The automobile has, for the past century, been the symbol of personal mobility, but that is rapidly changing as other options become more widely available. And Volkswagen is showing the ideas it has in mind at the Geneva Motor Show.
The automaker’s Streetmate and Cityskater are two different takes on the concept of electric scooters, and while they’re just for show, at the moment, few would be surprised to see them go into production, especially as competitors such as General Motors make similar moves.
“With mobile solutions such as Streetmate and Cityskater, visitors and residents in cities around the world will soon be able to leave their cars at home, opting instead for smaller zero-emission vehicles to get around,” the automaker explained, ahead of the Geneva debut of the two e-scooters.
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Streetmate is the bigger of the two and offers an intriguing solution for those who might prefer to sit, rather than stand while traveling from Point A to Point B. The longer-range of the two e-scooters, Streetmate features a seat that folds out of the handlebar pillar.
It’s powered by a 1.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that is built into the floor of the e-scooter, much like the latest generation of battery-electric vehicles. At a charging station, VW says, it takes just over two hours to bring a drained battery back to life, but the pack also can be removed and recharged at your home or office.
Streetmate produces 2.7 horsepower, can hit a top speed of 28 mph and has a range of up to 21 miles under normal conditions – and that can be extended in “Eco Mode.”
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The e-scooter even has regenerative disc brakes to recapture energy normally lost during braking and coasting and it boasts ABS to keep it stable during hard deceleration.
There’s a high-resolution, 5.3-inch weatherproof color display that handles a number of functions and it can be hooked up to a smartphone to provide navigation. The phone also serves as a digital key using the Streetmate app.
The Streetmate isn’t light, weighing in at 143 pounds. The Cityskater, at a more manageable 33 pounds, is a more portable option. It can fold up for easy carrying, though you lose the fold-out seat.
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The unusual three-wheeler was designed for “last-mile travel,” letting you easily handle the last leg of an urban journey quickly and easily.
“Unlike a conventional skateboard or scooter, the Cityskater has a footboard with a front wheel for each leg,” VW explains. “Steering is similar to skiing, as the skateboard is steered by intuitively shifting weight from one leg to the other; a control rod provides the necessary stability and is used to start, accelerate and brake the doubleboard.”
It’s 0.2 kWh lithium battery provides enough energy to power a ½ horsepower electric motor at speeds up to 12 mph. It boasts disc brakes and even a horn, and can carry up to 265 pounds.
Cityskater’s range is 9 miles. Using a European 230-volt outlet, the e-scooter can get a 50% charge – good for about 4.7 miles – in less than an hour.
As for production plans, VW appear to be quite serious about the more portable of the two, saying, “The Cityskater is currently being evaluated for homologation; the goal is to obtain approval for use on cycle paths.”
VW isn’t the only automaker looking at micromobility. Among others, General Motors just a month ago officially launched an electric bike business dubbed ARĪV. It will be selling two models, the compact Meld and the foldable Merge. Initial plans call for them to be sold in Germany and the Netherlands.