The rise of the electric scooter

Photo courtesy of BMW.

Electric bicycles are fun, and practical, particularly for commuters who face steep hills and the occasional strong headwind. Breaking a morning sweat in a business suit, after all, doesn’t make for a nice-smelling workplace come late in the afternoon.

But bicycles in general can be somewhat of a pain for citizens of large cities, where getting from point A to B is often a lengthy distance that may require public transit or a car. Hauling a bicycle along for such a journey tends to be inconvenient, so many refuse to bother.

With its Mini Citysurfer concept scooter, BMW is looking to fill what it calls “gaps in the transportation infrastructure of modern cities.” This electric scooter, powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, weighs only 18 kilograms and can fold up, making it easy to transport in the back seat, rear hatch or trunk of even the smallest cars.

The scooter can travel up to 25 kilometres an hour, has a range of up to 25 kilometres, and boasts regenerative breaking technology. If the battery dies, you can still push it along manually like a conventional scooter. At the heart of this scooter is an e-bike drive system from Markham, Ontario-based BionX, a spinoff of autoparts maker Magna International.

No word yet from BMW on when this high-tech scooter will go into commercial production, and where it will be sold if it does, but the Mini Citysurfer will certainly hold appeal for those big-city dwellers looking for another sustainable transportation option. That’s assuming, of course, the price is right.

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