As we transition to a completely connected world, why not add our private mode of transportation to the list of connected objects? Silicon Valley-based Mahindra has unveiled its new e-scooter, the GenZe 2.0, which connects to the cloud via a 7-in Cruise-Connect touchscreen display that shows speed, range, charge level, energy consumption, and lets users customize their ride.
To connect riders, the GenZe packs a 3G modem and SIM card that links the e-scooter to the internet and allows the vehicle to transfer data to the company cloud server over TCP using a proprietary protocol. The GenZe 2.0 is always connected to the company’s cloud server, continuously sending maintenance and performance data, including drive summaries, prognostics and remote diagnostics, vehicle tracking and rider feedback.
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The data can be used to provide service alerts, user feedback and for fleet management purposes. All the diagnostic and performance information can be delivered to the rider’s smartphone wirelessly from the cloud, which links to the GenZe 2.0 companion app available for Android and iOS devices.
The company is hoping to make it so that the rider does not need to take out a separate data plan for the scooter, and is talking to service providers regarding possible options, which at the time of writing this article are not finalized. The idea is to provide connectivity between e-scooter and cloud at no cost, though.
While the GenZe Cruise-Connect system monitors the vehicle, it collects a wide range of data that includes battery cycle number, battery pack current and voltage, cell voltages and temperatures, battery wattage and status, and energy per mile, to name but a few. These variables are constantly being uploaded to the cloud and will be used in case there are any problems with the vehicle.
For instance, if a rider is having issues with the battery, the GenZe technicians are able to access the data from the Cruise-Connect System to see the battery's past performance. This way, they will be able to diagnose and quickly fix the problem.
Designed with urban and campus commuters in mind, the GenZe 2.0 comes with a lightweight, cast-aluminum exoskeleton chassis. The vehicle's large front wheel and low center of gravity are designed to offer stability and ease of use, and visibility at night is helped along by LED lighting.
Powering the e-scooter is a brushless permanent magnet hub motor and 1.6 kWh removable, replaceable lithium-ion battery combination. The battery can be recharged from any standard electrical outlet, avoiding compatibility issues and giving users a high degree of flexibility with no special plugs and ports required. Users need to allow for 3.5 hours for a full charge, which should be good for a range of 30 miles (48.3 km).
The Gen-Ze 2.0 features single piston hydraulic disc brakes front and rear and also incorporates regenerative braking technology, which makes it possible to absorb braking energy to charge the battery. The front suspension is a telescopic oil damped front fork with internal coil springs, while the rear suspension consists of a twin oil damped coil over a swing arm.
To start the vehicle, GenZe has created a passcode system. When the driver turns on the vehicle, a numerical key pad comes up on the screen and the rider must enter a passcode before the vehicle will start. After that, there’s no need for a key, the rider just needs to twist the throttle and off they go. The scooter can reach a speed of 30 mph (48.3 km/h) and it takes up to eight seconds to go from standstill to top speed.
The Cruise-Connect display also allows riders to customize performance to suit different riding abilities and needs. For the more skilled, the Sport mode allows higher speeds, the Economy mode increases travel range, while the Easy mode is aimed at novice riders who are still getting to grips with two-wheeled transportation.
Another useful feature is the slanted seat that allows riders to choose between two seating positions. If they want to have a better view of traffic, the seat flips up to support the rider in a semi-standing position. To get back to a more relaxed position, the seat clicks back down.
The design was conceived with practicalities in mind, with generous rear storage space to carry shopping and personal belongings. The carrying capacity is 275 lb (125 kg), plus cargo. GenZe tells Gizmag that ideally the cargo should not exceed 35 lb (15.8 kg), although the company has successfully tested it carrying loads of 75 lb (34 kg). Another touch of convenience is a mobile phone charging port in the under-seat storage compartment.
For those wishing to customize their scooter, Mahindra offers a range of accessories for the storage compartment and the option to have a larger windshield.
The cloud-connected e-scooter will be available in a few months in three different colors (black, gray and white). The introductory price is US$2,999, and the pre-order process is open now.
The video below shows the GenZe 2.0 in action.