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Jamais Cascio, 26 Nov 03

With the rise of Tech Nouveau and the Viridian movement, the myth that green design is inherently clunky, crude, or unappealing to modern consumers is finally dead. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the realm of transportation. The new Prius is one of the top-selling cars on the market, in part because of its swoopy design, and as an owner of a Honda Civic Hybrid, I can say from personal experience that very high gas mileage and near-zero emissions can definitely be found hand-in-hand with comfort, utility, and style.

As cool as those cars are, they remain fairly conventional in many respects. But just around the corner are some vehicles totally unlike anything that's ever hit the pavement before. Among the more unusual -- and, in my view, kickass -- designs is the Bombardier EMBRIO (image on the right), a fuel-cell-powered vehicle combining motorcycle, unicycle, and Segway. Fast, quiet, pollution-free, and stable on a single wheel because of its gyroscopes, the EMBRIO looks like something best ridden while wearing black leather and latex.

Sadly, it's not yet real. Bombardier is a Canadian transportation company best known in the U.S. for its "Ski-Doo" personal gas-consumption/noise-generation/water-sports device. The EMBRIO is a concept vehicle, one which will likely not see a showroom, intended by Bombardier as a way of showcasing its ability to think beyond the current market. I want one now.

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Comments

Correction: a "Ski-doo" is the Bombardier trade-name for a snow machine, designed for use on snow oddly enough. The skidoo has been around for a half century or so. A "Sea-doo" on the other hand is for use in water and has only been around for a decade or so. Skidoos can be and are used as a major tool in large parts of the northern hemisphere. As yet I have not seen Seadoo's used as anything other than pleasure craft.

Back to the main story: the Embrio does look cool. I wonder what one designed for winter use would look like?


Posted by: matt wilkie on 27 Nov 03



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