Mini and Smart unveil electric scooters
The Mini Scooter E concept and Smart escooter are both wholly electric vehicles, designed for use in town. Their makers say they embody all the attributes of their four-wheeled siblings; and, while they could be used alongside an existing car, they could also attract younger drivers, who don't already have a car.
Both scooters have zero CO2 tailpipe emissions, but thanks to their low weight and compact dimensions allied to the instant pick-up of electric power, their makers say they provide the fun drive of their cars, and are very agile in typical urban situations.
In both cases a lithium-ion battery powers the scooter, which is driven by an electric motor housed in the rear wheel. This can be recharged at a conventional power socket, meaning the scooters do not have to rely on dedicated charging stations.
The design of Mini's scooter is in keeping with the company's cars – the headlights, for instance, deliberately echo those on the Countryman, while the protruding front indicators are inspired by the classic Mini.
In addition, it also includes the kind of personalisation options typical of Mini cars, and two versions of the concept will be on show. One, finished in British Racing Green, is aimed at single riders and gives a more sporty feel, while the other is a two-seater styled to look more like the electric Mini E car.
The Mini scooter is also designed with the latest technology in mind, and the centre console includes a snap-in adaptor for a smartphone. Not only does this act as the vehicle's key, it also allows the integration of entertainment and navigation systems, and can be connected via Bluetooth to the rider's helmet.
The escooter uses a very similar system, with the phone acting as both the speedometer and range indicator. It also follows Mini's scooter by incorporating elements from the company's other products.
Not only is the escooter's colour scheme inspired by that of the electric Smart Fortwo, its basic structure is based on the tridion safety cell in the Fortwo, while the vehicle also includes anti-lock brakes, an airbag and a blind-spot warning system.
The Smart scooter has a maximum speed of 28mph and a range of just under 60 miles, and can be recharged within three to five hours.