Is the world ready for a self balancing electric motorcycle that costs “under $20,000?” The folks at ThrustCycle in Honolulu think so. The company debuted the latest version of its GyroCycle electric motorcycle with two gyroscopes mounted beneath its bodywork late last year. The first prototype appeared in 2011. “The GyroCycle is an energy efficient vehicle with rock solid stability,” says company President Clyde Igarashi. The technology that makes the GyroCycle possible has broad implications for safety and sustainability, he claims.
Gyroscopes are used in other transportation applications. Large ships use them to stabilize themselves in storms at sea, for instance. They are also used in inertial guidance systems for submarines and rockets. But ThrustCycle says this is the first time they have been used to stabilize a motorcycle. BMW is also experimenting with the concept for use in its Motorrad Vision Next 100 prototype.
With the gyros spooled up, the bike will remain upright and stable both while underway and while standing still. Self-balancing gives the rider more control and greatly increases safety, the company says. BMW engineers claim its self balancing system will benefit beginning riders because the motorcycle will not fall over. Experienced riders will enjoy the benefits that come from improved agility while driving.
“These are the concepts that Thrustcycle has been promoting for awhile now,” said Igarashi,“and we are eager to demonstrate them with our GyroCycle. We’re further encouraged by the announcement that Lingyun Intelligent Technology, based in Beijing, is also entering the gyroscopic vehicle technology race. We see the entrance of large competitors as vindication of the potential in technologies that we’ve developed for years.”
ThrustCycle sees a large and growing market for electric motorcycles worldwide. A report by QY Research says about 38 million electric motorcycles and scooters were sold worldwide in 2015 with a total value of $13 billion. (Note: None of them cost anywhere near $20,000.) According to an analysis by Navigant Research, that figure is expected to grow as battery costs decrease.
Source: Korea Times