From the R8-based E-Tron 10 years ago to the production E-Tron electric crossover introduced back in September, Audi has already shown us more than a few forms its brand of electrification project can take. It even thinks it can grow its marketshare by moving downmarket with a cheaper version of its new crossover. This week Audi took things a step further, targeting not the Tesla Model X and the forthcoming Mercedes EQC, but something smaller, like a Bird or a Lime scooter.
Audi’s E-Tron Scooter, which it plans to put into production next year, weighs around 12 kilograms, has a range of 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) and can go up to 20 km/h. Audi says that the handle design they have incorporated is safely usable with one hand.
Don’t think that you’ll be able to use your free hand to snap selfies and swipe to find a date, though. According to The Verge, the freedom of one-handed steering allows riders to use the directional hand signals you probably forgot an hour after your driving test. Combined with skateboard-like two-wheel trucks at each end of the board, the one-handed handlebar is supposed to provide a riding experience that Audi describes as “like surfing waves.”
The real excitement about Audi’s scooter, though, isn’t its handle. It’s the possibility of integration with Audi’s other electric models. Audi doesn’t just envision this scooter as a transportation solution in itself (though it definitely would love you to ride one around town).
Rather, the goal behind this scooter is to offer it as an option to E-Tron car buyers as a kind of last-mile solution to be stored and charged from a socket in the trunk.
Now, you’re probably thinking that this isn’t the first scooter offered by a car company as an accessory to a car they sell. You’d be right about that too. We have always loved Honda’s Motocompo, which was designed as a companion to the adorable Honda City back in 1981. The main difference between the Motocompo and Audi’s new toy is the charging model.
The Motocompo had a tiny 2.5 horsepower gasoline motor inside, requiring a separate supply of fuel to keep it juiced up and ready to go. The E-Tron, on the other hand, just needs to stay plugged in to be ready to go when you get to where you’re going, or if traffic is keeping you from getting there on time.
Not a bad idea when the goal is mobility. Maybe this will catch on with other automakers.