The deluge of electro-scoots continues
This past year has been the year of the eco-friendly scooter concept. Both BMW – under its Mini badge – and Chrysler with their Smart brand introduced electric powered scooter prototypes at the Paris Auto Show last year.
Similarly India’s LML used Milan’s EICMA to show off an electric prototype of their popular Vespa P-series clone, the Star, known here in the US as the Stella.
With battery technology improving daily and gas prices rising similarly it’ll be interesting to see if 2011 proves to be the year that these concepts become reality. In two parts of the world this past week two inventors certainly believe so.
Scooters From The Alps
First up, Swiss designer Eric Collobmin has created the Volitude, a bicycle-scooter hybrid that meets requirements to be able to ridden on EU roads without a license, plate, or helmet. The scoot uses a lithium battery to allow 18 miles on a 4 hour charge and the battery can be charged either in or outside the scoot. Top speed is a meandering 20 to 40kmh (12-25mph) depending on terrain so consider it a ride to take in the scenery.
In addition to it’s power source (and looks,) what makes the Voltitude unique is its patented “EasyFold” system which allows the bike to fold up into a small space in just one second or folded and then rolled to a convenient location.
Even though the Votitude is perhaps more bicycle than scooter it includes some impressive specs including disc brakes front and back, an integrated anti-theft lock, and built in front and rear lighting.
The scooter will be available for international order toward the end of 2011 following the initial limited numbers being sold exclusively to Swiss residents.
A Man’s Best Friend
Meanwhile, back here in the US of A, Seattle based Fremong Motors’ Jeb Gast has unveiled the FIDO, his vision for an environmentally friendly, easily maintainable scooter.
Much like historic Vespa and Lambretta the FIDO uses interchangeable wheels that are easily replaced but unlike historic scooters also includes adjustment-free hydraulic disc brakes on both wheels.
Similar to the Voltitude, the FIDO’s battery can be charged either inside or outside the scooter and even has a handle to allow easy removal. The bike also includes a degree of under-seat storage in the form of a case that can be removed and worn like a backpack.
What I like about the FIDO is that its form echos the silhouette of some of the earliest Lambrettas (or stripped later Lambrettas) by exposing it’s single tubular steel form.
Once again, we have some numbers on the scooter and it’s projected to run a little more like a scooter than the Voltitude with 30-35 miles on a charge with a top speed of around 45mph. The target MSRP is $5000 although at this point the FIDO is a step or two behind the Voltitude and is still a prototype with a projected initial production run in mid 2012.