If Apple made an electric scooter

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There’s so much that this electric scooter gets right. The first thing you noticed obviously is the design, but it’s not just there to look good. The distinctive wheels? They’re the same size, meaning you fit the same tires front and rear. The single-sided rear? That’s there to enable easy wheel removal, a traditional electric scooter bugbear. The flat floor hides the removable battery pack (good for 35 miles) but you can double that with the addition of a supplementary pack which locks to the bike, but comes with backpack straps. Moving parts? Aside from the levers and suspension, there’s only the two wheel bearings. That means  Fido is virtually maintenance free. It’s going to be made in America too.

The Fremont Fido was designed and built by Jeb Gast, a member of the infamous Bathroom Burnout Gang and a scooter mechanic in Seattle. He told us he spends all day working on electric scooters and had become enormously frustrated with how unnecessarily complex they are, so he decided to do better himself.

“It took a lot of work to make Fido this simple,” says Jeb.

Fido can hit 45mph thanks to a 7bhp motor and has 70-mile range with the addition of that supplementary battery pack. That’s better than most 50cc scooters. If you don’t need the extra range, that backpack becomes a lockable, wearable storage compartment. The standard underfloor battery pack lifts out to reveal a telescoping handle and little wheels, meaning you can pull it like luggage. The rear rack should also come in handy.

LIke most other electric scoots, Fido mounts its motor in the rear wheel hub, but does so in a new way. Usually the wiring and motor mounts make removing the rear wheel stupidly complicated, adding time and cost to tire changes. On Fido, the wheel is connected to the motor by four bolts. Remove those and it’s off. Jeb says this solution was inspired by Dakar bikes.

Making the front and rear tires the same size means you’ll be able to rotate them when the front begins to cup, saving you even more money. This will also make it easy for future dealers to stock common parts.

Jeb says he was inspired by post-war Italian scooters in terms of style, but also simplicity. It used to be that Vespas and their ilk were the simplest, cheapest vehicles on the road, leading to their ubiquity. Combing a retro aesthetic with modern simplicity, Fido brings a touch of the analog to a product which is overtly futuristic. Could such a vehicle be what’s needed to push electric two-wheeled transportation into the American mainstream?

Jeb plans to build five prototypes in order to garner interest then, if enough interest or backing is reached, put Fido into production in his native Seattle. It’s being launched at a party there as we speak.

Fremont Motors

  • Miles Prower

    Just got back today from one of my regular trips to Tokyo, where scooters and small displacement motorcycles (as well as super-hipster fixed-gear bikes — but that’s another story) are everywhere. And then I see this sucker — designed and engineered right here in the USA by someone who’s knee-deep in real-world tinkering, not some disconnected “designer” trying to sell us some bullsh*t design-college “vision.”

    Awesome.

    • Ian

      not some disconnected “designer” trying to sell us some bullsh*t design-college “vision.”

      Exactly.

  • duncanbojangles

    Is this scooter huge or is the woman modelling the bike extremely tiny?

    My only concern is the shoulder straps on the auxiliary battery pack catching the rider’s feet when they come to a stop.

  • Sean Smith

    I would actually be interested in this. I’m not completely sure of the laws regarding the registration and licensing on things like this, but it appears that you just ride it as a bicycle? Seems like a nifty way to cruise around the beach or go bar hopping.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Nah. Moped registration is typically 30mph and under for electrics. This does 45. Motorcycle license.

      • Martin

        I could see them eventually making a (cheaper?) 30mph version to fit the same market/regulatory niche as 50cc scooters. SoundSpeed already sells electric vintage Vespa conversions that have a top speed of 35 mph that don’t require a motorcycle endorsement, at least in Washington State.

  • Dumptruckfoxtrot

    I hope this gains enough support, I’d love to see these scooters all over the city. It needs a can of flat black paint though, just so it goes faster.

  • Daniel

    At first sight i thought it was ugly.
    Then i read the article and agree its not that ugly, that design has a purpose and is not just “lets make an ipad with 2 wheels”. I think it needs more work on the backpack battery, i wouldnt wear that thing if it isnt just to pick the battery from my flat to the bike.

    Also, i would be concerned about it getting stealed…without the batteries it must be so light that any 2 teenagers could pick it up and transport it easily. You cant always chain the bike to a solid thing, or carry the chain with you. That, and any kid with a screwdriver could leave it without tires in less than a minute! :O

    Anyway its got some really strong points, keep the good work! :)

  • Ed

    Okay, the design is growing on me. Putting a cute girl on it helped. Something about the proportions is just a little off … like something this minimal should have the same diameter of pipe at both the seat tube and steering section. The handlebar set looks almost too wispy compared with the rest of the bike. I want the leg shield to come up a little more too. Love the luggage rack and the wheels too. Can certainly tell this came from Free-thinking Fremont!

  • Mattro

    love the innovation and i’m partial to precocious industrial design, so this is right up my alley.

    in other news, big thumbs up for the site re-directing to the last article after logging in instead of back to the main page.

  • Miles Prower

    If Apple made a scooter, it’d be overpriced, made in China — and the battery would be non-removable. But at least my wife would want to ride it.

    (And more importantly, it would convince millions of people to become scooter riders — and it would spark all the major manufacturers to get off their asses and move beyond ICEs.)

  • Michael

    It’s not Apple level design. You think an Apple scooter would have those ugly visible wheel and frame bolts? And the unattractive chunky headlight/instrument module?

    It’s totally cool, but it’s no beauty.

    More attention needs to be paid to storage. It’s a scooter. You ride it around town. You carry stuff. If I have this I’m using the battery pack so the lockable storage option isn’t. That back rack? In the form vs function discussion it’s pretty easy to see who won there. “Gimme something I can use!”

    Seems like a better featured back rack would be a good chance to sell some add-ons, as well. An accessory platform.

    Maybe some kind of slim eyeglass\ipod\camera\license&reg holder in the area of base of the neck. Or something.

  • http://rohorn.blogspot.com rohorn

    An awful lot of them would sell just so the buyers can spray paint them dull hues, slather it with camo tape, and apply tredgy stickers at witty angles all over that statement board on the front.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    NERD ALERT ;)

  • Ian

    Jeb- Awesome work. This is exactly the design/engineering approach that is missing from so many (all) consumer products today. To boot, you may have just the market niche to make the venture sustainable.

    Can’t wait to see some cute Ballard girls zooming to work downtown on these.

    • Martin

      The 45mph top speed is still a bit too slow for the direct route from Ballard to downtown (via Interbay)

      Nonetheless, I hope they succeed and make one that’s just a bit faster so I can justify buying one.

    • Dumptruckfoxtrot

      I pegged it more as a Capitol Hill scoot.

  • fasterfaster

    dig it

  • Miles Prower

    I tipped Engadget to this article when it was first published. Engadget posted about the scooter and credited Hell for Leather:

    Fremont Motors shows off Fido electric scooter prototype

    Comments are hilarious. Like these:

    Deavent
    For when a proper scooter isn’t repelling women enough as it is

    glocker62p
    What do a Fido and a fat girl have in common? Once your friends find out you’re riding one they’ll never let you hear the end of it.

  • jeb

    yes, they should have built a Harley with a compartment for my sunglsses.