It's all very impressive, but if you want to ultimate in green transportation, you'll be surprised to learn that it's much simpler (and cheaper) than any of those much-touted vehicles. The real breakthrough isn't the idea of using lithium-ion batteries in cars but rather in providing the electric in a fashion that doesn't generate any pollution: by hand.
|Yes: The Imagine PS is street-legal!|
The Imagine runs on electricity and has a plug-in charging capability, but it's not primarily meant to be plugged in. Instead, the Imagine is powered by the passengers themselves, who -- by pulling hand cranks from front to back -- generate from their own effort the current that makes the vehicle move.
And by all regards, it really moves: the Imagine can hit 60 mph on flat terrain and can climb hills at 30 mph.
With four passengers, the Imagine runs on "human power" alone. The plug-in capability supplements the vehicle when fewer than four passengers are working, though, so even one person can drive it.
Is the Imagine PS going to change the world? As a final product, no; it's impressive but not likely to win converts who would prefer, among other things, vehicles based on the green technologies I already mentioned.
But at $15,500, it's certainly a lot more attainable than a $40,000 Volt or a $100,000 Tesla roadster.
And besides, who really wears the outfits modeled on the runway? No one; they're concepts that influence mass-market clothing later in the season. So too may it be with the Imagine: it shows us what is possible.