New electric scooter adapts to its owner’s riding habits
Indian startup 22Motors recently launched a new electric commuter and ran a first batch of pre-orders that sold out immediately. What makes the Flow stand out is not its typical gear, but rather its accompanying software that employs artificial intelligence to offer services tailored for its rider.
Following in the footsteps of the booming domestic market, India's automotive industry is expanding at an explosive rate. As startups are continuously popping up, their offerings often reveal that they are gradually reaching the level of maturity that is required to unlock western markets, and 22Motors is a prime example.
Based in Gurugram, at the outskirts of New Delhi, 22Motors set out to create a modern electric commuter with good performance for its class, eponymous gear, a set of innovative tricks and, above all, affordable pricing.
The Flow scooter was first introduced to the Indian public as a prototype last November, and then returned as a production model at the Indian Auto Expo last February, launching an online pre-order form that sold out during the exhibition.
When going through its specs, the Flow seems like any other typical electric scooter; classic styling, simple lines, common engineering. 22Motors developed its own cloud-connected Li-ion batteries and controller, powering a 2.1 kW Bosch hub motor in the rear wheel for a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph). The motor is also equipped with a regenerative braking system that can recycle six percent of the battery.
The spec sheet doesn't reveal any details on the batteries themselves, other than that the Flow can be fitted with up to two packs, with which it achieves a maximum range of 160 km (100 mi). Fast charging is supported, and it can bring a battery up to 70 percent in one hour, yet there's no information on the corresponding time on a standard home outlet.
Where the Flow starts to set itself apart is in its accompanying application. 22Motors calls it Contact Learning, and it relies on artificial intelligence to offer added value to the owner. The app caters for most of the typical features we expect to find in modern vehicles, like Bluetooth connectivity and alerts with useful information on road conditions, traffic, etc.
Apart from these, 22Motors' software identifies the owner's riding behavior, and issues warnings when any unusual change is detected. It also adjusts service intervals accordingly and will even order spare parts automatically ahead of time.
Relying on the GPS and GPRS kits that are installed as standard on the Flow, the app allows for geo-fencing services, notifying the owner when the scooter moves outside its common route. This can be used as a basic anti-theft system, but it would also be very useful in professional applications. In fact, 22Motors has incorporated advanced fleet management features in its software, such as monitoring fleet movement and offering suggestions for more efficient planning.
Finally, the scooter uploads usage data to the cloud, giving the rider the chance to review stored information on riding analytics, battery usage and even allow for remote diagnostics.
For the time being, 22Motors is gearing up to get the Flow to the Indian market, with the first scooters expected to become available in August. So far there's no word on export plans, but the Flow seems good enough to hold its own in any market, so we wouldn't be surprised if this were the next step. And, with a starting price of just US$1,125 in India, it would probably be able to achieve a lot more than just hold its own.