Ford has come up with a solution that may take the pain out of getting to and from the office - or at least provide a bit of comic relief to commuters on the way.
Ford has applied for a patent to take the road wheels of an EV, and attach a frame and seat to create a compact electric unicycle, leaving the car supported by an inbuilt jacking system.
That means drivers would be able to drive to a satellite parking facility away from work and ride their one-wheeled electric bicycle the rest of the way, easing congestion and freeing up vital space in busy business districts.
handlebars - all a user would need to do is elevate and remove the
wheel (which contains an electric hub-motor) using the self-contained
support system, and attach it to the bike frame.
The whole family can come along too - although the patent drawings only show one wheel being used, the application describes the potential for all four wheels to be removed at the same time, allowing the whole family to set off in different directions - just like the opening to the Jetsons.
Ford describes the set-up as a ‘Multi-modal transportation system’, and while the unicycle offers door-to-door accessibility, it forgoes any of the weather protection provided by a train or bus.
Ford’s isn’t the first bike-in-a-car combo either, in the early 1980s Honda offered the Motocompo ‘Trunk Bike’ in Japan which looked more like an Esky than a compact motorbike, but was designed to fit in the small boot of the City compact hatch.
Ford’s system is a little more closely integrated into the vehicle itself, and the use of an in-wheel electric motor for the unicycle points to the system potentially forming part of a future electric vehicle powertrain.
As for the Ford unicycle, at this stage there’s no word on a production future, but based on the patent application would you be prepared to park up out of town and ride a unicycle to work? Let us know in the comments.