I’ve found the rise of the urban mobility trend to be a very fascinating one to follow. The idea is that owning, storing and operating a car in a crowded city is pretty impractical. You need something smaller and more nimble to get you places faster and more efficiently than walking. Clean emissions is an obvious plus and limited range is acceptable since everything is packed so closely in the city. This new vehicle genre covers everything smaller than cars and more powerful than a pair of shoes or a traditional bicycle. The lack of rigid definitions and traditions have led to a lot of creative solutions for the urban commuter. You could say that the urban mobility movement started with the Segway and has continued to grow as more and more companies have realized the untapped potential of this market segment. We’re beginning to see some serious R&D budgets put into electric-assisted bicycles and skateboards as well as premium electric scooters. The compact vehicle sizes, modest range requirements and tech-savvy customers have thankfully made electric power the future of urban mobility.
I came across this e-assist modular cargo bike on Gizmag.com yesterday. It’s by a Dutch company called Urban Arrow:
The front cargo bin is padded with an optional weather canopy so children or one of your lazy buddies can ride in it. There’s also an optional locking hardcase for transporting valuable or fragile items. The frame is designed to hold up to 240 pounds of cargo. The front end of the Urban Arrow can be swapped for a short wheelbase version that has more of a traditionally sized luggage basket. Here’s some Dutch video of it in action:
Urban Arrow Photoshoot from Eelke Dekker on Vimeo.
The Urban Arrow features a 250 watt electric motor powered by a 36 volt, 10 amp-hour battery pack. The electric motor helps turn the crankset which is connected to a Nuvinci N360 hub with a continuously variable gear ratio achieved through a system using planetary ball bearings and non-Newtonian fluid:
Pricing for the e-assist Urban Arrow starts at $3700 USD, but there probably won’t be a US dealer network in place until they’ve been on the market for a while. It’s a very well thought out product and I wish them great success.