VW eScooter: cheap urban mobility

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Not wanting to be the only German economy car brand without an electric scooter concept, VW dropped this eScooter at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this week. What makes it any different than the MINI Scooter E and Smart escooter (some naming conflict there)? Well VW’s building this thing not for European cities, but for Chinese ones, which means a sub $1,000 price, NiMH batteries and a weight of just 44lbs (without those batteries).

What makes the VW eScooter relevant enough to report on? Well, it’s part of a recent surge of interest among carmakers in the electric scooter market. As those car companies attempt to inundate emerging markets, they’re finding that even their cheapest models are only affordable to relatively mature, affluent buyers and need a way to involve younger people in their brands. Electric scooters are being evaluated as an affordable, practical means to do just that and, as such, are receiving the R&D attentions of some of the biggest companies on earth.

Because this little VW is so cheap and light, it doesn’t offer much in the way of range or speed. Just 25 miles and 30mph. It does, however, come with removable batteries and VW hinted at a more powerful version should the eScooter ever reach markets outside China, where it’ll be rolled out in small test fleets next year.

via Autocar

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

    Damn shame about the name of all three scooters. It’s cool that larger companies are looking at two-wheeled options, but good lord. Did someone forget to name all three scooters?

    Saladtosser: “What’s VW calling this concept?”
    VW Rep: “Ah… it’s the uhm… e… uh… scooter. Yes! Yes, the escooter.”
    Saladtosser: “Isn’t that the same name as Smart’s concept?”
    VW Rep: “Uh, no. No! It’s totally different. Ours has a capital S on Scooter!”
    Saladtosser: “Awesome, that makes sense! This is getting a perfect review, just you wait.”

    • Andy Keech

      i don’t think it’s that they forgot, but the marketing idiots are still stuck in the naming conventions of 10 years ago and totally unwilling to break from them even when presenting radical evolutions of product in new markets.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

        Reality is too depressing for me.

        At least they knew better than to get in a lawsuit for iScooter. Then again, maybe Apple will join the fray, too. Why not?

  • robotribe

    Sub $1,000? THIS is to China as the VW beetle was to everywhere else in the 60s.

    • Ducky

      It would be. Except that a lot of Chinese scooters already flooding the market are between 300-700 dollars.

  • Thom

    It looks like a Kids Toy .

    I have a hard time imagining even the Chinese markets Adults ( and young adults ) buying into a vehicle that looks like it belongs in FAO Schwarz .

  • Ted

    Bring it here. I’ll buy one for less than $1k.

    • zipp4

      +1

    • Kevin

      OK, but it’ll cost $2K to bring it to standards approval.

  • ken

    are there any actual photos the pictures all appear to be cad renderings

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      There’s old timey photographs in the gallery.

  • Scott-jay

    Too slow.

  • Ed

    This looks like a cheap CAD demo project from 1990, cocked up by some Engineering student with poor prospects. They must be putting all the money into the batteries, because it looks like they spent sub $1k on the design.

    The wheels are good though — evokes the hub caps and white walls of old VW bugs. An excellent way to cover the bulk of the hub motors. Keep those, go back to the drawing board with everything else.

    • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

      +1

  • Ducky

    The range isn’t crazy, but the speed is. Considering most scooters in China right now are limited to 32 km/h, this is actually quite fast.

    It’s a good move though, considering the electric scooter is now EVERYWHERE in China- I think they’re going to outpace the number of bicycles at this point.

  • T Diver

    Please do a feature on a motorcycle that actually looks [is] cool. Just because it has 2 wheels does not make it interesting. (Sorry, work is slow).

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Like the one featured above this story?

  • bluemoco

    This is VW’s Sportster – simply a low-cost entry point to the brand’s other products in China.

    • dux

      I think this could be faster and better handling than a Sportster….