Tom Piszkin used to coach triathletes at the University of California San Diego, plus he sold bikes to students at a local store. The latter, he tells us, showed him "the mobility challenges faced by students on campus." This prompted him to invent the JackRabbit electric "scooter," which is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign.

First of all, Piszkin claims that the vehicle is "not a bike, not a scooter," but we don't know what else to call it.

Featuring a powder-coated monocoque aluminum frame, the whole thing weighs less than 20 lb (9 kg), accommodates riders up to 240 lb (109 kg) and is just 4 feet long (1.2 m), letting it remain nimble on pedestrian walkways. Additionally, its handlebars can be turned sideways and its footrests can be folded up, allowing it to be stored in tight spaces.

Its 36-volt rear hub motor takes it to a top speed of 18 mph (29 km/h), and is powered by a 36V/4.8Ah integrated battery pack – a 2-hour charge is reportedly good for a range of about 13 miles (21 km), with a display of four LEDs showing the current charge level.

Using a handlebar-mounted speed switch, riders are able to choose between Climb, Coast and Cruise modes. That switch can be removed when the scooter is left unattended, making the vehicle unusable to thieves.

Other features include a no-flat nitrogen foam-filled front tire (the rear tire has an anti-puncture liner), a USB port for charging devices from its battery, and a single rear V-brake.

If you're interested in getting a JackRabbit, pledges start at US$449, with delivery estimated for December assuming it reaches production. The planned retail price is $899.

The scooter – or whatever you want to call it – can be seen in action, in the video below.

View gallery - 5 images