As the world’s cities continue to grow, and air quality and Climate Change continue to worsen, people will need to find cleaner and more effective ways of getting from point A to point B. One option which is being widely considered is personal transit: vehicles that are smaller, smarter, convenient, and more energy-efficient than automobiles. That’s the concept behind the Hyundai E4U Eggmobile, a personal vehicle that merges the convenience of a bicycle with a car.
Another important aspect of the Hyundai concept vehicle is to create a personal transport that will succeed where Mopeds, scooters, and Segways have failed. Though these vehicles are all perfectly good means of getting around, they have not made much of a dent in most major cities, which are still clogged with cars and have public transit that is choked by daily armies of commuters.
The Eggmobile debuted at the Seoul Motor Show this year, where Hyundai was amongst many other automobile makers that were presenting ideas for personal mobility vehicles (PMV). Amongst its advantages is the ability to maneuver in any direction, even though its motor only moves in one. This is made possible by the “semisphere” that the Eggmobile uses, which unlike conventional tires, can rotate in all directions.
When the top of the semisphere is touching and vertically aligned to the ground, the vehicle moves by rotating the semisphere horizontally. Meanwhile, the two rear-mounted training wheels prevent it from spinning uncontrollably. In order to move the vehicle in any direction without hindrance from the training wheels, the E4U simply tilts, much in the same way a helicopter works by tilting its rotors.
The driver, meanwhile, propels the vehicle with their feet, inclining them this way or that in order to generate propulsion. The severity of the tilt determines how fast the vehicle is to go. If this sounds a bit complicated, that’s because it is. At the Motor Show, the demonstration model only moved at a walking pace and the early reports say controlling one will take some getting used to.
What’s more, Hyundai has not yet released the crucial info on what kind of fuel the Eggmobile uses. However, odds are good it is either powered by a clean burning fuel or electricity. Only time will tell. The same holds true of when Hyundai plans to release it, or whether they truly intend to spearhead a fleet of PMVs with this particular mobile. However, given the time and money they invested in this concept, it’s hard to imagine they only pulled it for a single auto show.