Relying on manpower instead of a motor (Carectomy’s preferred method) means lower emissions. New hybrid technology is making promising progress toward more practical, eco-friendly transportation that uses human exertion and electricity instead of fuel. The HE (Human Electric) Hybrid Vehicle hasn’t yet hit dealerships, though the concept “car” offers a glimpse of the wheels we’ll be driving in coming years.
The HE charges its electric batteries via photovoltaic (solar) panels attached to the roof, and by an energy capacitor as the vehicle cruises downhill (a.k.a. regenerative braking). For those who are too scrawny or slothful to power the vehicle with their own kinetic energy, they can juice the HE’s batteries via the grid.
According to the YouTube video (see below), the HE allows for a smooth ride both uphill and down, and promises constant velocity regardless of the terrain. The vehicle can also turn 360 degrees on a dime without toppling over. The HE touts benefits that a bike doesn’t, like a roof to protect against the elements, and greater stability.
We agree with EcoGeek:
While it’s not immediately suitable for the world most of us live in (with commutes longer than five miles) it could be a real winner in urban environments.
The HE was built on the same principles as the Twike, another human-electric hybrid that uses regenerative braking, an electric engine, and the manpower of its two driver-passengers, who pedal in tandem to keep the hybrid moving.
If the Twike’s sales are any indication, the HE has a good chance of catching on. The Twike sold out in 2007, despite its $27,500 price tag.
The HE has come under fire for its design, which, critics say, is not only old news (as evidenced by a long-ago archived issue of Popular Science, shown above), but difficult to maneuver. To most, the HE may not look as sleek as a Maserati, but it would leave the world a prettier place for pedestrians and HE pedalers, alike.
Here’s a demo of the HE from YouTube: