Forget cars powered by human faeces, the future of motoring is powered by human muscles. Don't fret -- we're not talking about blending people to a pulp and pouring their liquefied remains into a petrol tank, this is the HumanCar Imagine PS.
The brainchild of US engineer Charles Greenwood, the car is operated by up to four hand cranks. The idea is driver and passengers pull and push levers -- reminiscent of an exercise rowing machine or the railway handcar thingies you see in cartoons -- to produce energy which turns the wheels. Early reports that holes in the floor let you push with your feet proved wide of the mark.
The vehicle can be powered by just one or two people, as you'll see in the embedded video below, though this can be pretty tiring after a while. Luckily, it can be turned into a hybrid by connecting auxiliary power systems such as a battery (or fuel cells when available) making it ideal for those who
are lazy intend to travel long distances.
If you're up for the physical challenge and have three buddies, the HumanCar can reach speeds of up to 30mph on a flat road, or up to 60mph downhill. Disc brakes bring it to a stop.
Steering is achieved not through a wheel, which its makers dismiss as a crude remnant of sailing-ship technology, but through your backside. Tilt the seat to the left with the corresponding bumcheek, and the HumanCar will turn left. Push the seat down with your right fart bracket and the vehicle will turn right. There, you see, it's not crude in the slightest.
The HumanCar isn't on general sale as yet, but its makers are accepting pre-orders in the run-up to the vehicle's 2011 release date. You can place a $50 reservation right now but be warned, the HumanCar Imagine PS PHEV will set you back a total of $15,500 (£9,965) when it goes on sale next year.
Hit play on the video below to see it in action.