Gallery: Vincent Chan’s Citi.Transmitter Shows How a Modular Vehicle Co...

 
Recently we ran across an ingenious electric vehicle system concept called Citi.Transmitter developed by Vincent Chan, an industrial designer at watersports firm Body Glove. Citi.Transmitter is a modular vehicle system centered on a two-wheeled, single-seat master unit that contains the driver's compartment, the motor, and the battery. The ingenious thing about it is that the master unit can be connected to a variety of slave units, depending on the needs for any particular trip. You could hook up a passenger car to carry two passengers, trailers of various sizes for hauling cargo, and even a tank-track auxiliary drive unit that can be used on rougher terrain or ice and snow. The reference design for the two-wheeled master unit is Project PUMA (see this YouTube video), a collaboration between GM and Segway.

 

Chan tells explained to us that Citi.Transmitter was his final-year project in 2010 when he was studying at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He says that the system “is designed for personal transportation, and also the user can, based on their own need, select a module to apply in different situations.” He says “the design idea is mainly based on research from the U.S. Department of Transportation,” which says that “76 percent of people drive alone for work,” meaning that “a vehicle of more than two seats is kind of a waste for a single person… they cannot fully utilize the vehicle, and it wastes energy and time due to the increase in traffic jams.”

Chan’s design concept provides a potential contribution to the vision of sustainable cities. Obviously, public transit, walking, and biking are key elements of an environmentally friendly city. But at the same time, many city dwellers need to have the option of personal motor transportation. A small, modular design such as Citi.Transmitter might allow the user to “right-size” his or her personal transportation, saving energy and reducing traffic problems. Electric vehicles (EVs) produce very low atmospheric emissions, minimizing the local environmental impact.

Chan’s design won the best-of-show award at the Hong Kong Polytechnic design school’s annual show in 2010. He tells us that some automotive companies are researching modular vehicle designs, although, as far as he knows, none has referenced Citi.Transmitter.

Drawings courtesy of Vincent Chan.

+ Vincent Chan

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