Photo of the flintstones car.
Human powered cars aren't far into the future. CC by i eated a cookie/Flickr

The characters from “The Flintstones” lived alongside dinosaurs, which is pretty much impossible, and drove human-powered cars, which isn’t. The mechanism that propels the bicycle hasn’t really been improved on since it was invented. A possibly revolutionary leap forward in human-powered travel is hitting city streets near you soon. A design firm out of Oregon has come up with a car that can sustain speeds of about 30 mph with electric assistance. The car can give drivers a workout and get them around without the need for fuel.

HumanCar is born

Charles Greenwood saw the opportunity for a human-powered vehicle for urban applications in the late ’60s. Since then, he has worked with a team of designers and other engineers coming up with a vehicle that can operate at motor vehicle speeds without a gas engine. The car also provides a great workout and produces zero emissions. According to the Daily Mail, the company already has about 100 orders in, and full production will start when orders hit 800. The company is setting itself up to be in a good position, as it will be profitable already when it hits full production mode.

Row, row, row your car

Passengers and drivers use a rowing motion to drive. The HumanCar Imagine PS will easily go 25 to 30 mph, but experimental models have been clocked at 60 mph. There is a rechargeable electric motor aboard, and the four seat car is designed to use the motor if fewer than three are aboard. Steering is done by leaning, similar to a motorcycle. The HumanCar isn’t only for the super fit. Greenwood routinely uses it, and he’s more than 60 years old, and the company used groups of seniors to test the HumanCar.

A new take on an old idea

The car has a limit. It is geared for trips in the city or around the neighborhood. It is already street legal. The DOT has approved it for exactly those uses. This isn’t new technology, really. Human powered vehicles have been made before. The Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross made human powered flight possible, though consumer applications are limited.


Daily Mail:

Human Car:

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