Hoverboard inventor reveals plans for self-balancing Shane two-wheeled EV
Should you ever have wondered who invented the self-balancing "hoverboard" … well, it was a man named Shane Chen. He has now incorporated that same technology into a design for a two-wheeled electric car, appropriately named the Shane.
For readers who are unfamiliar with Chen's much-copied Hovertrax hoverboard, it's simply a small motorized platform with a wheel on either side (for a total of two wheels), which the rider stands on. The thing is not unlike a little Segway, minus the handlebars.
As the rider moves down the sidewalk on the board, it automatically adjusts its speed in order to keep itself located directly beneath the rider's center of gravity. This principle, known as a mobile inverted pendulum, is what keeps the rider upright instead of pitching forward or falling backward.
Plans call for the Shane to likewise have just two (big) wheels, with a streamlined five-seat passenger compartment located between them. The compartment will automatically slide fore and aft relative to those wheels, moving its center of gravity to stay stable and horizontally level at all times – particularly when braking and accelerating.
Because the Shane will have just the two wheels, it will be steered via a simple differential speed control instead of a more complex linkage-based steering system. The vehicle will also feature in-wheel regenerative shock absorbers that help charge the battery when compressing and rebounding.
Chen tells us that the Shane should be easier to maneuver than a four-wheeled car (particularly when parking), plus it should have less rolling resistance and generally be more energy efficient. He is now seeking industry partners who may be interested in transforming his concept into an actual production automobile.
"Two-wheeled cars have simply not been practical or stable enough for everyday driving, until now," he says. "I was excited to create a car concept with two wheels that can go at high speeds and be energy efficient. I truly believe Shane will make a difference in how we approach mobility."
The car can be seen in animated action, in the video below. And should you be thinking that it's all just a pipe dream, keep in mind that along with the Hovertrax, Chen's Solowheel, Lunicycle, Hydroglide and various other inventions have all reached production.