Disclosure: This post was written as part of Progressive’s Apron Project, helping tell the story of people and their initiatives making progress towards a greater good. I have been compensated as a contributor to this project, but the thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.
Not quite car, and not quite motorcycle, the C-1 from Lit Motors is a two-wheeled one-seater with gyro stability that seeks to challenge the way we get around in the not-too-distant future.
I’d say I’ve got a few gearheads in my crowd — and at least a handful (or two) of auto enthusiasts. So when I had the chance to talk to Ryan James of Lit Motors about how his company is striving to bring two-wheel transportation to the mainstream as a more efficient — and safer — alternative to the motorcycles and cars of today, I jumped at the chance. Here, he was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the future of transportation — and the part he envisions Lit Motors will play.
Q: How do you feel technology is changing our lives for the better?
A: Technology is allowing us to communicate and create as never before. The ability to collaborate with others around the world in real time is incredible, and the creative power of digital design and engineering is insane. Design and engineering work that would have taken weeks or months a few decades ago can be accomplished in hours or minutes now. That’s very empowering! We’ve been able to develop multiple full-scale prototypes of a vehicle and amass a community of followers in the tens of thousands, all with $3M and a team of 25. That wasn’t possible even 10 years ago. And it’s very democratizing, allowing inventors and innovators to pursue much more complex ideas cheaply and efficiently.
Q: Where do you believe tech will take our culture in the future?
A: Tech will continue to free us from the confines of the past. Easier communication, more available knowledge, and freer travel. 40 years ago, a car and a driver’s license were freedom. Now a car is a liability. One of our goals with our vehicle is to bring that sense of freedom back by creating a vehicle that can easily slip through traffic and park virtually anywhere — and all while staying connected, of course!
Q: When you were a kid, did you ever envision yourself doing (or being involved with) something like this?
A: Our founder, Danny, grew up building things. [Playing with] LEGO [bricks] led to building up his own bikes and working as a Land Rover mechanic, which led to building his own bike frames and his own truck, and eventually building his own vehicle platform, with the first C-1 concept. He never would have guessed as a child that he would start his own company surrounding a vehicle of his creation, but as the son of an inventor and an astute businesswoman, it makes sense.
Q: If someone were wont to pursue a career in your field, what would you recommend they spend their time learning and/or mastering?
A: Everything! Doing a lot with little means being very self-sufficient, and a jack- or jill-of-all-trades. Putting together a team of complementary T-shaped people can be very effective.
A: We’ve heard from so many people that we’ve created the vehicle of their dreams, or finally brought Tron or Akira to real life. We never get tired of hearing that! We also grew up with those movies — this is the vehicle of our dreams as well!
Slated to begin rolling out toward the end of 2014, you can learn more about Lit Motors here and even reserve your place in line to own what promises to be a game-changing piece of transportation history. Thanks to Ryan James for taking time to talk to me about this fascinating next-generation tech!