture (I’m a pessimist). But I have hope for the future too. And right now, I am hoping these Peugeot pods catch on. First off, it eliminates one of the worst features of the car; the wheel. If you’ve ever seen the Dyson vacuum commercials, which replaces the wheels with a sphere, you know what I mean when I say wheels are rather limited. And parallel parking sucks. But the 1001 would be able to roll in any direction it wants because it is on spheres.
Just imagine a future city without taxis… just thousands of these little pods (possibly automated?) zipping in and out of parking spots and traffic. However, there are obvious limitations to this transportation device, like luggage, or — as Inhabitat points out — potholes. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in an accident in one either. But as people become increasingly disjointed from their cars, something this simple has the potential to catch on. I love cars, and I always will. But for the people who just need to get from Point A to Point B… maybe there is something to this whole person pod business.