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Three-wheeled e-scooter offers added stability, but still leans into turns

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June 17, 2013

The Electromobile City Scooter demonstrator vehicle, on display in Hannover

The Electromobile City Scooter demonstrator vehicle, on display in Hannover

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While electric scooters are considerably cheaper and easier to park than electric cars, many people are still put off by the idea of having to balance on two wheels. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering is addressing that problem, with its leaning three-wheeled Electromobile City Scooter.

Ordinarily, trikes can’t lean into turns. On the Fraunhofer scooter, however, the two air-sprung rear wheels are suspended separately, allowing them to move independently of one another. It’s a setup that we’ve seen at least once before, on the Deliver-E Trike.

For the current Electromobile City Scooter demonstrator vehicle, engineering firm GreenIng simply removed the single rear wheel assembly from an existing E-max 110S electric scooter, and swapped in Fraunhofer’s double rear wheels.

A possible future version of Fraunhofer's scooter
A possible future version of Fraunhofer's scooter

“We demonstrated that our idea works on a real scooter,” says project leader Daniel Borrmann. “In the next step, we want to make the vehicle even more comfortable. For example, by means of systems for riding helmet-free, for protecting riders from the elements, and for luggage storage.” Other possibilities include smartphone integration, a heads-up display, inductive charging and an anti-theft system.

The scooter can be seen in use in the video below.

Source: Fraunhofer

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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6 Comments

Three-wheeled vehicles with a single wheel up front are nastily-unstable during breaking around corners - regardless of their ability to lean.

Of the 3-wheel trike scooters, I'd take a Piaggio well before this.

josiahc
17th June, 2013 @ 10:55 pm PDT

Three wheeled non-leaning scooters with a single wheel up front are unstable, yes, but this is one thing a leaning mechanism addresses pretty well. These could be quite useful for inner city use. Getting wet in rain or from puddles is still an issue the proposal does not solve. The people at Fraunhofer's should talk to a Renault Twizy or BMW C1 owner: They have tons of experience getting wet and are willing to pay quite some price for so called doors that keep out at least part of the most common weather phenomena.

The idea of a leaning three wheeler scooter is not new, though, there have been prototypes running when I was a design student back in the early eighties.

martinkopplow
18th June, 2013 @ 05:44 am PDT

Consider that a leaning scooter with two wheels at the front works well. The one wheel in front model often works as well. But as far as braking ability and the tendency to wheelie having two wheels in front is a great asset, Why fight that which works the best? Vespa produces a gas version of a leaning, small, two wheel in front trike and anyone who has ridden one is crazy about how well it rides.

Jim Sadler
18th June, 2013 @ 10:37 am PDT

There are plenty of >2-wheeled scooters. The Piaggio MP3, the Peugeot Metropolis, and the Quadro Parkour are examples. I would rather have two wheels up front for better braking and cornering. The only advantage this unit may have, should it ever get to market, is price.

Bruce H. Anderson
18th June, 2013 @ 12:18 pm PDT

...The Deliver E Trike handles much better by the looks, the e-max appears to be a bit stiff and unnatural in the turns. Check out the cool video of the other one : http://vimeo.com/41967146

Jealous
18th June, 2013 @ 10:45 pm PDT

There are many invalid scooters with 3 wheels and they are dangerous. elderly people are falling over all the time and I advise them to get rid of the 3 wheeler and get a 4 wheeler for the very reasons mentioned above. But as mentioned by others its a bright idea for a high school student, make a good engineer one day.

pointyup
18th September, 2014 @ 07:34 pm PDT
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