- Oct 10, 2009
The Naturmobil is the ultimate green car
The secret of its eco credentials? Just one horse power
Those thinking of buying aToyota Prius may be disappointed to learn that the future of eco-friendly travel has nothing to do with hybrid synergy drives – instead it involves six wheels, a treadmill, and a horse. The Naturmobil, the brainchild of an Iranian engineer, Hadi Mirhejazi, combines 19th-century travel with 21st-century gym equipment.
In essence it is a horse, tethered to a treadmill, inside a perspex box on wheels. The driver and passenger sit in the front (the prototype is a two-seater sports car), while the horse is in the back. To get moving you simply turn on the treadmill and wait for the "engine" to start trotting. The horse's movement, aided by 20 gears, recharges the treadmill's battery, and keeps the vehicle moving. It can go at quite a canter, reaching 28mph during a road test.
Mirhejazi spent more than two years building the Naturmobil, and says he uses "many types of technology to make the horse comfortable". The animal sits under a jacket of cold water. For the more delicate problem of "emissions", Mirhejazi straps on an extra-large colostomy bag. The waste is then collected beneath the treadmill, "so the road will not get dirty or smell bad"; a selfless design, given there is no partition between horse and driver.
There are a few drawbacks. Despite the horse's cooling system, the Naturmobil is not suitable for hot climates. Motorways and main roads are also off-limits.
Mirhejazi had hoped to attract advertising for the vehicle's exterior, which could host two LCD screens. The plan was to take a publicity road trip around the world. Alas, the plan never came off. Mirhejazi has offered to give away the prototype, patent, and $100,000 to anyone who can explain why the Naturmobil was really invented. Advertising? Eco-friendly horse box? It seems the inventor himself is not entirely sure.