This Year’s Detroit Auto Show Concept Car: Bikes

Prius ParleeAmid the shiny cars, people with dusters keeping the cars impeccably shiny, and shiny women, a few items were on display at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit that would hold any crusty old environmentalist’s attention. Bikes. Not just any old, embarrassing can’t-get-your-ass-up-a-hill electric bikes. A shiny, highly-engineered bike.

The Prius Parlee asks, “What if the Prius were a bicycle?” Toyota didn’t take on this challenge on their own – they teamed up with Parlee Cycles to design the bike of the future.

The Parlee’s frame is carbon fiber – which keeps things light and easy to move around. Its brakes are molded into the fork to increase aerodynamics. It’s even got a built-in dock for a smartphone to track speed, cadence and heart rate. Bike enthusiasts know that all of that is mostly available now if you have the money to spend.

The last feature is not available on the market – perhaps for good reason. The helmet packs neurotransmitters to help rider to shift gears just by thinking about it. The press guy told me that it actually works.

I for one am glad that I can’t buy this at my local bike emporium. A helmet that could read my mind would mean a whole lot more stops at donut shops and aggressive pursuit of dangerous drivers.

Toyota’s press materials speak highly of this feat of engineering:

“Embued with the spirit of Prius, this aero-road bike is also a purpose-built machine that blends simplicity with the complex to become a better, more efficient, version of something that already exists.”

Now doesn’t that sound fancy?

So what if it was announced in 2011 and still remains firmly in concept mode?

Travel to NAIAS was provided by Ford. Opinions are 100% mine (obviously)

[Image credit: Jen Boynton]

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton has been the editor in chief of TriplePundit for 8 years. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and a degree in Sociology from Pitzer College. She spent a few years in the non-profit policy sector as well, but we won't talk about that. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with her toddler overlord and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.