The Volkswagen Group is jumping into the e-scooter game. In an announcement on the company’s website earlier this month, Volkswagen delivered details on its plan to improve “micromobility” within cities. These new products are a direct response from Volkswagen to a trend in unprecedented urbanization seen in recent years.
“In 1950 not even every third person lived in the city, today it is more than half of the world’ s population – and the trend is rising. The megatrend urbanization also has consequences for the mobility sector. The number of city dwellers is accompanied by an increase in the number of vehicles in the metropolises and thus in the capacity utilization of the roads. Answers are needed to avoid the threat of traffic collapse on the one hand and to meet the changing demands of modern mobility on the other,” the company stated.
Among the new products Volkswagen will soon offer are the “Cityskater,” a 3-wheel e-scooter with the top speed of about 12 miles per hour. The electric motor of the scooter can generate up to 350 watts of power, and the scooter’s lithium-ion battery allows for a maximum distance of about 7 miles on a single charge. The scooter weighs a little over 30 lb and can be folded for easy transport on a train or bus. It is not clear at this time if Volkswagen will team up with rental companies like Bird and Lime to bring their products to city streets or if the vehicles will be sold directly to the public.
The Cityskater and other small electric offerings from Volkswagen are what the company calls “last mile” options. Essentially, small modes of transportation designed to take a commuter that last mile of their destination public transportation options do not reach. As we noted previously, a recent study showed nearly of New York City’s subway stations outside of Manhattan were inaccessible two city residents. Electric scooters and bicycles are seen as a potential fix to problems like the one in New York, and may fill the gaps for many travelers.
“The aim is to motivate commuters to switch to smart micromobiles. The vision: city visitors and residents will soon be able to arrive in the world’s metropolises, park their cars at home, at the hotel or in multi-story car parks and then use smaller zero-emission models,” according to Volkswagen.
SEAT, a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen introduced its first line of electric scooters last year and claims to have sold over 7,000 units as of the date of this writing. Škoda, an additional subsidiary of VW is set to produce the Klement, an electric bike that requires no pedal power. This bike will be specifically marketed toward young professionals and other city dwellers who may be looking for an alternative to pedal-powered bikes.
Marketing strategies aside, the new products do look pretty cool. Whether or not you’ll ever catch me riding one to and from work on the streets of Washington, D.C. remains to be seen.
What do readers think about Volkswagen’s strategy? Is the future of urban travel small electric vehicles or will the car always be king? Do you have any experience with electric scooters or bikes? Please leave a comment below and tell us your story
Source | Images: Volkswagenag.com