Rover electric scooter prepares to tackle road or dirt
By Paul Ridden
June 21, 2013
Kick scooters like those from Razor can make first/last mile journeys a bit more fun, but they can also be hard work. If you've got a bit of time on your hands, and some technical know-how, you could funk it up a bit with an electric drive and chunky tires for both street and off-road action. For those who prefer to buy an e-scooter that's ready to roll without needing to hit the toolbox, news from Portland may well ignite a spark of interest. Having set out on a quest to build the world's greatest compact electric vehicle, the folks at Works Electric say they've succeeded with the Rover.
The Rover electric scooter has a reported fuel economy equivalent of 606 MPGe, and is claimed to offer the highest power to weight ratio of any vehicle in its class. It benefits from aluminum construction and is hand-built in Portland, Oregon (with many components sourced locally). The e-scooter is 50 inches (127 cm) long and 15.25 inches (38.8 cm) wide at the deck, and stands 46-inches (116.8 cm) high in riding mode, but collapses down to 21 inches (53 cm) for between ride transport.
"The folding mechanism is very special," says Brad Baker from Works Electric. "It incorporates a sleeve locking mechanism that makes folding and unfolding the front end extremely easy. To fold the front end you pull the outer sleeve of the mechanism towards you and depress the button, once the sleeve passes over the button, the mechanism disengages and the front end can be folded. To unfold the front-end you simply lift the front end back into the upright position and the outer sleeve automatically pops back into the locked position once it hits the correct spot. The whole process takes all of about 5 seconds to do."
There are actually two models in the offing, both having a 3-phase brushless DC motor and 120 amp controller, with an Omega HP belt driving the rear wheel. The Rover features Avid disc braking at the front and a foot brake at the back. There are three travel modes, steady glow LED lights point forward and backward, and 6-inch wide, 13-inch diameter chunky tires make it good for both road and dirt.
The handlebar sports a smartphone cradle that can also charge the docked device via USB, and there is a Rover-specific app in development that will display performance information relating to the scooter. Baker told us that customers will be directed to favored speedo apps in the meantime. If standing's not your thing, a custom-made seat can be fitted to the rear of the deck.
The standard model tips the scales at 84 lb (38 kg) and packs a 36 V, 770 Wh Works HE36-20 Li-ion battery pack that should power the motor for up to 18 miles (29 km) between charges, with regenerative braking helping a little. Charge time is 3.5 hours using a portable outboard charger. Works Electric reports that the battery should be good for "well over 10 years if cared for properly, but if you want to change it out it's pretty darn easy, and can be done by the owner." This version has a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h).
The BR version has been treated to a 36 V, 1,540 Wh Works HE36-40 Li-ion battery pack for a range of up to 36 miles (58 km) and a top speed to 33 mph (53 km/h). As you might expect, charge time is double that of the standard model and the it's slightly heavier at 96 lb (43.5 kg).
The standard model in black or white is priced at US$4,970, while the BR comes in at $5,920. If you want a different color, that will cost you at least $200 extra.
As a thank you for your belief in the company, the first ten buyers will also get a small share in Works Electric, unlimited technical support for 12 months and a say in the design of new products. Shipping of the first models will start in September. Beyond that, a new small-scale production run will commence every two to three months.
Source: Works Electric