Hyundai showcased its portable last-mile mobility Ioniq scooter prototype at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) back in 2017. The term ‘Last-mile mobility’ means the stretch between the driver’s car and his/her front door. Ioniq scooter is significantly lighter and smaller than other manufacturers’.
The most unique feature of Ioniq scooter is that it is recharged and stored in the front door of the Ioniq Electric, unlike any other regular pedal scooter. The connectivity that the Ioniq scooter has with the Ioniq Electric makes it the true last-mile mobility. Despite the breakthrough feature, however, it was yet to be mass-produced.
But recent news revealed that Hyundai is planning on mass-producing Ioniq scooter. Even its name, spec, or the future vehicle it would be connected with has not been decided, but it is pretty certain that we will be able to see it rolling on the street soon. Below is the Hyundai robotics team, who is currently working to improve on the concept.
The robotics team aims to make the last-mile mobility
Hyundai and Kia have their own robotics team to develop technologies for AI, robotic joints, or self-control movement. Though it may sound a bit out-of-date at first, but electric scooters will be our next future mobility. The robotics team unveiled their concept at 2017 CES in the name of last-mile mobility for that reason.
Here is the reason they decided to go further for mass-production: “Consumers wanted to have one when they first saw it at 2017 CES.”
Things left to cross over
Hyundai and Kia are not the first automakers that made electric scooters, but few has been mass-produced. They were not small or efficient enough to fit into the vehicle.
Hyundai and Kia, however, are much closer to make it work. Their robotics team is expecting the launch will be no sooner than 2020. The primary reason is, according to the team, that:
“We have not yet reached a decision about which car to match with the scooter. The biggest difference between the Ioniq scooter and others is the connectivity with the vehicle. The design and the spec of the scooter pretty much depend on the mother ship, and we expect everything will go smooth and fast once the model of the vehicle is set.”
Both the concept back in 2017 and the prototype are designed to get stored in the front door of a vehicle for the accessibility, but the safety issue remains. The robotics team is being cautious about making the charging pocket inside the door, because of the chances of interfering with safety standards.
“We tried storing it in the front door at CES 2017, then in the trunk at Asia CES in 2019. Yet we have not decided its whereabouts. We have to make sure it does not harm any of the passengers in the vehicle in case of a car accident, while maintaining accessibility at the same time.”
So far, the robotics team says, this prototype is powered by a 10.5 amp hour (AH) lithium battery, which can reach speeds of just over 20 km/h and power the vehicle for around 20 km on a single charge. (Once a regenerative braking system is integrated, its range could increase by up to 7%) Given the fact that there are already many scooters that can last over 40 km, the spec does not really sound interesting. The robotics team explains:
“The Ioniq scooter is designed only for short distances. Battery does matter, but our pursuit is portability. We will consider every option we have, but our primary goal is to save as much weight as possible.”
Just like the concept unveiled at CES 2017, the frame of the scooter folds into three parts and weighs roughly 7.7kg, making it the lightest scooter of all kind. There is a change, however, which is a shift from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive.
Of course there is a reason for this. The wheels needed to be smaller to make the scooter lighter and more compact, but this would obviously lead to a rough ride. So the front wheel is suspended to make for a smoother ride instead of an electric motor driving it, which made a shift to the rear-wheel drive.
Another advantage that the rear-wheel drive gives is that it boosts efficiency and keeps the torque output. When the front tyre lost its grip on the road, loss of traction happened. Rear-wheel drive solved this problem.
It is now clear that Hyundai and Kia are aiming for portability and accessibility. On the other hand, everyone including the robotics team is aware that a lighter, smaller product would automatically mean higher price. Regarding this issue, the robotics team explains:
“The price will not be a problem as long as the consumer feels they purchased something that is worth every penny. From this perspective, we are considering cooperating with other service providers so that our consumers can do many other things using the apps. We hope the last-mile mobility era will come soon.”