KPCC's special series on transportation.
Hosted by Susan Carpenter and Alonzo Bodden

Keanu Reeves motorcycle, Bill Ford as a disruptor, cars talking to cars

Actor Keanu Reeves and designer Gard Hollinger with two of their Arch Motorcycles.
Actor Keanu Reeves and designer Gard Hollinger with two of their Arch Motorcycles.

Driving, riding public transit, or using a ride hailing service – the way we get around is changing faster than any time in generations. The Ride is all about those changes, and how we'll move around in the future. It's Southern California Public Radio's special series on modern mobility. Hosted by motor critic Susan Carpenter and standup comic and gear head Alonzo Bodden. Cars, bikes, motorcycles, buses, trains, it has a simple premise – if it moves, we're talking about it.

In this summertime special, The Ride visits Arch Motorcycle Company, co-owned by actor Keanu Reeves. Arch bikes start at about $70,000. They're hand-built in a little shop south of Los Angeles, and their design expresses all the desires Reeves had to build the perfect motorcycle.

Bill Ford says his great-grandfather Henry liked to say, "If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse." The great-grandson has taken Henry's advice to heart. As executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., he's been an outspoken advocate of transforming the auto maker into what he calls a 'mobility provider.' Ford explains what that means and shares his vision of the future for car manufacturers.

They're functional and handy, but they get no respect. Now, Chrysler, the company that pretty much invented the minivan, is trying to change the vehicle's image. Its new Pacifica looks sleeker, and is packed with lots of tech goodies. We fill it full of moms, let them drive it and get their expert opinions. Hint: Even the minivan haters among them were impressed.

Plus, some riding around in cars. We put Alonzo in a Prius for the first time. He admits its go more get up and go then he expected, but he's not really sold. And we put Sue in a 900 horsepower Formula D race car, and she screams as the driver slides sideways across the course at 90 mph.

And our friend Brian Cooley, of CNET's Roadshow, tells us about vehicle-to-vehicle communication. This emerging technology may mean that someday soon, your car can tell the car behind you, "I'm going to stop now, so don't run into me," and the car behind you will stop, too, even if the driver isn't paying attention.