EZRaider stands at the intersection of scooter and quad bike
Israel's EZRaider takes the electric scooter into new territory – indeed, just about any territory – with a series of offroad-ready four-wheel beasts making up to 18 kW (24 hp). Rugged and fast with long-travel suspension, they look like 4x4 Segways. EZRaider's top model is the HD4, which puts 4.5 kilowatts' worth of motor in each of its four wheel hubs, along with hydraulic disc brakes all round. The top speed is limited to 45 km/h (28 mph) out of the box, and its 60-V, 3-kWh lithium battery pack gives it a range up to 75 km (45 miles).
Each wheel has its own chunky all-terrain tire, as well as a huge 50 cm (19.6 in) of suspension travel, letting riders fling these things down some seriously rocky paths, hopefully with minimal flinging of the riders themselves. The suspension is also notable for its claimed six axes of movement, allowing the wheels to tilt and move independently in 360 degrees. Ground clearance is listed at 24.4 cm (9.6 in), and it can carry beefy riders up to 200 kg (441 lb) on its back, or even pull an accessory trailer.
The steering post turns the front two wheels, and offers a throttle as well as independent brakes for the front and rear wheels. It also gives you something to hang onto, which looks very necessary, as you can augment the steering by moving your weight around as on a skateboard. A small bicycle seat also telescopes out of the rear of the board, giving you the ability to sit down on the smooth stuff. The EZRaider folds up like most kick scooters, to a 170x74x75-cm (67x29x30-in) package – although you're unlikely to be heaving this 130-kg (280-lb) behemoth into the trunk of your car.
At this stage, they seem to be seeing action with off-road tour experience companies, but they're also being offered as agricultural and military tools. Municipal police and security guards are dipping a toe in the water as well, and the company makes a version equipped with sirens and a loudspeaker, so you might be looking at the next generation of Paul Blart-mobile here too.
They appear to stunt significantly better than a Segway, with wheelies clearly on the menu, along with the ability to perform small jumps and get sideways. Would we be willing to get silly on one? Well, the EZRaiders have a much narrower track than a quad bike, so they're certainly more prone to tipping over. On the other hand, they're slower and lighter, and the fact that you're standing up gives you the chance to jump off. A lot of serious quad bike injuries happen when they tip over and crush the rider – ask Ozzy Osborne, if you think you'll be able to pick any words out of his answer – and while the EZRaider can likely hurl your face into a boulder with alacrity, you're much more likely to separate from the vehicle and leave your spine intact. So yeah, why not?
They're not cheap; the HD4 starts at US$19,200. There's a lower-spec LW "lightweight" model for $8,500, with just two driven wheels, a lower top speed and a smaller battery. But we mainly highlight this thing as yet another example of the proliferation and cross-breeding of vehicle types that's characterized the dawn of the EV age.
Check it out being ridden with considerable elan and panache over some gnarly rocks in the video below.