It’s the twenty-first century, and while the shortage of everyday Joes flying in to work on jetpacks might be seen as rather a disappointing failure of engineering to meet the demands of grade school dreamers everywhere, a patent filed by Ford back in June, 2015 details a bit of futuristic gadgetry with far less potential for serious bodily harm.
There’s still some inherent danger, mind you. Just not as much.
Hybrid Cars reports that a patent application filed this year by Ford Global Technologies describes an electric unicycle which uses one of a car’s rear wheels as its own. Here’s how it works: the driver parks the car, raising one corner of the vehicle with an automatic jack, and removes the wheel from that corner. In the trunk is an assembly consisting of an electric drive motor and a simple drivetrain, a body, seat, and handlebars. After some basic setup, the driver has an electric unicycle to make short work of the rest of his or her commute.
The electric unicycle detailed in this patent filing isn’t unlike a device already produced by a company called Ryno Motors. Whether Ford has – or intends to have – a relationship with Ryno is unknown, but like that company’s electric unicycle, Ford’s would most likely be self-balancing for easy everyday use.
The Ford Authority Take
We don’t foresee this Ford electric unicycle ever actually making it to market in its present state. For one thing, many inventions prove too wild and zany for public acceptance, and this may well be one of them. (Remember that fifth-wheel parking assist invented back in the 1950s?) For another, even with the simplicity of an automatic jack, removing a wheel from an automobile is too much of a chore for us to imagine users performing the task daily, likely relegating this electric unicycle to service only in the occasional event of vehicle failure.
If the electric unicycle used the car’s spare tire, however, that might be a different story…