Ford’s patented monowheel

Didn’t Honda do this better with the Motocompo 30 years ago?

FORD has been granted a patent for a wacky design that turns the rear wheel of one of its cars into a self-balancing electric monowheel.

The idea is that you drive your car to a car park somewhere outside of a congested city, remove the rear wheel, attach a seat and handlebars that are carried in the boot and then ride the resulting contraption the last few miles to your destination.

But there seem to be a few disadvantages to the concept. First of all, it means jacking up the car (although the patent suggests a handy, built-in, self-jacking system to achieve this) and then remove the wheel before attaching it to a seat-and-bars unit that fills about half the car’s luggage space. Given that a lot of drivers these days will call the AA rather than change a wheel themselves, the idea of commuters happily removing a wheel and constructing a motorcycle around it at the side of the road seems a bit optimistic. 

Of course Honda has already not only explored this idea but put its own solution into production more than 30 years ago. The fold-up Motocompo scooter (1981-83) was designed to go with the Honda City hatchback, fitting perfectly into its boot. The idea never took off, though – perhaps because it meant registering, taxing and insuring two vehicles for a commute that either one could complete on its own.

Surely, given the ready availability of folding electric bicycles, anyone wanting to achieve the two-part commute that Ford envisions can already do so without having to dismantle their car in the process? But what do we know?

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