Shane Chen, the inventor of the Hoverboard, a two-wheeled self-balancing scooter that became popular in the mid-2010s, has devised a similar solution for cars. A two-wheeled approach would simplify steering suspension and improve efficiency, according to Chen. But how does it work?
It may look a bit silly, but the Shane – named after its inventor – could become a solution for more efficient personal transport in the future thanks to a simple concept: two wheels are better than four.
It’s clear that the Shane is a product from the same person who invented the Hoverboard, which again takes its inspiration from the original Segway. But instead of relying on a pendulum effect to balance the vehicle with small movements, the Shane relies on a self-balancing body that keeps the center of gravity directly above the wheels.
The wheels themselves have to be large enough to stay above the center of gravity of the car, while built-in hub motors provide drive. And thanks to a lower rolling resistance due to having two wheels instead of four, coupled with energy-regenerating suspension, the efficiency should be better than with a traditional (electric) car.
No physical steering links
Furthermore, steering can be achieved by simply spinning the wheels at different speeds, negating the need for mechanical links and multilink suspension. The Shane can even rotate in place to facilitate parking in a tight spot.
However, this is still a very theoretical concept. Chen and his company, Inventist, want to find partners to bring the idea into reality, first as a proof-of-concept and later, perhaps even towards production. This means it’s also too soon to speak of launch dates, efficiency, and range figures, let alone pricing. But the idea is interesting.