Last mile luxury: Green Ride's INU is a quick, stylish, and foldable personal EV
Said to be created for "the contemporary urbanite," the INU is a folding electric scooter that can be used as both a primary means of transportation and as a last mile solution.
The Israeli startup Green Ride unveiled its last mile transport solution at CES 2015, with the company's founder and CEO Ori Dadoosh saying that his team thinks the INU is "the next Vespa." And indeed, with all of the fervor surrounding hoverboards that don't hover, and powerful e-bikes that may be a bit of overkill for some intra-city transportation needs (and which need a fair amount of trunk or rack space to bring along in a car or bus), an electric scooter might be just the right choice for the discerning commuter, and could very well be the next iconic personal city vehicle.
The Green Ride INU isn't on the market yet, as it's slated for release next year in both the US and in Europe, and it's not cheap, but by the time it hits the streets, so to speak, it may be perfectly positioned to meet a growing demand, which is the high-end cleaner last mile transport market. The company says it will offer three different models of the INU, with the biggest difference between them being their estimated "driving" ranges of 20km, 30km, or 40km. The scooter is designed to carry a rider weighing about 80kg/176lb, with a top carrying capacity of 120kg/264lb, with the device itself weighing in at 25kg/55lb. The top speed on the INU is said to be limited to 25kmh/15.5mph (which it can reach in about four seconds) in order to meet safety standards, and its Li-ion battery is claimed to take a zero-to-full charge in about three hours, with a partial charge (50% to full) possible in one hour.
When not being ridden, the INU shows off one of its most lauded features, which may be a big selling point for the tech-obsessed and über-connected crowd, because this little vehicle includes a smartphone-controlled automatic folding system to minimize its size. The INU is said to respond to a voice command, a hand gesture, or the app, and to then employ a "beautiful dance-like motion" to fold or unfold itself as needed, which allows for the rider to simply wheel the folded INU with them on public transit, in elevators, in a car trunk, and then right to their destination, and to look good doing it. The company says it believes its product should be "classy on the road, elegant on marble floors," and if this comes across in the final product, the INU may end up being a contender in the personal EV market because of its visual and design appeal.
"INU is the natural solution for urban transportation. The automotive industry is working hard on making vehicles that bring you from A to B, but they don’t think about how they get you from A to B. INU is an extension of the user’s personal environment, transporting them in comfort and style, and I believe that INU is inspiring the industry to move in that direction." - Ori Dadoosh, Green Ride CEO
According to the Green Ride website, the INU ("a personal urban mobility platform") will come with the option of either a 500W or 750W hub-motor, and the prices on the different models will range from €2999 to €4999 (~$3360 to $5600 USD), so it's not exactly an entry-level personal transport choice. However, this vehicle may also herald the coming of a new way of looking at small-scale transportation as gadgetry, and similar to the wave of people who wanted to be seen carrying their (then) new smartphones or MacBooks in public, perhaps in a few years, we'll start seeing waves of people taking their gesture-controlled, hyper-connected, foldable electric scooters along with them everywhere.
The one big missing piece on the INU, in my opinion, is what appears to be a complete lack of thought put into making a place for the stuff that you carry with you, even for just the inevitable laptop bag or backpack or purse. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I'm trying to imagine having to carry my bag in addition to pulling the INU behind me, and it seems awkward to me. I'd be interested in seeing a combination bag/scooter combo, with an integrated bag hook or strap (as seen with some rolling luggage), and perhaps take a page from the newer bike pannier designs, so that the bag looks as good (and as fitting) off the bike (scooter) and on your shoulder as it does while it's on your ride.
If you're interested, you can learn more at INU.city.