Folding scooter looks to bridge last mile

Electric bike URB-E hopes to fill the transportation space between driving and walking with an innovative, foldable, electric cycling machine that offers a bridge to the "last mile".

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - City living means that sometimes things can be so close, but yet so far. Urban Electric, a Los Angeles based company, though, is looking to change that narrative with an innovative, folding, electric bike that promises to bridge the last mile between driving and walking.

"Many of our owners can't deal with parking at subway stops anymore. It's not even about saving money trying to get to the subway stop. It's actually about finding parking for their car. So we bridge that first mile in that regard. The last mile, once they actually get into the city, perhaps they arrive into downtown Los Angeles or into Park Street in Boston or they get off the Bart in San Francisco and they need to actually get to the next location. Our product really solves that problem," said Evan Saunders, Head of Marketing at Urban Electric.

Called the URB-E, the bike is the design dream in part of a former lead engineer at Porsche, offering a simple, minimalist and clean look that is both light and practical for city use.

Developed and hand built in Pasadena, California, the scooter employs carbon fiber and aircraft-grade aluminum throughout its frame to help keep its weight at just 15.9kg and it folds away in seconds.

"The folding mechanism, it's not electric," said Saunders.

"It is all encased in a patented design that we have there that makes it so easy for the user just to lift up on the seat and folded up together in one second and then fortunately we've used materials such as aircraft grade aluminum carbon fiber to make it the lightest foldable electric vehicle in the world," said Mr Saunders.

At the heart of the URB-E is a brushless electric motor that's powered by a 36v Lithium-ion battery that sends the scooter up to 24km per hour, with a single charge offering a range of 32km.

Prices start at US$1,499 (S$2,138), but URB-E says the smiles are free.