(Images: Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group execs evidently read a study from McKinsey & Company that projects the market for “last mile mobility” will be $500-billion (U.S.) in Europe, China and the U.S. by 2030, so they tasked their researchers to optimize a concept electric scooter that they’d shown at CES 2017.
After all, no one wants to ignore a market of that magnitude. So changes were made to the earlier version.
The 2017 model was front-wheel drive. The 2019 concept is a rear-drive setup. According to Hyundai, this approach improves stability by having the weight moved to the rear of the plank. What’s more, there is suspension added to the front wheel to improve the ride.
The scooter is powered by a 10.5-Ah lithium battery. It can achieve a top speed of 12.4 mph (remember, this is a speed on a scooter, so it is going to seem a whole lot faster than it would in a Sonata). And the range is approximately 12.4 miles, although one suspects that were one to be going at the top speed the range would be somewhat truncated. There is a digital display that provides both speed and range information to the driver/rider. The engineers are working on a regenerative braking system that may increase range by as much as 7%.
The scooter has a tri-fold design and weighs approximately 17 pounds, so it is luggable.
Of course, Hyundai Motor Group isn’t giving up on four-wheeled Hyundais and Kias. Plans call for the integration of a scooter and a vehicle such that the scooter is changed while the vehicle is traveling so it is ready to go that last mile.
DongJin Hyun, head of Hyundai Motor Group Robotics Team, said: “We want to make our customers’ lives as easy and enjoyable as possible. Our personal electric scooter makes first- and last-mile commuting a joy, while helping to reduce congestion and emissions in city centers.”
Of course, pedestrians dodging vehicles traveling at 12 mph on the sidewalk may think somewhat differently.
Elio Motors is something of a brash company.
Although all OEMs and suppliers do their utmost best to assure nothing but top-notch quality is achieved for their vehicles and systems, sometimes things simply go wrong because, well, that’s just how the Universe is.