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.
The Joust is an electric personal transporter equipped with an ergonomic kneeling seat and lean steer handlebars. It is designed for short-distance urban transportation and it could re-charge itself without being plugged in with WiTriCity, a U.S.-based engineering company that makes devices for wireless energy transfers.
The idea was to come up with an individual kneel-down vehicle capable of moving people in downtown areas, on campuses, or through underground tunnels. The Joust would be a clean and silent electric vehicle, narrow enough to pass through existing doors. The Joust could do all this at a speed of about 25 kilometres an hour, with a range of about 25 kilometres.
It would not be designed to climb really steep hills, but it would be capable of climbing slopes and moving comfortably around city streets without taking up much space.
How it works
Segway parts could be used to create the base of the vehicle. An ergonomic seat, or kneeling chair, would be installed on the unit's base, and a spring-loaded pivot point could assist the pilot in tilting his position slightly forward or backward so the vehicle could move in the desired direction. (This could also be achieved without any tilting mechanism.)
If the seat and pilot are aligned with the centre of gravity, the vehicle would remain in place, just like a Segway.
To turn left or right, the pilot would lean the handlebars in the desired direction. Pilots could also lean their bodies while riding, which would make for a more exciting experience. In case the Joust loses power, a front skidplate (not shown) could absorb the shock and prevent the vehicle from doing a face plant. The height of the vehicle's ground clearance could also be adjusted depending on whether you are riding on a flat or bumpy surface.
What it's used for
The Joust is similar to the ZEUS prototype I built in 2008, however the seating position and the lean steer handlebars would make it more enjoyable because of the higher viewpoint, the seating position and the leaning system. The Joust should cost less than $3,500. One way to reduce the price could be to offer optional battery packs and accessories (such as lights and cargo bins) and sell them directly from the factory. The product could also be assembled by the customer.
Cities could rent them out at specific points, as some do with Bixi bicyles. One important point would be to make sure it's legal to ride before any work is done. The Segway and the Bombardier NEV were great vehicles, but sales never picked up in part because legislation concerning their usage was not in place when the vehicles were offered for sale.
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.