Meet the New Self-Balancing, Fully-Enclosed Electric Motorcycle
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Meet the New Self-Balancing, Fully-Enclosed Electric Motorcycle

self-balancing motorcycle on road overlooking mountain valley
  • Lit Motors is currently crowdfunding for a self-balancing motorcycle that aims to make people rethink traffic.
  • The vehicle uses gyros to balance while still giving drivers the feel of a motorcycle.
  • With a five-minute charge time and swift maneuverability, this two-wheeler EV could be a fun and efficient way to get around.

There’s a self-balancing electric motorcycle coming. You read that right. And, it’s fully-enclosed, like a car. And, you’re going to want one.


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Lit Motors was founded in 2010 and was put on hiatus when founder Daniel Kim was involved in a motorcycle accident. Danny is an inventor who went to Reed College, UC Berkeley, Rhode Island School of Design, and MIT. In other words, he’s a smart cookie. His team is made up of world-class engineers from Raytheon, Honeywell, and Audi.


Rethinking Size on the Road

Kim’s idea is to disrupt the trillion-dollar automobile market with this self-balancing motorcycle. When 75% of the cars on the road have only one person inside, why have that much sheet metal and space? The dual-person gyro motorcycle is small, aerodynamic, and fast. It can travel at speeds of over 100 mph, and it’s narrow enough to split lanes like a motorcycle. They call it the Auto-Balance Electric Vehicle (AEV).


Photo courtesy of Lit Motors.

Lit has a WeFunder crowdfunding campaign to raise equity money right now, offering a piece of the company to investors. It’s already raised over $1.1 million dollars.

The latest, really cool look of Lit’s two-wheeler EV is thanks to Bill Webb at Huge Design. He’s the mad designer behind some of Zero Motorcycles’ killer concept vehicles, like the SR-X. Some of those designs are trickling into production.


There’s room for two people, with the passenger sitting right behind the driver. If you look at this mockup, it is somewhat similar to two people on a motorcycle. Photo courtesy of Lit Motors.

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How This Self-Balancing Motorcycle Drives

The AEV is safer than other two-wheeled vehicles, and it can be driven in all climates. You won’t get wet when it rains. It also has front and side airbags for safety. “And we will be developing the vehicle to meet European NCAP homologation standards,” mentioned a Lit Motors representative, “as they are safer and more comprehensive than US car safety standards.” Lit said that the vehicle is designed to be driven in rain, sleet or snow.

It leans into turns like a motorcycle, offering a lean angle of up to 45%. As a motorcyclist, I find this really compelling. Cornering is one of the most satisfying parts of being on two wheels. Though if you think in terms of cars, you’d better have a full lid on your coffee for your morning commute, lest you be wearing your coffee all day.

With a full charge, you’ll get about 170 miles of range. Charge time is only five minutes on a Tesla Supercharger (yowza) or six hours on a 110V outlet. Lit Motors estimates that the average cost per charge is $1.25.

It’s a nearly perfect solution for those concerned about how long it takes to charge a car. Even on long trips, driving for three hours and stopping for five minutes to charge and stretch your legs is not much different than driving a gas-powered car. 


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Sustainability and Efficiency Efforts From Lit Motors

It takes 1/10 the parts and 1/6 the lithium compared to other EVs to put this gyroscopic car together, and Lit Motors’ mission is to ramp up production to 1,000,000 units per year in half the time it took Tesla. Of course, Tesla paved the way for all that.

If and when the battery needs to be replaced, the battery cost is only $2,700. The lifetime CO2 emissions of the battery replacement is 1.8-3 tons, compared to a full-sized electric car battery’s likely 12-18 tons. 

It weighs just shy of 1,000 lbs, making it 1/4 the weight and 80% more efficient than a full-sized EV. They claim it can even reduce your commute time by up to 30%.


Photo courtesy of Lit Motors.

Parking this self-balancing motorcycle is as easy as parking a standard motorcycle, as it can fit in similar-sized parking spaces. You can park four of them in one car parking space. The doors don’t even open outward; they are scissor doors (like on some supercars). When it does park, two struts come down in the back to keep it upright so that the battery isn’t being used to keep the gyros going.


Here’s a prototype without the sheet metal, showing the struts deployed for parking. Photo courtesy of Lit Motors.

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Not the First Attempt at a Two-Wheeler

The AEV isn’t the first gyro-stabilized two wheeler — that distinction goes to the 1967 Gyro-X. However, that vehicle never made it to production as the company went bankrupt. It was also gas-powered and had just one gyroscope. It still exists and still drives occasionally, and it’s currently located at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville. 

There’s a video of the Gyro-X here:


Lit plans to have a lot more than just the AEV. They’re simultaneously working on a self-balancing electric cargo scooter that will weigh in at around 150 lbs and carry the cargo in the center, up to 40”x40”. It’s unusual-looking, even for a scooter. That’s the great thing about EVs of any kind: Designers and engineers aren’t bound by what ICE-powered vehicles need. 


Photo courtesy of Lit Motors.

The AEV certainly ticks a lot of boxes for an EV. It’s small, very efficient, fast-charging, and can have a driver and a passenger. It also has great safety features and a likely very dynamic ride in all weather conditions. Plus, it’s easy to park, it looks great, and it looks FUN!

Lit Motors is taking preorders for this self-balancing motorcycle now, and you’ll be put in the queue 6-12 months before production starts. The price to reserve one is $250, and with that you get a T-shirt with the Lit Motors logo and your unique serial number on it. The price tag starts at $32,000. 

I’m seriously considering getting one.


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FEATURE IMAGE: LIT MOTORS

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AUTHOR: 

TONY DONALDSON

14 Responses

  1. For 32,000 i can order the equally unavailable Aptera. One more wheel, far more capacity and range

    BUT, I’m a biker at heart. Current daily driver is an arcimoto, if they ever get this into production (in my lifetime) I will buy one

    1. Todo es publicidad, ¿ cuando se pondrá en producción? Eso lo verán mis nietos.

  2. I moved to LA 13 years ago and this project is still in the same state it was then. They have made zero progress and still asking 13 years later.

    1. For sure. This project is going nowhere. Unfortunately, the CEO has no clue what he’s doing. He’s just going to scorch the earth for future entrepreneurs in this space.

  3. I moved to LA 13 years ago and this project is still in the same state it was then. They have made zero progress and still asking for money 13 years later.

  4. I have been watching this project from its inception. For an older couple with two cars, this seems like a no-brainer replacement for one of the cars, especially if they had a motorcycle. I am looking forward to seeing this completion and delivery. It would be nice if it qualifies for a Quebec, Canada rebate, too. My $1,000 awaits.

    1. Sorry to disappoint but this is a vaporware project. This type of projects start with a seemingly good idea then realize it’s too complex or expensive to build, so they concentrate on media coverage, CGI, videos of incomplete models with tricks to show them as complete, all just to ask for more money each year. This is not something that’s made for the end-user, it’s made to milk investors that don’t know any better.

      On another note, this vehicle, if someday it was completed, makes no sense to buy. 1 it’s too expensive for an electric bike, 2 it’s too heavy, both from the gyroscopes and the battery that will also have to power those big things. 3 it doesn’t solve any problem that isn’t solved by other, already existing and very real bikes. At this point, it might be best to get a Birò.

      The project was announced in 2012 and hasn’t moved, there is no proof you will be able to get it for the older couple you mentioned before they sadly pass away or are too old to use a bike.

      And lastly, one thing you should always keep in mind is, anything that’s pushing you to pre-order is likely to give you an incomplete product at best or run away with your money at worst. This goes for everything, cars, trucks, movies, games, phones. Think about why they want you to pre-order, is it because they need the money to complete the project ? If so, you are investing in an incomplete project, might be best to buy their stock instead. Is it because they want to start production but need to be sure they have customers before launching ? Then they haven’t done their due diligence in market analysis. Any other reason would still be none of your concern, as in the end, you want the product not solve a problem they created.

      To summarize, don’t wait for something that hasn’t been completed without considering other options and never, ever ever pre-order.

  5. I put a 250 dollar deposit on one well over 10 years ago. Got a t shirt and a certificate!
    Lit motors fell off the face of the planet only to return again with the same bull.
    They will take your money and won’t answer e mails !
    Scam
    scam
    Scam

    1. I want one! Here in the UK I would find it ideal. Parking and traffic is a nightmare, especially as the major cities are charging for entry in conventional vehicles, no charge for these though. As a bonus one doesn’t get wet, important here with our weather. No need for all that lagging and waterproofs for winter riding.
      I remember seeing the first Ferguson FF ( Feet forward) hub-centre steered motorcycle developed 1970’s here. Similar concept but no gyros. Good-looking but very heavy (500kg?) if it fell over, a crane needed! Look forward to seeing this exciting development of the motorcycle launched in the U.K. soonest!

  6. Nothing has any value, I’ll offer $50.00 for it , at least when it’s time to trade it in or sell it, maybe I get my money back.

  7. When will the *Prototype* be made street legal, I’ve been following and may soon be able to support your goals, Rabiraj Naidu, NRIC:S1560068C

  8. I don’t know anything in life that is certain, except for Death and Taxes. To put out 200 dollars on a great potential, even if it is lost over time, is not such a bad deal. After all, show me the citizen who is not willing to put money on the lottery whenever they can. That mounts up too. So why do it? Do you know anyone who has won or better yet, have you “invested” in the lottery, and won it? I doubt it. So if you play the lottery, what is your problem with Lit Motors. They have much better odds and it is sort of fun. Like going to the casino, right? Perhaps the detractors are just a sorry bunch of whiners because that is what they do. Cry like babies. If Lit Motors comes through in the end, all the nay-Sayers should be ashamed of themselves. To to eat a piece of humble pie, that is… There is nothing more satisfying than success. I wish all the best for Lit Motors. Stomp out the cockroaches I say! And feed them to the Chickens!

  9. I watched the development of LitMotors since about 12 years. The ancestor of the AEV, the C1 was planned to get into production 10 years ago. For my eyes it will never ever reach that status, meaning there will never be a chance to buy such a vehicle at whatever price thy announce..
    Furthermore, I think both, Aptera and LitMotors will be bought up by Elon Musk before they ever get a chance to get on the market and become competitord fo the Tesla.

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