With the rush to introduce all manner of electric vehicles to the public, we’ve seen an explosion of transportation ideas over the last few years.
We’ve also ritten about everything from folding electric cars to electric scooters to electric bikes. Some ideas are wild, some are totally cool and others, well, not so much. After a tip by our friends over at gizmag.com, we have to admit that rarely have we seen an electric vehicle with the “wow factor” of the SBU V2.
SBU stands for self balancing unicycle. Yep, that’s right. Self. Balancing. Unicycle. At first glance, the thing seems to employ some sort of 23rd century magic that’s been reverse-engineered from visiting aliens.
But dig a little deeper and the huge brains at Camus, Washington-based Focus Designs explain that the unicycle is just your run-of-the-mill gyro stabilized, accelerometer driven, battery powered, clean “green” vehicle.
Focus explains that the SBU’s technology controls the forward and backward balance of the cycle using accelerometers and gyroscopes aided by something called a “balancing algorithm.” Meanwhile, the rider only has to balance left and right. The rider controls the speed by leaning forward or backward to speed up or stop.
There is no need to pedal; in fact, there are no crank arms, just foot pegs and once you get a little forward momentum going, inertia makes the steering almost intuitive. Focus claims that this really isn’t as complicated as it sounds and that it takes most folks only about 20 minutes to get the hang of the thing.
The SBU is powered by a LiFePO4 lithium-ion nano-phosphate battery that cranks a 1000 watt motor that’s mounted inside the wheel. That combo is powerful enough to propel the SBU at what could be a very terrifying 10 mph.
The SBU electronic balance control module is also integrated into the wheel. The control module performs several critical functions, including motor speed control, motor torque control, and even regenerative braking. Focus says that for this version of the SBU they’ve increased the number of sensors to seven which gives a smoother ride, a more accurate balance response and improved turning.
On its website Focus writes that the “SBU features rider head protection when the rider wears the proper helmet or head protection gear. The SBU also features front, rear and side energy absorbing zones, these are commonly referred to as your knees, elbows, face and butt.”
Cute marketing copy aside, the SBU is equipped with “fall detection” which disables the SBU’s motor if it senses that you are about to bite it. As Focus advises on its site: Grandma would always say “if you fall off your electric self balancing unicycle, get right back on.”