Danny Kim grew up in Portland where everyone was DIYing stuff, so he set out to DIY a truck. Seven thousand labor hours and a year and a half later, he had converted an old Land Rover to run on biodiesel, doubling its fuel efficiency from 15 to 31 mpg.
Kim says the experience nearly killed him, but he took those nearly 10,000 hours (what Malcolm Gladwell describes in Outliers as necessary for success in any field) and launched his own car company. Well, "car" is perhaps overstating it, given that all of Kim's designs have only two wheels. He has patents on a couple of electric cargo scooters- one even folds up (he takes one for a ride into a bar in our video).
But the vehicle that he hopes will compete with the conventional car is his 2-wheeled all electric C1. Part motorcycle, part car, he calls it a cyclecar. "We basically just cut the car in half." It's two-wheeled and tilts and leans like a motorycle, but it's fully enclosed and steers like a car. And best of all, thanks to gyroscopes, it doesn't fall down.
"The gyroscopes make it almost impossible to knock over," explains Kim. "The gyroscopes we'll be putting around 1,300 foot pounds of torque at its full operational speed which basically you'd need a baby elephant to knock over."
The C1 should hit the market in 2013 at a price of around $16,000. It's fully electric with a range of about 150 miles and will accelerate from 0-to-60 in 6-8 seconds.
Related videos from faircompanies
Nmg: the hottest thing on 3 wheels
A golf cart as a second car
The Kurrent: a neighborhood electric vehicle
Zero Motorcycles: high performance electric bikes
An EV (motorcycle) visionary: Matt Dieckmann (1981-2010)
Follow Kirsten Dirksen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kirstendirksen