Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.
If you've ever watched an episode of The Jetsons, you've probably wondered what vehicles from the future would look like. The Qualifier is an autonomous electric motorcycle concept that could bring the experience of riding to a whole new level. It's equipped with two 30-kilowatt liquid-cooled motors and a smart gyroscopic system to keep it upright on two wheels at stoplights.
Vehicles similar in style to the Qualifier have been around for decades, most of them as prototypes. The Peraves Monotracer, for example, maintains its balance at a very low speed by using wheels that deploy on its side. An even more clever system is the one found on the C-1, designed by Lit Motors. It uses gyroscopes to keep the vehicle stable at low speeds, or balanced at stop lights. This is the kind of technology that would be used in the Qualifier.
How it works
The Qualifier's shape is based on the SeaBreacher personal watercraft from Innespace Productions. It features a fighter-style cockpit and its looks are similar to my Arrow concept, but it's much more aerodynamic and it can be optimized to go fast or to save fuel, whichever you prefer. The vehicle will feature a manual mode that will be thrilling to drive, and an autopilot to get you to your destination while you check your e-mail or have coffee.
What it's used for
The Qualifier could play a role in the coming Transport Electrification projects around the world. It takes up only a quarter of a car's parking space and it uses less than a quarter of its energy. It doesn't make any noise, nor does it pollute. It's not a glamorous mode of transportation, but if you want to commute to work every day in your own personal vehicle while working or relaxing, this could be an excellent alternative.
The cost of such a vehicle could be below $10,000 if mass produced. You could also remove one motor and use incremental battery packs depending on your average trip.
Each buyer could be offered the option of choosing the vehicle's colours and graphics from a huge variety. Each Qualifier's body would be covered with printed vinyl graphics at the factory, chosen online by the buyer.
Charles Bombardier is a member of the family that owns Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which are in the business of designing and manufacturing vehicles.