Eco Transportation: Two Wheels Better Than More

When it comes to the latest in hot and stylish eco-transportation, most people usually think four wheels. Hybrids, electric vehicles and even an occasional three wheeled vehicle are gaining more and more popularity. But other than motorcycles, what makes two wheels better than more?

Well, check out these cool two wheel eco-vehicles:

1) Segway® PT – I’m sure you are familiar with the Segway® Personal Transporter. Promoted as “the world’s first self-balancing human transporter”, the PT has continued to capture people’s attention because even though it only has two wheels it still manages to stay upright.

You’ve seen individuals riding them around town, places like the San Diego Wild Animal Park offer tours on Segway® X2s and over 1000 police and security installations around the world use them for their officers on patrol.

The Segway PT can go around 24 miles on a single battery charge (depending on your style of driving, of course, and the terrain). So using your PT for a quick trip around town is a much more eco-friendly choice than taking your car – EV or not.

Who knows, maybe even one of these days, Zipcar will start renting out Segways as part of their car sharing program. (Zipcar Segway image by davidcrow on Flickr.)

Now of course walking is the most eco-friendly choice, however we’re talking about two wheeled vehicles here.

2) Segway® EN-V: For those of you who would rather ride in an enclosed vehicle, Segway has an option for you as well. The Segway EN-V is not only fully enclosed, just like your car, but it can hold two passengers.

In collaboration with GM and SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.), Segway decided to take the simple concept of the PT and apply that to a multi-passenger vehicle.

The new EN-Vs (Jiao, Xiao and Miao) use the Segway-developed chassis and electric drivetrain, however it can provide more power, more range and more speed even with two passengers.

The EN-V is also apparently “five times as energy efficient as the average U.S. passenger car“. Besides, doesn’t it look like a fun ride?

For a video showing more about the EN-Vs and how they are made, you can check out this.

BMW C1-E3) BMW C1-E: Although it’s just a concept vehicle, BMW hopes their C1-E will quickly catch on. Designed as a contribution to the European safety project eSUM, the C1-E is the electric, more eco-friendly older brother to the original BMW C1.

The C1-E features an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. It could potentially be equipped with an efficient, low-emission internal combustion engine as well.

BMW states “the advantage of two-wheeled transportation is that it offers a great opportunity for improving the flow of traffic in urban locations. Moreover, it is environmentally friendly...”.

The design of the C1-E concentrates on rider safety with features such as: a roll-over bar, energy absorbing impact material in the nose of the vehicle and yes, even a seat belt.

What do you think? Would you consider the BMW C1-E as your form of eco-friendly two-wheeled transportation?

4) YikeBike™: If you are looking for the ultimate in urban freedom, then you’ve got to check out the YikeBike. No more trying to find a place to park your car or bicycle. No more worrying about your bike being stolen from in front of your office. No more hoping there is going to be room on the bike rack of your bus or train.

YikeBike is a new face for bicycles, electronic or otherwise. It can go up to 25 kph (15.5 mph) and unlike a regular bike, when you ride a YikeBike you are pretty much sitting upright. Another exciting feature is that it is the first bike in the world that has electronic anti-skid brakes.

But one of the most convenient features is the YikeBike folds up completely in about 20 seconds and fits in a handy carrying bag that you can bring into any store, restaurant, office, etc. Nobody would even know you were carrying your ride home.

Currently its range is about 10 km (6.2 miles) on one charge and the battery recharges in about 40 minutes. Perfect for local trips and rides around town.

And if you are interested in getting what Time Magazine referred to as one of the top inventions of 2009, you’ll be happy to know the YikeBike will begin shipping at the end of June 2010.

Of course you can always opt for human pedal power with a traditional bicycle – but these are just a few of the many options for eco-friendly transportation on two wheels. What’s your favorite two wheeled ride?


  • Stephanie

    Cool wheels here! The YikeBike looks particularly awesome. But I’ll probably stick to my old, faithful bicycle that I’ve had for nearly 20 years. 🙂

    • Tara

      Tks Steph – I know, I love that YikeBike – I do think it would take a little getting used to though. 😉


    I have a 40 year old 10 speed bike. Works for me!

  • Alison Kerr

    I want to know more about the En-V. Just this week I was wondering how to get a 2 person commute vehicle with great mileage. I’m off to explore the links.

  • Rich

    Thanks for the info T! Great stuff! That YikeBike is awesome although I’d suggest a helmet just in case – 15.5mph impacts could leave a mark or two!

    • Tara

      Glenn – Sounds good to me too!

      Alison – Cool! 🙂 Yeah, it’s funny, I’m used to seeing so many one person vehicles like that, it’s nice to see a two person version.

      Rich – Thanks very much – I like that one too. Although I know I’d have to get used to it. And yes I agree 100% – helmet would be a must – I’d hate to stop quickly and be launched off it.

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