Perhaps the Flintstones were ahead of their time. HumanCar® Inc., based in Eugene, Oregon, recently unveiled a street-legal “Human-Electric” hybrid car. The lightweight vehicle has electric plug-in capabilities but is primarily powered by humans. Equipped with two-hand cranks, the vehicle can reach uphill speeds up to 30 miles per hour when four people are cranking. “As an exercise-enabled vehicle, it is possible for one, two, three or four people to operate the bi-directional human-power interface,” stated Charles Greenwood, chief scientist and inventor of HumanCar. “Alternatively, a single operator may operate the vehicle in electric power mode only—or any combination of human and electric power may be employed.” Greenwood adds that this type of vehicle can offer significant benefits to both individuals and communities. “This vehicle is 100% sustainable and nonconventional; it reformats our perception of what a vehicle can do for us, and it makes us very healthy at the same time. Thus, a new feature is born: one of social responsibility.” At the HumanCar.com website, interested consumers can submit a $50 preorder placeholder toward purchase of the $15,500 vehicle.

Ryan Halvorson is the associate editor of IDEA Fitness Journal.