The Dinghy. A trusted companion of any worthwhile waterborne vessel. What is a boat without a dinghy? It is just a dinghy itself, albeit one that is not on another boat.
There are many reasons to have a dinghy on your larger boat. Well, only two really. It can be a liferaft, and because sometimes your boat is too big or deep to go places and you need a smaller boat to get you there. Has this ever happened to you on land? Maybe you’re off-roading and you get to the end of a trail and you can’t go any farther because your truck is too big? Or maybe something breaks and you need to get back to camp. Perhaps you’re going to an event in the city and parking is totally full. You have to park a mile away. What are you going to do, walk a mile?
You need a land dinghy. A smaller vehicle that goes on, or in, your vehicle.
Honda did this in the early 1980s with the Motocompo, and it is an absolute motoring sin that they have not done it again. They have had several small motorcycles and many cars and trucks that could be modified to carry a small motorcycle. I know the in-bed trunk in the Ridgeline is small, but I bet we could make something happen with a Sawzall and a Ruckus. Sadly, Honda stopped designing interesting things in 1990.
Tesla recently announced the Cybertruck with the optional electric quad, or as I call it, the CyberDinghy (feel free to use that name, Elon). This is close, but not exactly what I’m talking about since its existence on the truck renders the entire bed otherwise useless.
A few months ago, Audi announced something a little closer to what I’m talking about; an electric scooter that can be charged in the trunk of your electric Audi. It’s a little off the mark, though, because it isn’t integrated into the vehicle, it doesn’t come with the vehicle, and for some reason, it costs over $2,200.
I think we need something that takes up minimal space, something well integrated into the vehicle, and something that comes with the vehicle. Electric bicycles are getting more powerful and smaller, electric scooters are everywhere and EVs have lots of extra space to store things. This is the perfect time for car companies to start selling folding electric scooters or bicycles integrated into storage areas and always fully charged by the larger EV’s battery.
Are you a car designer who has run out of ways to make a vehicle appeal to a young, hip demographic? You’ve already put on seven fake vents and a 15” touch screen, what more could there be? You need a pair of matching, folding electric scooters stuffed in the frunk.
Designing a rugged, off-road truck for rugged, off-road people? Build a small scooter, put some knobby tires on it, and stick it in the truck bed trunk.
Almost any four-wheeled vehicle could be improved with a smaller vehicle integrated into it. It’s time we make this a thing. We need the electric vehicle dinghy. We need the DingE.