Electric Car Can Float Like a Boat to Survive Tsunamis
The Concept One electric car is not only the world’s smallest class four-seater electric vehicle, but it can also float like a boat.
It’s said that one in six Japanese people live in areas that are likely to be affected by tsunamis. As we saw in the 2011 devastation, the gushing currents arrive quickly and with little warning, tragically catching many off-guard.
Hideo Tsurumaki witnessed the tragedy first-hand, and sought to build a vehicle that could withstand sudden downpours, flash flooding and deadly tsunamis.
Controlled by what looks like the handlebars from a jet ski, the tiny vehicle weighs 1,014 pounds and is just over 8.2 feet long. During normal operation, two in-wheel electric motors have a maximum output of 5kW with a range of approximately 62 miles. But when water levels rise, the Concept One uses a water jet generator to move through the water and its lightweight, buoyant tires act like fins in the water. The car also does away with a traditional steering wheel, and instead uses a motorcycle-style handlebar to accelerate and brake.
The car is not an amphibious vehicle, and is only to be used in water during emergencies. If submerged, maintenance is required, but with the Fomm Concept One estimated to cost just $9,000, for those in areas prone to tsunamis, the ability to float during a catastrophe could be worth any repair work.
The Concept One is ready for mass production, which is expected to begin in 2015. Additional funds are being sought for the project.
For Tsurumaki, developing the car has been a personal goal; his elderly parents being two of 22 million Japanese residents living in hazardous low-lying areas. With his dream of improving safety now in concept form, turning it into a reality will be the toughest step yet. But with the dangers of tidal waves, tsunamis and flash floods rising around the world, it’s one of a multitude of safety steps millions are counting on.