Our coverage of the Paris Motor Show thus far has focused on hybrids and EVs from major automakers. This major event in the global auto industry tends to focus on automobiles as primary forms of mobility. Automakers like smart and MINI are attempting to shift this traditional view of transportation with prototypes for electric scooters. These concepts have been presented not only as alternatives to cars and trucks but also symbols of advanced technology needed for sustainable transportation.
The eScooter by smart is powered by a 4kW electric motor attached to the rear wheel. The automaker also uses a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack to keep the eScooter on the road. This concept scooter features a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour with a battery range of 62 miles per charge. Consumers purchasing a production version of the eScooter could also acquire a smart drive kit with smart phone. This phone would need to be docked in order to shut down the alarm system and start the motor. The smart phone dock could also display street maps, a speedometer and a battery range indicator.
The MINI Scooter E concept features comparable performance to the eScooter while building on its connectivity infrastructure. The Scooter E runs on a lithium-ion battery and rear-wheel motor similar to the eScooter. The speedometer features a fluid display that expands as speed increases and contracts as the driver approaches a dead stop. MINI noted that the smart phone dock on the Scooter E would act as the key. Drivers would be able to track their speed, complete calls and listen to music through their smart phones. MINI would also sell a Bluetooth-enabled helmet as part of its MINI Collection that allows for hands-free calls.
These scooter concepts show that future innovation in the auto market may come from unlikely sources. Gas-powered scooters have been popular in Europe and Asia for decades with slower adoption in North America. MINI and smart are interested in catering to these markets in addition to highlighting their advancements in vehicle connectivity. Neither of these concepts is anticipated to turn into production models but they represent where the auto industry is heading. The next generation of EVs, hybrids and alt-fuel vehicles will no doubt feature smart phone docks to accompany improvements in fuel consumption.