E-bikers are certainly not lacking for choice when it comes to fast folders. Joining Peugeot's eF01, the compact-but-odd Kwiggle and the GiGi is the X1 Explorer. Like the latter, the X1 is a pedal-free electric scooter/bike that should be good for nearly 40 miles on a single charge. And when you need to take it on the train or pop it in the trunk between rides, its X-shaped aluminum frame can be folded to travel mode in "a split second."
X1 Technology is offering the Explorer in two battery options – the standard 8.7 Ah version will be good for up to 25 miles (40 km) per 4 hour charge, while an optional 11.6 Ah upgrade will boost the range to 37 miles. Last mile jaunts from rail hub to the office aren't called last mile journeys for nothing, so that charge should be good for a few trips to work and back. But this electric roller is not just for the daily commute, it's being pitched as an adventure companion for zipping across campus, going on camping trips, and even beach combing – though maybe those small wheels could be a problem in shifting sand.
Unlike folding e-bikes like the Brompton and Vektron, the X1 doesn't have pedals and crank, riders put their feet on the front pegs and twist the throttle grip to start motoring. So you're unlikely to arrive at work in a sweat or out of breath.
Its 250 W brushless rear hub motor is reckoned to be good for a top speed of 19 mph (30 km/h) on the flat, stopping power comes courtesy of Tektro disc braking on both 10-inch wheels and a mid-handlebar status console shows speed and remaining range, activates the horn and includes an integrated front light. There's an LED brake light, too, and front and rear suspension to help smooth out some of the bumps.
The X1 Explorer is reported to fold from road-ready to golf bag travel size in a second – that's 42 inches (106 cm) high and down from 39 inches (99 cm) from tail to tip in ride mode to 23 inches (58 cm) when folded – and tips the scales at 44 lb (20 kg), which should make it light enough to carry but when in travel mode, it can be rolled along.
An anti-theft alarm is activated with the included wireless key fob, which is also used to start the X1, and not only sounds when a light-fingered opportunist tries to make off with your ride, but will also lock up the rear wheel so it can't be easily wheeled away. The X1 also has GPS tracking via a companion smartphone app for iOS/Android, and the app doubles as a control panel, to check remaining battery levels, remote start and so on. Each model also rocks a unique identification number that's registered to each customer.
Beta models of the X1 have been on sale in Asia as a means of testing the market. The company has built on feedback received, made some modifications and has now launched on Kickstarter to bring the X1 Explorer into production.
Pledges start at US$995 for a 25 mile range model, or an extra $100 for the 37 mile version. Either way, a choice of six colors are available. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in March 2018. The pitch video below has more on the project.
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