Human-powered car nears production

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Hands up everyone that has fond memories of a pedal-powered toy car. Yup, thought so. And for those that want to recreate the experience, a new adult-sized, human-powered vehicle is about to go into production.

The HumanCar Imagine PS is a four-seater 'human-electric' hybrid that allows its occupants to 'row' their way around town using hand cranks.

With four people inside, it can operate on human power alone; with only one, the electric motor kicks in. According to developer Charles Samuel Greenwood, it can reach 60mph on flat terrain, and can manage 30mph uphill.

It's not the world's first human-powered car - but it is unusual in that Greenwood reckons he'll be able to put it into production next year. He's already taking orders with a $50 downpayment, and says he's had over 100 so far.

"We are an independent company with no outside funding, so the reservations are the building blocks to delivering these vehicles to you at $15,500," he says.

"Bottom line is they cost a lot to make, and at $15.5k it is a bargain. Believe us, you will get the $15.5k back in value your first year."

Greenwood says he's been working on the design since the 1960s. The latest version can be configured to work with many different power systems.

Efficiency is improved via a regenerative braking system and advanced power system management. It's controlled by 'body-steering' rather than a steering wheel - "really just a remnant of sailing ship technology", says Greenwood - but high-performance versions will be completely street-legal.

Greenwood says he's confident that the vehicle will become a commercial success. "We are self-funded, own our facility and over 100 pre-orders exist for the Imagine PS. We are essentially profitable right now," he says.

"Our scalable manufacturing facility is ready to be cloned worldwide for an immediate supply of units."

Put you name down here.