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EV start-up Lit Motors creates the C-1, an eccentric mix of car and motorcycle

The C-1, a prototype electric vehicle from the small EV startup known as Lit Motors, is not a vehicle for everyone. But it does offer some seriously attractive advantages for those who don’t  need to haul around large quantities of people or things regularly. As you can see, the C-1 is something of a cross between a car and a motorcycle. Seasoned riders will be looking at it and wondering how you avoid toppling over at stoplights, and this brings us to the part of the C-1 that makes it feasible. There are two gyroscopes mounted low in the vehicle’s chassis, and the C-1 can exert as much as 1,300 ft-lbs of gyroscopic torque in order to stay upright. In real world terms, if someone t-bones you at an intersection, it won’t fall over. It probably won’t feel great, but you will remain upright. The C-1 is also equipped with “landing-gear” for parking.

So the C-1 can be driven more or less like a car, and it keeps you out of the elements as well. But the advantage of its small size is that it weighs just 800 pounds. That means the two-wheeled EV can travel 200 miles on a single charge, even with a relatively small battery. That small battery can be charged in as little four hours, and that means more range and a shorter charging time than in the leading pure EV, the Nissan Leaf. There are some downsides, of course. As you can see from the picture, carrying even one passenger can be a bit cramped, and luggage space is effectively nil. You will also need a motorcycle license to drive it, but that does also mean that you can take your motorcycle license test in the C-1, and that will make it a lot easier.

The price is another problem, as it is set to come in at $24,000 when the vehicle goes on sale in 2014. Tax incentives will knock that down to about $19,000, but this is still quite a bit. But no EV is cheap, and C-1 is still a lot cheaper than any pure EV alternative. Lit says that once manufacturing reaches full capacity, the pre-incentive price could scale down to as low as $12,500. Once incentives have been applied, the end result could be a pretty reasonable price, making the C-1 the cheapest vehicle you can buy that will still keep shielded from the elements. So if you’re thinking of getting an electric car to carry just you and a briefcase to work every day, this would probably suit you quite well.