Electric mini bike augments commuting with extended connectivity
Taiwanese startup Otto Bikes has introduced its first model, a mid-sized electric two-wheeler specifically tailored for commuting duties. Powered by a typical wheel hub motor, the Mini City Racer stands out thanks to its detailed styling, high-end peripherals and ample use of connectivity features.
As the world keeps gathering momentum towards the inevitable shift to zero-emission transport systems, manufacturers gear up to cater for the new markets that are expected to flourish in the 2020s. Aside from the traditional motorcycle brands, several startups keep popping up, investing in electric power in their quest claim a piece of the market pie.
One such company from Taiwan made its debut at the recent EICMA show in Milan, Italy. Otto's first model, the electric Mini City Racer (MCR), is a rather small two-wheeler – think something around the size of the Honda Grom. Despite its smallish dimensions, the MCR offers a decent riding position with seat height at 760 mm (29.9 in) and weighs a total of 132 kg (265 lb).
It is powered by a brushless electric motor housed in the rear wheel hub, producing up to 7.5 kW (10 hp) via a single speed direct drive. This powertrain is enough for a maximum sustained speed of 92 km/h (57 mph) and peaks at 103 km/h (64 mph).
Otto doesn't reveal much about the MCR's batteries, other than it's a 4.8 kWh pack that requires two hours for a full charge with the standard integrated charger, or half that time when connected to a fast charger. The city range of the MCR is reported to be 100 km (62 mi).
These specs seem rather standard against what is currently available in the global market of electric two-wheeled commuters, but a look deeper into the MCR's gear proves to be quite more intriguing. The frame of the bike is a rather unique design, using a central aluminum part that connects to a lower steel column and to two steel trellis structures, one leading to the front suspension and another one acting as swingarm.
Otto's electric bike also distinguishes itself with an adjustable suspension kit that includes inverted front forks and a piggyback rear shock.
The talking point of the MCR will undoubtedly be its electronic arsenal and connectivity features. A large color TFT display can connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth and a dedicated app, displaying all kinds of information, from phone calls and messaging to navigation. Otto suggests that for the sake of riding safety, the screen will not display messages while the bike is moving, so as to avoid distracting the rider.
The display is also coupled to two video cameras that are built into the MCR's headlight cowl and tail unit. The latter apparently transmits live image directly to the screen, thus replacing the rear view mirrors, while the front camera can capture riding clips. Otto also includes a Facebook Live button in the left side of the handlebars, so that the action can be instantly relayed to the rider's friend circle.
At the time Otto has not revealed specific information on production schedules and availability, but the EICMA debut suggests that the MCR will not be limited just to Asia, but will find its way towards western markets sooner or later.
In fact, one of the few pieces of information that was communicated at the Italian show, was the retail price of the MCR, set at US$5,000.
Find out more about the Mini City Racer's capabilities in the following video.
Source: Otto Bikes