the future people envisions human-powered vehicles at NAIAS 2015
all images courtesy of the future people
ann arbor’s the future people has released ‘future cycles’ at the NAIAS 2015. the project consists of human-powered vehicles that blur the lines between bicycles and cars – creating a hybrid alternative. ‘we wanted to see just how far we could push the legal definition of bicycle to provide a car-like experience with very low energy input,’ says designer cameron van dyke. ‘in doing this we hope to get people to consider if there might be better ways to transport ourselves around the american infrastructure.’
the exhibit consists of two machines – each with a different focus. the smaller, lighter, and more aerodynamic car, the ‘zeppelin’, is powered by two riders in combination with a 750w electric rear motor and achieves a cruising speed of 25 mph on flat ground. constructed of metal and polycarbonate, it weighs 270 lbs., has a 20-mile electric range, and achieves 700 mpg equivalent. ‘with its three wheels and sleek shell, it is reminiscent of buckminster fuller’s dymaxion car’, the collective remarks.
the exterior of the zeppelin
opening the hatch to reveal the interior mechanisms
detail of the zeppelin wheel
closeup of the drivetrain
the larger of the two, ‘cyclone’, is pedaled by two riders with the capacity for cargo and an additional two passengers. constructed using boat building techniques in combination with bicycle technology, it features brushed aluminum details and an interior of fine leather and mahogany.
the cyclone is reminiscent of buckminster fuller’s dymaxion car
two riders inside the aluminum shell
interior of the car
the seats are constructed from leather and mahogany
detail of the cyclone wheel
‘the motivation for this project is to explore alternative value systems in transportation,’ van dyke explains, ‘it is about questioning our country’s energy use, health, safety, and access to travel.’ the presentation at the auto show includes a large video monitor showing photographs and two short films of the vehicles in use, further helping to ground them as possible solutions in the real world. when asked about potential purchase van dyke responded, ‘these are concept cars focused on creating reflection in american car culture. there is market potential here, but first it is important to get a dialogue started.’