Intelligent e-scooter crams multi-purpose batteries into highly portable package
Immotor, a California startup founded by Mophie founder Daniel Huang, offers a stylish, new urban transport solution. Its folding electric Go scooter rolls for up to 20 miles (32 km) around city centers and surrounding environs. The three-mode scooter also works as a power-assist trolley, and its swappable dual battery packs can travel away from the scooter, keeping your laptop, smartphone, blender, and other gadgets and appliances powered up.
The Immotor Go comes powered by buyer's choice of 250- or 350-watt hub drive integrated into the front wheel. Dual rear wheels add stability and make it easy to hop on and ride, even in high heels, apparently, as a couple of the photos depict. Adjustable dual-spring front and rear suspension helps the rider turn and navigate over variable terrain. All of the controls, including acceleration, braking, horn, cruise control and front LED light are integrated neatly into the handlebar grips for easy operation. In addition to a 20-mile maximum range, the Go has a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
The Go transforms between three different modes in a matter of seconds. Fully deployed "ride" mode readies it for rolling you over the street, handlebars adjusting in height to accommodate riders between 4 and 6.7 feet (1.2 and 2 m). The handlebars also fold and retract down into the body and the foot platform folds up to create a compact, fully folded package for storing and transporting. The third mode sees the foot platform folded but the rear wheels extended slightly and handlebars left up, creating a power-assist trolley designed to help you move a backpack or other hangable cargo. The multi-speed electric drive offers low speeds down to 1 mph (1.6 km), so it is capable of rolling along at walking speed.
The scooter looks quite nice, but the Go's real selling point might be its multifunctional lithium "Super Battery" system. The scooter is powered by one or two removable, swappable battery packs inside a compartment in the main front body. These batteries charge in a matter of three to four hours, either in the scooter or in the accompanying dock. Each battery includes a microchip and operating system that offers power management and safety protocols. The battery even lets you know (via an app) if something is wrong and when it needs replacing.
Beyond being swappable and easy to remove and charge, what's cool about the battery packs is that they're built to be used on their own, away from the Go. The battery cells are encased in a water-resistant rigid metal shell, with internal shock absorbers improving impact resistance. The packs are built this way so they can be used as large, modular portable power sources.
Immotor plans to offer plug-in accessories, including an inverter with AC outlet that allows the battery to power a small appliance, such as a hair dryer or blender, and charge up everyday mobile gadgets like laptops, tablets and smartphones. A separate lighting kit will turn the battery pack into a portable flashlight or stationary desk light. Those are the only two modules mentioned, but it's easy to imagine Immotor expanding the lineup in the future.
This portable power capability makes the Immotor Go useful well beyond urban commuting and could be helpful for everything from traveling, to working remotely in the field, to camping and more. Immotor offers the batteries in both 150 Wh size, providing 10 miles (16 km) of range per battery (two batteries = the 20-mile max range) and 99 Wh size, which is designed to meet restrictions for flying with batteries. The 99 Wh batteries provide up to 7 miles (11 km) of range each.
Back aboard the Go, the batteries power more than just the hub drive. The Go is packed with a variety of features, including a distinctive Y-shaped LED front light, LED brake light, weatherproof 5 W Bluetooth speaker for music play, and a black-and-white display. The display runs a custom operating system that Immotor plans to offer over-the-air updates for and shows information like battery life, speed, distance, ride mode and more.
Like so many electric transporters out there, the Go includes a smartphone app, but it integrates it a little deeper than many other scooters. The smartphone works as the owner's key to unlock the Go, and the owner can use the app to transfer that capability to another user's smartphone, like if a friend or family member is going to borrow it for the day. The app also allows for GPS tracking, parental control, customization of the horn and lights, and more. And the scooter can also be used to control the smartphone in certain ways, including snapping a selfie with a docked smartphone via a dedicated button on the left grip, no need to fiddle around with the smartphone itself.
Some app functions, like granting access to another user, require a data plan for the integrated SIM card. This card also allows the scooter to send GPS location information to the app, so the user can track the location remotely and set up security measures.
In terms of basic specifications, the Go weighs 31 lb (14 kg) when loaded with two batteries, each of which weighs about 1.75 lb (0.8 kg). The scooter measures 9.4 x 12.4 x 31.5 in (24 x 32 x 80 cm) when folded up completely. The 5.5-in wheels are wrapped in solid rubber no-flat tires. It carries riders up to 265 lb (120 kg).
Immotor is currently running an Indiegogo campaign. Because it's offering two sizes of batteries, two individual hub drives and a few other options, the campaign has more pledge levels than average, ranging between US$449 for a 250 W scooter with single 99 Wh battery to $1,099 for a 350 W model with dual 150 Wh batteries and a variety of other options, including lighter carbon fiber/magnesium construction, dual battery charging dock, inverter module with AC plug, LED light conversion kit, accompanying backpack and more. All pledge levels include a one-year data plan (that's how they hook ya) and an AC charger. Retail pricing is estimated between $749 and $1,749.
The $399 pledge level already sold out, and Immotor met its $45,000 goal just 18 hours after launching the campaign earlier this week. It's now closing in on double that goal. If all goes as planned, Immotor will start shipping fully assembled scooters in March 2017.
See more of the Go scooter in the 3-minute video below.