Urban Transport

$800 Kiwano K01 monowheel electric scooter ticks all the boxes

$800 Kiwano K01 monowheel elec...
With a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, the Kiwano K01 trumps the current marketplace offerings on most key points
With a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, the Kiwano K01 trumps the current marketplace offerings on most key points
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One of the key points regarding the Kiwano K01 which should significantly increase rider comfort in comparison to most transportation appliances is that it has suspension
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One of the key points regarding the Kiwano K01 which should significantly increase rider comfort in comparison to most transportation appliances is that it has suspension
The Kiwano K01 has LED lights front and rear 
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The Kiwano K01 has LED lights front and rear 
The Kiwano K01
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The Kiwano K01
The Kiwano K01
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The Kiwano K01
At rest, the Kiwano K01 has a kickstand which can be retracted 
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At rest, the Kiwano K01 has a kickstand which can be retracted 
The Kiwano K01
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The Kiwano K01
The Kiwano K01
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The Kiwano K01
The Kiwano K01
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The Kiwano K01
The Kiwano K01
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The Kiwano K01
The speedo for the Kiwano K01 is an LCD display
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The speedo for the Kiwano K01 is an LCD display
The Kiwano K01 offers a far greater payload than most transportation appliances, and is claimed to be capable of carrying riders up to 550lbs (250kgs)
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The Kiwano K01 offers a far greater payload than most transportation appliances, and is claimed to be capable of carrying riders up to 550lbs (250kgs)
The Kiwano K01 employs "body English" for steering, acceleration and braking, as with most other self-balancing machinery
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The Kiwano K01 employs "body English" for steering, acceleration and braking, as with most other self-balancing machinery
The Kiwano K01
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The Kiwano K01
The spec sheet for the Kiwano K01
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The spec sheet for the Kiwano K01
The Kiwano K01 launches this week with a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, offering some considerable advantages over anything else in its class and a viable commuter for under US$1000. For the launch, the K01 is being initially offered at $800.
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The Kiwano K01 launches this week with a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, offering some considerable advantages over anything else in its class and a viable commuter for under US$1000. For the launch, the K01 is being initially offered at $800.
With a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, the Kiwano K01 trumps the current marketplace offerings on most key points
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With a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, the Kiwano K01 trumps the current marketplace offerings on most key points
The Kiwano K01 is being marketed as an all-terrain vehicle and can be ordered with two different tire designs, one more suited for off-road conditions
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The Kiwano K01 is being marketed as an all-terrain vehicle and can be ordered with two different tire designs, one more suited for off-road conditions
The Kiwano app is available for iOS and Android phones, and includes geo-tracking technology to allow remote operation, adjust the angle settings of the K01 for "neutral", switch between normal and advanced performance modes,  check your battery levels remotely, and record your routes.
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The Kiwano app is available for iOS and Android phones, and includes geo-tracking technology to allow remote operation, adjust the angle settings of the K01 for "neutral", switch between normal and advanced performance modes,  check your battery levels remotely, and record your routes.
Bombardier's 2004 Embrio concept was a futuristic self-balancing fuel-cell monowheel motorcycle and used technologies the company thought would be commercially viable by 2025. The Embrio was our first story to achieve more than a million page views. Bombardier has subsequently been renamed to become BRP.
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Bombardier's 2004 Embrio concept was a futuristic self-balancing fuel-cell monowheel motorcycle and used technologies the company thought would be commercially viable by 2025. The Embrio was our first story to achieve more than a million page views. Bombardier has subsequently been renamed to become BRP.
The Ryno self-balancing, one-wheeled US$5250 personal mobility device
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The Ryno self-balancing, one-wheeled US$5250 personal mobility device
The most advanced mono-wheel on the market at this time is undoubtedly the InMotion V8, which is powered by an 800 W electric motor, weighs 13.8 kg (30.4 lb), has a top speed of 30 km/h, a range of over 40 km and a programmable flashing multi-color LED light array , all for around $1000
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The most advanced mono-wheel on the market at this time is undoubtedly the InMotion V8, which is powered by an 800 W electric motor, weighs 13.8 kg (30.4 lb), has a top speed of 30 km/h, a range of over 40 km and a programmable flashing multi-color LED light array , all for around $1000
Front, back and angle shots of the Kiwano K01 - a premium entrant in the transportation appliance marketplace
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Front, back and angle shots of the Kiwano K01 - a premium entrant in the transportation appliance marketplace

The Kiwano K01 is a monowheel electric scooter with a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, offering some considerable advantages over anything in its class and a viable commuter for under US$1,000.

The transportation appliance is a relatively new category of micro vehicle that has emerged over the last decade, primarily catalyzed by the fanfare that surrounded Dean Kamen's "Project Ginger" in 2001. Kamen's now legendary concept was endorsed by a platoon of tech celebrity insiders and investors and became global news for its groundbreaking, society-changing potential a full year before the public knew what it was, or even what product category it belonged to. It was finally unveiled as the Segway Human Transporter 17 years ago, and the rest is history.

Once legions of inventors got their head around the idea that self-balancing technologies were viable for transportation beyond the circus arena, things evolved rapidly. We've been covering this area since its conception, so we can track the massive interest in the category via story page views and our most viewed story in 2004 was Bombardier's Embrio, a futuristic self-balancing electric monowheel motorcycle powered by a fuel cell.

Bombardier's 2004 Embrio concept was a futuristic self-balancing fuel-cell monowheel motorcycle and used technologies the company thought would be commercially viable by 2025. The Embrio was our first story to achieve more than a million page views. Bombardier has subsequently been renamed to become BRP.
Bombardier's 2004 Embrio concept was a futuristic self-balancing fuel-cell monowheel motorcycle and used technologies the company thought would be commercially viable by 2025. The Embrio was our first story to achieve more than a million page views. Bombardier has subsequently been renamed to become BRP.

It was our humble site's first story to achieve a million page views, and when proposed by Bombardier's engineers it was clearly stated that it employed technologies that would not be commercially viable until 2025.

The Ryno self-balancing, one-wheeled US$5250 personal mobility device
The Ryno self-balancing, one-wheeled US$5250 personal mobility device

Bombardier's renderings were viewed as bordering on sci-fi at that time and it offers some perspective on the warp-speed pace of human endeavor in this space since then, because just a decade later I was writing about a commercial product that was very similar – the Ryno.

Even traditional transport companies like Honda and Toyota have been showing self-balancing prototypes for a decade. A sign of the times was Toyota's Winglet prototype being copied and commercialized by several Chinese companies four years ago. Toyota still hasn't delivered the concept to market.

The most advanced mono-wheel on the market at this time is undoubtedly the InMotion V8, which is powered by an 800 W electric motor, weighs 13.8 kg (30.4 lb), has a top speed of 30 km/h, a range of over 40 km and a programmable flashing multi-color LED light array , all for around $1000
The most advanced mono-wheel on the market at this time is undoubtedly the InMotion V8, which is powered by an 800 W electric motor, weighs 13.8 kg (30.4 lb), has a top speed of 30 km/h, a range of over 40 km and a programmable flashing multi-color LED light array , all for around $1000

Micro transportation is now a reality with the self-balancing technologies and energy storage shrinking inside a single wheel via InMotion, Airwheel, the Yikebike and many other lightweight transportation appliance form factors now on offer.

One of the major issues of such devices is usability. Not everyone has the balance of a cat and the rubber bones of a teenager – most thirty-somethings and older are reticent to threaten their wellbeing by learning how to ride a device that weighs 10-15 kg and resides entirely between one's ankles.

The spec sheet for the Kiwano K01
The spec sheet for the Kiwano K01

Hence the release this week of the Kiwano K01, a one-wheeled transportation appliance with handlebars to aid stability and balance, could further stimulate this already fast-growing marketplace. It's yet another form factor for the transport appliance and it makes sense.

At 16 kg (35 lb), and with the security afforded by those handlebars, the K01 self-balancing mono-scooter might find marketplace traction beyond those who grew up riding skateboards and other adventurous types who are prepared to sacrifice skin on their knees and elbows to depress their fun buttons.

The Kiwano K01 offers a far greater payload than most transportation appliances, and is claimed to be capable of carrying riders up to 550lbs (250kgs)
The Kiwano K01 offers a far greater payload than most transportation appliances, and is claimed to be capable of carrying riders up to 550lbs (250kgs)

The specs of the Kiwano K01 tick all the boxes and if the company's claims prove correct, it could offer a viable commuting machine for under US$1000. For the launch, the K01 is being initially offered at $800.

Front, back and angle shots of the Kiwano K01 - a premium entrant in the transportation appliance marketplace
Front, back and angle shots of the Kiwano K01 - a premium entrant in the transportation appliance marketplace

With a range of 20 miles (32 km), a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) and a charge time of one hour, it trumps the current marketplace offerings on the key points. It self balances, can be driven wirelessly via an app on your mobile phone (Apple iOS and Android), has shock suspension to soak up the bumps, and the 16 kg weight is only going to be a slight problem if it runs out of battery and you need to carry it.

The Kiwano app is available for iOS and Android phones, and includes geo-tracking technology to allow remote operation, adjust the angle settings of the K01 for "neutral", switch between normal and advanced performance modes,  check your battery levels remotely, and record your routes.
The Kiwano app is available for iOS and Android phones, and includes geo-tracking technology to allow remote operation, adjust the angle settings of the K01 for "neutral", switch between normal and advanced performance modes,  check your battery levels remotely, and record your routes.

That's not to say the Kiwano K01 is porky. That slight extra weight compared to the lightest devices on the market is what enables the K01 to deliver those exceptional figures: an efficient and powerful 1000 W motor with a top speed of 20 mph and a 232.2 Wh battery with a 20 mile range make for a perfectly viable commuter which can be carried by hand on public transport or in the boot of a car for "last mile" commuting.

The Kiwano K01
The Kiwano K01

We spoke with Oliver Evans, CEO of Shark Design and the newly formed Kiwano, to discuss the Kiwano K01 and the future roadmap for the company.

"The future of transportation is electric and the rapid development of electric motor and battery technology in the last decade means there is now an opportunity to develop some truly remarkable devices", said Evans.

We're very much a premium product, and we're aiming to develop the brand into the very top end of the market. That's why we're using the best batteries (LG) and using premium materials (carbon fiber) so we deliver something that's durable and that people will get plenty of use and enjoyment from.

"We're very serious about developing our own technologies at Kiwano and we have a roadmap for new products for the next three years which involves a number of new products, specific products for both children and early teens, two wheeled devices and ... there's more but we can't disclose those things as yet."

"We're launching with Best Buy in the USA in August, and we're going into other distributors and retailers worldwide. We're currently assembling in Asia, but we'll be making our products in the USA in the fall of 2017."

Check the Kiwano K01 out in action:

Kiwano KO1 Electric Scooter

Product page: Kiwano

10 comments
Paul Anthony
I want one with an alarm and an integrated lock.
guzmanchinky
Very cool. But 35 pounds is very heavy.
Bill S.
Instead of playing that totally annoying background music, would it have killed them to discuss the product, the tech, but no...they feel their marketing strategy should be to distract the public with horrible "music" and some "Starbucks" babe showing off her stomach. Good luck with that.
FabianLamaestra
I like how the video does not highlight making turns 'at speed' on this unit. Segways already have issues with turning at speed, and now with only one wheel, I cannot imagine it being any safer. Would also like to see this with a telescoping handle bar for taller users.
Milton
@Fabian : I've ridden segways, and they dont have issues turning at speed.
Alien
I really like this. It's compact size combined with a fairly large wheel is clearly a great advantage in negotiating the ups and downs (eg kerbs, speed bumps, etc.) of daily life. At 20mph it will be great for the 'last mile' commute. I am concerned, however, with all such devices about the risks of injury both to the user and to third parties. Getting hit by someone on one of these, travelling at 20mph could have serious consequences. Hence I would urge some form of compulsory insurance should be legislated by countries where such devices are used. That said, the Kiwano looks like a great step forward in personal mobility
DouglasAnkrum
....Tiny wheel...bumpy rides...even with the red spring suspension, and no leaning to turn....and surely no quick starts and stops, I'd imagine even the Segway is programmed for slow accel-deceleration...?
Bob
20 mph, 20 mile range, and 1 hour recharge??? I seriously doubt that.
BobMunck
Do you have to wear your pants that low to ride it?
SaysMe
It must have the battery stored in the handle. Still would like to see slightly larger will but I don't see this replacing a Segway for transportation, maybe for short hops. Personally, I like the hands-free of the Segway mini... Hey just thought of something, what if they could do like snap handle onto your chest so you don't have to hold onto the handle, because you don't really need to actually turn or twist anything with your hands, just placing them there, just a thought....