Gallery: Human Powered Car Can Go 30 MPH While Driving Uphill


Here at Inhabitat we’ve seen vehicles powered by algae, poo, and magnets — but our favorite source of sustainable propulsion is human power! The HumanCar is powered by your very own kinetic force — just hop in, give it a few cranks, and you’re on your way. The vehicle was developed decades ago, but is now getting set to hit the market as a road tested — and totally street legal — car. It was recently clocked going 30 miles per hour up a hill, and it will be selling for a mere $15,000. Check out a video of the HumanCar in action after the jump!

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Charles Greenwood P.E. came up with the idea for the HumanCar while sitting at a standstill in traffic in the Silicon Valley in 1968. He was looking around at all the other poor, lonely, out-of-shape people breathing in exhaust fumes and thought that there must be a better way. The first HumanCar prototype was built and traveled around California in 1972, and it has evolved greatly since then — it used to only have 3 wheels. The car is powered by a series of back and forth cranks operated by the passengers — up to four people can join in.

If four people are involved, the car can run on human power alone. With one driver the vehicle would have to employ the use of the included plug-in electric engine (in either hybrid or full electric mode) in order to maintain street speed. The engineers, however, would like to add that this is an exercise-enabled automobile, and as such it’s much more than a mode of transportation — it’s also a way to get in shape. You can reserve your HumanCar now for just a $50 placeholder fee — they’ll come to collect the rest when the car actually hits the market. The vehicle will be available for purchase next year.

+ HumanCar

Via Autoblog Green


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  1. cousin ton May 11, 2014 at 2:21 am

    cousin thinks the idea is great but needs more info

  2. timetraveler1 April 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    it would be okay “if” it wasn’t to high , if a person could buy something like this for $3,500 at the most for a 4 seater and 2,000 for a two seater the public “might” buy it ! but it needs to have a top . if the price is above what i mentioned and i imagine it will be , most people will not buy it as it will be to unaffordable to the :AVERAGE” person . bicycles or even the american speedster car will be cheaper for people to buy and use.

  3. howwall9 October 29, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Wow, this looks like a big step forward for a human powered/electric vehicle. I’m now interested in all the performance characteristics, seems like a lot of around town practical potential.

  4. acabtp August 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    So how much energy does this thing really save when you take into account other vehicles braking and reaccelerating when it merges into traffic at a relative snail’s pace? Might be useful to replace a golf cart or other non-roadgoing vehicle, but I really hope I don’t end up behind one of these on the streets.

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