Six major automakers: The future of urban transport may belong to electric bikes and scooters, not cars
The world's leading automakers are investing in electric personal mobility tools to create concepts or mature new products, including electric bikes and electric scooters, at an increasing rate.
Some manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, have a concept of micro-mobility, but its scooters still have no clear production path; on the other hand, other companies such as Peugeot have sold their tools for several years.
Automakers are increasingly looking for new ways to travel, including the use of electric bikes and electric scooters.
Audi announced on Monday that it will develop its electronic scooter and its all-electric SUVe-tron. Other automakers, such as BMW and Ford, have partnered with established companies to explore the electric personal micro-mobile market.
Not surprisingly, automakers are looking to the booming electric car market. The electric scooter company Bird, which operated less than a year in 2018, has a valuation of $2 billion. Similarly, in February of this year, the company announced that Lime, one of Bird's biggest competitors, had a valuation of $2.4 billion.
Carpool companies such as Uber have also been exploring this space. Their electric bike subsidiary Jump has been launched in several cities, including Providence, Rhode Island, Sacramento and California. Lyft is also part of a shared electric bike, although the San Francisco project has recently been suspended due to two bicycles catching fire.
Whether it is an electric scooter or a bicycle, here are the initiatives of car companies to create electric micro-power products.
Ford Super Cruiser
The Ford Super Cruiser is the official electric bike for American automakers.
The $3,695 bicycle is equipped with a 48v battery and a 500 watt motor. According to electric bicycle manufacturer Pedego, it weighs 27 pounds and has a top speed of 32 km/h. According to the "Electric Bicycle Review", the lithium-ion battery needs 5 hours to fully charge, and its battery capacity with a smaller capacity is 24-48 kilometers.
Unlike many other electric bikes, the Super Cruiser has a twisted throttle drive with no pedal assist. There is also no LCD display and information such as battery life or speed cannot be displayed.
Audi e-tron electric scooter
Audi has developed its own electric scooter e-tron, which is expected to be available at the end of 2020 for about $2,240.
The e-tron electric scooter is more a combination of skateboards and scooters than traditional electric scooters. Although it has a handle, it can only be controlled with one hand. The rider's body stands sideways, similar to riding a skateboard or snowboard.
This foldable, heavy 5kg scooter has a cruising range of 32 kilometers. Audi said it is considering bundling it with the Audi e-tron SUV because the electric scooter can be recharged in the trunk of the car through a dedicated outlet. Audi is also exploring the possibility of deploying e-tron Scooter in the fleet.
Volkswagen Streetmate and Cityskater Concept Electric Scooter
Volkswagen's two concept electric scooters made their debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019.
The first is Streetmate, a medium-range device that combines bicycles and scooters. Equipped with a 2.7-horsepower motor, the 64-kilogram scooter has a top speed of 45km/h and its 1.3 kWh battery can be fully charged in more than two hours with a cruising range of 33 miles.
The scooter has a Bluetooth option that allows the rider to connect their smartphone to the scooter for use as a digital key, security alarm and GPS. The electric scooter is also equipped with a waterproof screen that displays information such as battery and speed.
The second Volkswagen scooter is the city skateboard, which is the last mile of the trip. This foldable scooter has two front wheels and one rear wheel. The city skateboard is powered by a 0.5 hp motor and has a top speed of 19 km/h. It is also equipped with a 0.2kWh battery with a cruising range of 14km and a charging time of less than one hour, which can reach 50%.
But for now, the two cars are still just concepts.
BMW electric scooter
BMW announced in May this year that BMW is working with urban mobile product manufacturer Micro Mobility Systems to launch an electric scooter with a 150-watt motor in September.
The BMW E-Scooter can reach speeds of 19 kilometers per hour, 12 kilometers of cruising range and two hours of full charge. The 9 kg scooter can also be folded and locked in three folds for easy handling and storage. The retail price of an electric scooter is about £799, or $896.
Universal electric bicycle ARĪV Meld and Merge
General Motors announced a new power-assisted bicycle called ARĪV in February. The line includes the ARĪV Meld electric bike and the ARĪV Merge folding assist bike. Merge can be folded and pushed to move around when not in use.
Both bikes are equipped with a 250-watt battery that takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to fully charge and has a top speed of 64 kilometers per hour.
The bike can be connected to the ARĪV app via Bluetooth so that the driver can view bike information such as speed, distance, and battery level. They are also equipped with front and rear LED lights and a USB port that can be connected to a smartphone, so passengers can also charge their phones while riding.
Unlike other traditional electric bikes, the ARĪV bike has a “walking mode” that engages the electric bike's motor to make walking on steep terrain easier.
These bicycles are now available in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. In Belgium and the Netherlands, Meld sells for €2,800 ($3,135.40) and Merge for €3,400 ($3,807.27). Prices in Germany will vary, with Meld retailing at €2,750 ($3,079.41) and Merge at €3,350 ($375.28).
Peugeot eLC01 electric bicycle
As early as the 19th century, the French car manufacturing trademark Peugeot produced bicycles before the production of cars. After licensing the brand to other manufacturers, the company brought it back internally in 2010.
Since then, the company has developed a full range of electric bikes.
For example, the eLC01 has an aluminum frame and a 30 to 70 km battery life designed for urban cyclists. The bike is nearly 22.6 kg and is equipped with a 400 watt battery and is equipped with integrated lights and LED display.
The eLC01 also comes with a USB port and an aluminum luggage rack that allows passengers to place their luggage basket, baby seat or luggage.