A Motorcyle-Car Hybrid Wants to Be Urban Transit's Next Big Thing

Lit Motors' "rolling smartphone" will hit showrooms in 2014.

In the effort to revolutionize modern transportation, there are those who put their eggs in the low-tech basket, advocating for ways to make cities more friendly to biking and walking. And then there are the visionaries dreaming up the next big idea in transit, like Google with its self-driving cars. Now a Bay-area based electric vehicle designer called Lit is joining the second camp with a new motorcycle-car hybrid it's calling a "rolling smartphone."

The Lit C-1 is a fully protected motorcycle that is 70 percent safer than a traditional motorcyle and nearly impossible to knock over—according to CEO Daniel Kim, it'd take a baby elephant. The C-1's secret for stability is its use of sensors and processors to monitor the vehicle's relationship with the ground. If the vehicle starts to tip, the sensors make a gyro apply an opposite force to keep the bike standing. The vehicle will constantly receive updates on traffic, weather, and other information, hence the "smartphone" conceit.

With a stated goal to "provide efficient, economical, and ecological transportation solutions" for people around the world, Lit is about more than just futuristic, slick designs. "The combustion engine has dominated cars and motorcycles for 90 years," says the website. "Electric motors are changing personal transportation as we know it. [....] We are reinventing the motorcycle and rethinking the future of commuting to create green jobs supporting a sustainable future."

The company says they'll have the C-1 in showrooms in 2014. Watch a video below to find out more.


Images courtesy of Lit