— Urban Transport
Urb-E squeezes onto personal mobility train
The Urb-E electric riding implement folds into a remarkably compact package (Photo: Urb-E)
Compact personal mobility vehicles are a great option for commuters looking to solve the "last mile" problem. The latest such vehicle to hit the streets aimed at filling this need is the Urb-E from Urban Mobility, which claims it is the "world's most compact electric vehicle."
Of course, it all depends on how you define "most compact," but we suspect the makers of electric skateboards, such as the Evolve, the Boosted Board and ZBoard, not to mention the Solowheel and S-Walker, might argue the point. But the claim might hold more water if you add a qualifier of "including a seat" into the equation.
Either way, the Urb-E is definitely compact – we just aren't sure exactly how compact since the company hasn't revealed the dimensions of the vehicle, or its weight. Although, the video below suggests users aren't likely to slip a disk while carrying it on public transport.
The Urb-E is powered by a lithium-ion battery that the company says gives the vehicle a range of 20 miles (32 km) at speeds of up to 15 mph (24 km/h). It basically consists of a seat, a folding triangular frame holding the batteries, two freely rolling wheels about 6 in (15 cm) in diameter at the rear, handlebars, and an 8-10 in (20-25 cm) front drive wheel with an electric hub motor.
There's no word on pricing or availability as yet, but the Urban Mobility team will be at CES this week, with a crowdfunding campaign set to begin in February.
Sources: Urb-E, Autobloggreen
About the Author
From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer.
All articles by Brian Dodson
I don't understand what these devices are for. They would be dangerous for others if driven on the pavement (sidewalk) and illegal for such use in many parts of the world. They would be near-suicidal for users on roads in cities. They are obviously designed for able-bodied users but we have had very good, zero weight 'solutions' for 'the last mile' ever since mankind came down from the trees. They are called feet.
It will probably be a minimum of $3500, and weigh 60lbs. Even so there is a real problem with the front wheel being so small. One small rock and you are going over the handlebars.
I think that is really neat. It does portable. I wonder what the weight limit is for the driver/rider. If they price is not too much, it should do well. I like the choice of colors.
Come on.... anybody looking at the design of this will quickly see that the center of gravity on this is too high for the narrow wheelbase.
Dana is correct any turn more than a couple mph will cause this to tip over.
Nor is it even close to as small as some scooters with seats. I have a Shiwin? one with a seat that is 2/3's the size that is commonly available at only $200. And it'll corner at top speed, unlike the example.
And why not do a full electric chair with a real seat is a much better last mile solution.
Better would be a 20mph personal transport module/wheelchair that can easily have a 40 mile range so no need for buses, trains in many cases. It could even have a fabric cab and heated seat. It'll also carry more things easier for shopping, etc and have a comfortable seat waiting for the train, bus.
And you do want as large dia tires as you can get or as michaelc said or you'll have problems with even a small bump, etc
John these are easily able to ride along with other walkers on sidewalks just as wheelchairs can . I guess you have no experience or you'd know that.
I like the idea but I have to agree with the previous comments. Watching the video it looked like it wanted to tip with uneveness in the sidewalk. The front wheel drive has pros and cons.
With the weight concentrated on the rear wheels it's hard to get traction going up inclines that are even slightly wet. However, I've done work on 3 wheeled scooters with rear wheel drive and you have to put wheelie bars on them to keep from tipping over backwards under heavy acceleration. The high center of gravity and position of the seat contributes greatly to this factor. Even with front wheel drive you could find yourself climbing a serious incline at 15mph by momentum alone. It looks like wheelie bars might be a good option. And a helmut might be in order.
I would like one of these Urb-E scooters. I have neuropathy in my legs so I don't walk too well without crutches. I would like one to go to meetings indoors, visit the mall. This would be easy to carry in the car. A regular senior electric scooter doesn't fit in the car too well. Where can I buy one?
That's embarrassing. As soon as I brought up my comment I saw "helmut" and had to cringe. Just like I do when someone else goofs.
I'm in agreement with Dick VM on the electric scooters. That's the reason I haven't bought one either. I have serious foot problems and I've thought of getting a scooter for work and even though insurance will help it's still not that practical all around.
If I was more ambitious I would build my own making some modifications to cure the problems in the Urb-E.
Jerryd. What the heck is a Shiwin? Are you talking about a bicycle? The Schwinn? How do you equate a bike to this thing. Does the bike folks up? Did you watch the video of the guy trying to get his SHIWIN onto the bus?
Erector Set? Why not hire a decent Industrial Designer to give the whole thing a proper form and function instead this present home-made contraption.
Strikes me this could be foot steered - handle to hang onto with controls, thereby saving weight. It could double as pullalong.
Luggage stowage whilst towed, beside the main frames perhaps, also desirable I would think.
Good for no sweat arrival.
Pavement segregation something to consider - if such as these were ever in great numbers.
Not one of the better examples to have graced this page. I suppose someone will get the right dimensions someday as these proliferate, but it will need a better looking shape - and the use of a better engineering consultant - before I will buy one, and as I am already 67, probably not in my time on this globe.
@Skud Have a look at the Stigo for style.
Me personaly, this one looks like's it can be pulled apart and modded easier, which will help with word of mouth and longevity.
I hope these take off, i'd be hoping to use one for wild forest camping trips. Places maybe 15miles outside a small town and public transport. These things would be great to take the sting out of trips like that. It's so small I could even hide it in undergrowth and not have to spend all my time looking after it.
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning