One of my favorite pastimes is combining my passions to buy time. This is why I look for old advertisements (as an advertiser) that talk about pioneering technology (as a fan of the future). The best things are those so ahead of their time that they seem almost current, but absurdly advanced for the time.
Digging here and there to sift nuggets from the past, something profound always comes out. An idea, a vision that anticipates the future, or designs an alternative one, even better than what then occurs. I think this is the space between science fiction and reality. And in this space people like Sir Clive Sinclair could be sovereign, and things like Sinclair C5 could be their steeds.
Sinclair C5, an ebike of the future in the mid 80s
The Sinclair C5 is a perfect example. And it couldn't be otherwise: it was the brainchild of Sir Clive Sinclair, the famous British inventor who made a lot of futuristic things, from calculators to personal computers. And consider that the C5 was one of his craziest ideas.
The Sinclair C5 a full 30 years ago in 1985 was ahead of its time, but so ahead of its time that it wouldn't have been out of place had it been released today.
In short, the C5 was somewhere between Renault's ebike and Twizy. It boasted all the features and benefits of modern micro-mobility devices. It was economical to run, easy to park and emission-free. An object that in the world of the time appeared to be totally alien, and probably useless.
It will be for this reason that despite having Sinclair seen the future that we are now all trying to reach, and 36 years earlier, nothing has been done about it. His idea was too far ahead of its time and in the end the Sinclair C5 is fallen into disuse due to security issues and poor marketing .
Anyway, the Sinclair C5 may not have held up, but its vision certainly did: just think of the concepts behind Ami concept of Citroen.