Utility Personal Transporter is set to be the smartphone of EVs
Remember back before smartphones existed, when you had to buy a separate cell phone, camera, music player, calculator and calendar? Well, the Utility Personal Transporter may one day do for electric vehicles what smartphones did for gadgets.
Currently in functional prototype form, the Utility Personal Transporter (UPT) is being developed by Canadian electric mobility company Envo Drive Systems. In a nutshell, it's a four-wheel-drive electric platform that can be adapted to serve multiple purposes – sort of like a smaller version of the REE "skateboard chassis" system.
Envo unveiled the vehicle to the media last Friday, at an event that also showcased the new Veemo velomobile. That said, the UPT more closely resembles one of the company's longer-established products, the e-ATV.
Both the UPT and the e-ATV are four-wheeler EVs which the user stands on to operate (although there is the option of sitting on a detachable/foldable seat). The UPT has a lower center of gravity for better stability, however, plus it has a completely flat deck along with raised handlebars that can be folded back, telescoped down or slid over to one side – all while remaining fully functional.
The idea is that by reconfiguring the UPT (which will in most cases involve adding extra modules) it can serve as things like a mini truck, golf cart, powered cargo dolly, ride-on lawn mower, snow plough, litter-carrying backcountry rescue vehicle, or even a fully enclosed micro car.
And by swapping on some knobby tires, it may even give the e-ATV a run for its money. Its double wishbone suspension with 120 mm of travel would certainly help it do so.
The UPT's four custom 3-kilowatt in-wheel motors (for a total of 12 kW) are powered by eight replaceable lithium batteries located inside the deck. Not only does this arrangement save space by doing away with a drivetrain, it also reduces maintenance and allows for individual traction control on each wheel. Additionally, the batteries can be used to power tools or other devices out in the field.
One charge of those batteries should be good for a range of 100 to 200 km (62 to 124 miles), depending on usage. Speaking of which, the UPT has a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), it can tow up to 350 kg (772 lb), carry 250 kg (551 lb), and deliver 640 Nm (472 lb ft) of torque.
As an added bonus, with its handlebars folded flat against its deck, the UPT can be stored vertically against the wall of a garage. Plans call for the integration of a feature in which users will simply push a button to make the UPT roll along the ground until it meets a nearby wall, then climb up that wall and lean against it.
Envo hopes to begin taking preorders for the UPT by the end of this year, with deliveries slated for December of 2025. Pricing for a base model should be around US$14,000.
The following video illustrates some of the vehicle's applications.
Company website: Envo Drive Systems