Designer Marcus Martinez has just introduced his brand new electric vehicle concept, the Kinesis, which Martinez explains is based upon kinetics. If you weren’t paying attention in physics class, kinetic energy of an object is the energy it possesses due to its motion. That means you must use a certain amount of energy to accelerate an object at rest to a certain velocity. Having gained this energy during acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes.
For Martinez and his new vehicle concept, the idea of kinesis means he’s created a three-wheel trike powered by a 1-kilowatt battery pack and a 250-watt electric-assist motor. Because the bike has two wheels up front, it’s remarkably stable yet still small, light and maneuverable.
But what’s the big deal about a battery-powered trike? Why wade through all the physics for that? The genius of the Kinesis is not the battery, it’s how it’s used and how power is regenerated. When starting or stopping or going up hill, a passenger does not use muscle power to attain kinetic energy—that’s the job of the battery. Instead, the pedals are decoupled from the vehicle’s drivetrain and used only to recharge the batteries. The rider of the Kinesis is not pushing the bike, the rider is only spinning a generator which charges the battery.
The Kinesis, which folds up for easy parking, also features an active suspension system and an all weather, ventilated and retractable windscreen for protection from the elements.
Martinez sees the Kinesis as a vehicle powerful enough for the streets but also compact enough to comfortably fit into bike lanes. The single-seat machine weighs about 132 pounds and has a motor-assist range of about 20 miles.