Not intended to displace the family car, the Urb-e is billed by its maker, US-based upstart EgoLogical Mobility systems, as a “last mile” solution – a brisk alternative to hoofing it between, say, the train station and the office. And unlike most the electric bikes on the road today, the Urb-e is geek chic, with a look that is industrial, minimalist and cool. Recycled aircraft-grade aluminium – available in a rainbow of colours – has been artfully machined and styled into a contraption that neatly transitions from sidewalk transportation to living-room conversation piece.
EgoLogical enlisted the skills of Sven Etzelsberger, a former Porsche engineer, to develop the Urb-e, and contracted California-based Foes Racing, a company best known for building full-suspension mountain bikes, to do the fabrication and assembly. The scooter, whose lithium-ion battery pack can re-charge from a standard household outlet in three hours, offers a range of 20 miles and a top speed of 15mph. It tips the scales at a manageable 27lb and it’s foldable, allowing the rider to hop off and pull it along like a roll-aboard suitcase.
The Urb-e arrives this summer in two- and three-wheeled versions, priced at $899 and $998 respectively. The two-wheeler, called the GP, is the friskier choice, but the company expects most buyers will opt for the latter, dubbed the Commuter, thanks to its greater stability and low-speed manoeuvrability – better for navigating pedestrian traffic. An available kit allows a buyer to convert one version to the other. Other options include a cargo carrier, LED lights and yes, even a cup-holder for the morning java.
The Urb-e is presently available for pre-order, with deliveries set to commence late this summer.