Hoverboard designer impresses with new car concept
Shane Chen’s two-wheeled automobile ‘Shane’ is taking a new approach to an old technology, redesigning the car from the bottom up. The vehicle is somewhat reminiscent of the hoverboards designed by Chen, not to be confused with the identically-named hoverboard from the film series Back-to-the-Future, but the electric two-wheeled board that can be driven by leaning in the direction that the driver wants to go.
Chen also designed the SoloWheel, which is a self-balancing unicycle, meaning that the inventor has the necessary experience with balancing technologies to create such a daring car concept. “I’d been thinking about the two-wheeled car for years, since I thought about a two-wheeled car people could use as a toy, for some kind of fun. It’s kind of in the back of my memory,” as Chen described his creative process. “Then just recently, about two years ago, I suddenly thought, ah—I can solve that car problem now.” However, he explains that there was a major difference in how the weight is balanced on the vehicle: “With the car, it’s the opposite. The car has two large wheels. The center of the wheel is above the center of gravity of the car, so the car is already stable when sitting there, or when moving at a constant speed.”
The Shane is primarily designed with stability, maneuverability and energy efficiency in mind, and while no technical specifications such as battery size or the drive capacity were revealed, the designer notes that the concept is capable of safely driving at high speeds, implying that it will be ready for highway use. The vehicle currently uses two in-wheel drives for propulsion, and a third, smaller, drive to help shift the weight. When prompted for more details by the publication VentureBeat, he deferred to whomever will actually take it beyond a concept: “[…] these questions cannot be answered right now, as they’re dependent on what the car engineers, designers and manufacturers choose to do with it beyond the concept phase.”