We reported back in May that Smart had real-world plans for the electric scooter concept it showed at the Paris Motor show in 2010. Filed squarely under we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it, that story is seeing new life today as electric scooter company Vectrix has announced it will be partnering with Smart to produce the eScooter.
“smart and Vectrix are both pioneers of electric mobility for the city”, says Dr Annette Winkler, Head of smart. “The smart scooter will be a true smart and we want to make it an icon of urban mobility – just like the smart fortwo.”
The official announcement from Vectrix and Smart points to their desire to co-develop all three of the city transportation products debuted in Paris that year: an electric FourTwo, the eScooter and an electric bicycle. The eScooter is mentioned specifically for a 2014 launch to market. While a specific target range is not given for the eScooter, the partnership announcement expresses Smart’s desire to build a portfolio of electric vehicles able to service ranges of up to 140 km (87 miles).
Vectrix’s current small-frame scooter, the Vx-2, boasts a range of 40-55 miles with a 30 mph top speed. Given the relatively short development time remaining for Smart to put the eScooter on the market by 2014, it’s probably safe to speculate that the Vx-2 will serve as the basis for Smart’s machine. Yet the language of the announcement makes it sound as though Smart will be leveraging Vectrix’s expertise in electric drivetrains and battery technology to make their electric bicycle and FourTwo as well. No release dates were given for those vehicles, but it looks like the Smart eScooter will be the first to debut.
Will it take off? Electric scooters are a tricky proposition in the US market. We’ll have editorial later on that explores that. In the meantime, however, we look forward to seeing if Smart is able to deliver on the stunning looks of their eScooter concept. Partnerships notwithstanding, will the reality of developing a real world product water down the design? Will we just end up with a Vx-2 in Smart badges? We’ll keep you posted as the story develops.
Meanwhile, what do you think of the Smart eScooter? Is it the future of transportation, or a desperate grasp for relevancy from a struggling automotive brand? Would the performance be enough for you and your city commute? Sound off in the comments.