FAQ

What about safety?

Most of the video footage is the pre-prototype frame where we are just working on dynamics and essential operation. The final vehicle will be encased in a protective shell. We have built one body, but used CAD renderings for the video. For the actual machine, the body is the frame. The body is about 2 inches thick and a structure like a bone. The inner and outer surfaces of the body is solid plastic, and in-between is a marrow like foam that is formed between the walls at the same time and with the same material. It creates a very strong and ridged structure. The operator is seat belted and so protected inside this shell. It’s a bit like being in a huge helmet. If pushed off the road by another vehicle, this should help protect the operator a great deal.

If it hits or gets hit by another vehicle, the Planet Rider is designed to stay ridged and use the other vehicle as a “crush zone”. Car’s sheet metal is relatively easy to deform. It’s not hard to bend a fender with just the pressure of the palm of a hand.

The other strategies are mainly about avoiding an accident, thereby adding to its safety. When slow and in mixed traffic of pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars, Planet Rider rides high, its roof being over 5 ½ feet tall- taller than most cars. It provides great visibility and is easier to see. Add to that, that at night, the vehicle is fully lit on the sides and front with illumination LEDs. Not just head lights, break lights, blinkers etc., but lights shining down onto the body so the whole body is visible.

The vehicle will have traction control and ABS but better than other vehicles because each wheel’s speed is precisely controlled for speed and torque. ABS in a combustion vehicle used brakes and other compromise measures because the speed and torque of each wheel cannot be precisely controlled. This level of control is only possible with motors for each wheel.

Keep in mind that it’s trying to be much safer that a bicycle, motorcycle or scooter. Cars are on the freeways with semi-trucks that weigh ten times as much. If the cars gets hit by one, the car is at a disadvantage. It's similar with a car vs. a Planet Rider. But the accident avoidance and protective shell make it a great deal safer in most real-world situations. Bicycles, scooters and motorcycles don’t help that way.

How much will it cost?

Initially, the cost will be higher than following models. Keeping costs low is extremely challenging, much harder than it may seem. Automobiles have had well over a century and trillions of dollars to do so. Initially the cost will be about $7,500 retail. An average car is over $30,000 now, so this similar in cost per person, but much more economic considering most cars carry only the driver during on average and the operating cost is so low. Other than replacing the tires, there is essentially no maintenance, so the bulk of the cost per mile will most likely be in insurance. Electricity will not be a significant cost per mile.

What is it's range?

The planet Rider is designed to range about 75 miles under city driving conditions. It’s designed to have two batteries that each weigh about the same as two gallons of milk, which will have handles making them easy to quickly change out. Pedaling to extend the range will, of course, vary per user. If one just uses pedal power, it will do about the same speeds as I bike on average. It’s relatively heavier, but it’s far more aerodynamic and it recovers energy on down hills and slowing instead is wasting it in brakes. On a normal basis where speeds are much higher than a bicycle, pedaling may reasonably extend the range by about 30%, once the person adjusts and starts enjoying it. In addition, the software generally encourages the driver to increase pedaling. You don’t have to pedal and you can pedal indoors as a generator or exercise machine if you like. It’s all up to you!

Other questions?

Contact Planet Rider if you have questions not answered on the website.

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