Urban Transport

Personal Rover - personal EV for under US$1000

Personal Rover - personal EV for under US$1000
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The modest dimensions of the Personal Rover
The modest dimensions of the Personal Rover
Folded up and ready to slip into a car trunk
Folded up and ready to slip into a car trunk
Slow enough to mix with pedestrians, fast enough to make progress
Slow enough to mix with pedestrians, fast enough to make progress
The Personal Rover is not limited to concrete paths
The Personal Rover is not limited to concrete paths
The Personal Rover is steered by body weight
The Personal Rover is steered by body weight
View gallery - 26 images

It is no secret that personal transportation form factors are beginning to diverge and a new one caught our attention this week that is almost certain to carve itself a niche in this intensely interesting and competitive space. It's not as sexy as a Yikebike, Honda U3-X or Toyota Winglet, but it is easy to use, has a range of 12 miles (20 km), a top speed of 15 mph and a price under US$1000.

At 90 pounds, the Personal Rover is not exactly small, but it folds up so it can be rolled on castor wheels inside a building, and will easily fit inside a car boot to fulfill secondary transport duties. At first glance, the rather industrial design of the Personal Rover did not appeal to me, but when I did take a look, it's one of the most logically laid out bits of kit I can imagine.

The body of the Personal Rover tilts, so steering, with the tilt proportional to the turning circle, is easily mastered, and the balance offered by the two ski poles gives novices the confidence to take it off-road quite quickly after first stepping onto the machine.

The Personal Rover's 800 watt rear-wheel drive motor is controlled by a trigger on the right ski-pole - squeeze to go, release to brake, with directional change by body movement.

The biggest problem any form of personal transport faces is ease of use and the riding experience is easy to assimilate as it is very similar to slalom skiing. Given that there will be many different solutions to the personal transportation market, the Personal Rover unquestionably offers yet another viable alternative for the masses to consider.

One of the reasons the Personal Rover is cheap, is that it uses lead acid battery technology - older, less-energy-dense battery technology, that is much cheaper.

The positioning of the batteries in the Personal Rover means that the little extra weight the Personal Rover carries through its choice of batteries is least noticeable just a few inches off the ground. Indeed, the stability of the Personal Rover is greatly enhanced by this considerably weight being located at the low center of gravity, between the rider's ankles.

The pneumatic off-road wheels are just big enough to make light work of grass and gravel and mild off-road terrain, though it certainly won't go where a mountain bike can. The basic maths of the device are the appealing part. It has a range of 12 miles, can cover 15 miles in an hour, and takes three to four hours to charge.

My guess is that those basic specs will meet most secondary transportation needs, and when the introductory price of the machine is only US$800 (first 50 buyers), that makes for a very cost-effective solution.

Last but not least is the way the company has addressed the shortcomings of the Personal Rover. At 90 pounds (40 kg), the Personal Rover is bloody heavy, but thanks to an ingenious removable platform with castor wheels, when the Rover is folded and the plate attached, it can be rolled easily inside a building, and stands vertically for compact storage in a corner of your home or office.

Video of the Personal Rover in action can be seen in several places on Youtube.

View gallery - 26 images
faceless minion
Kind of ironic all of the models are dressed to exercise. Looks like the point of this thing is to make less exercise.
A) I like walking
B) I would much rather walk than just stand
C) If I'm going to travel any distance past a few miles, I sure as hell am not going to do it standing
D) Anyone other that a hot chick in a bikini looks like a fool on the damn thing & she would too if I was looking at it when she's on it
E) Florida (that's were it is I believe) is flat, you can easily move at 12 mph on a bike at a third to a quarter of that price.
F) = Fail
Bruce H. Anderson
One wheel in the back is all that is necessary (there is only one drive wheel anyway), which would make standing it up a little more challenging unless the casters were moved to the front. And it carves well, but a tight turn would be a problem. The Trikke EV looks like a better solution, you can assist the battery instead of just standing there. So yes, yrag, Fail.
Michael Crumpton
It is unclear why you would want this over a more conventional looking, lighter and cheaper scooter that has had several generations of development.
\"the two ski poles\" prevents it from being called a skateboard and subject to wrong laws.
John Banister
The people I imagine wanting to be vertical outdoors and not walk for long distances are the elderly, who might desire to walk in the park, but not have the energy to also walk to and from the park. I expect that widening the back end of the thing so that it can hold a folding canvas chair for when the driver is tired of standing, and a couple of grocery bags underneath the chair might make it more popular to these customers.