Single-wheeled self-balancing electric scooter offers 20-mile range & one hour charge time
The Kiwano K01 promises speeds of up to 20 mph and a staggering maximum load of 550 pounds on its single 8.5 inch tire.
What looks like the love child of a Segway and a pogo stick is actually a tiny personal electric vehicle that might have a place in the last-mile transport stable, as this 20 kg (44 lb) scooter can easily fit into a car trunk or come along on a bus or subway journey. and then carry riders up to 20 miles on a single charge.
The zinc alloy and carbon fiber Kiwano K01 uses a 1000W electric hub motor to drive its single wide tire, powered by a 55.5V 4.4Ah LG lithium ion battery pack, which is capable of pushing riders along sidewalks or streets at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. A spring-based suspension system between the upright handlebar and the wheel/motor combo provides a bit of bounce and helps even out the road surface, and the K01 is said to be able to handle inclines up to 35% (~19 degrees), possibly avoiding the embarrassing 'slowing to a snail's pace on hills' tendency of small underpowered electric vehicles.
The scooter integrates chevron-shaped LED head- and taillights for better visibility, and a small LCD mounted in the handlebars allows for easy access to basic info (rider mode, speed, battery level). Riders can choose between novice and pro riding modes, depending on their comfort level, and there's also a wireless 'follow me' setting for walking the scooter in places where it can't be ridden. An accompanying app displays an odometer and trip miles, route tracking, battery level, and includes a "digital key lock" for security. The foot rests fold up for transport, and a kickstand folds out to keep the K01 standing upright when not being ridden.
The Kiwano K01 stands 108 cm (~42.5") tall by 43 cm (~17") wide, so it should fit in most trunks or luggage racks for transporting it, but at a weight of about 20 kg (~44 lb), it's probably not something you'd want to carry for a long time. Assuming the wheel has little to no drag, it could be pulled along behind if the battery was completely flat, but it's possible that with a one hour charge time, the K01's battery could be topped off at every stop to avoid that scenario. Two different tire options are available (urban and sport), as are several colors of fender and grips, while an optional GoPro mount enables easy shooting of mobile video.
According to New Atlas, the company is "launching with Best Buy" in the US this fall, but pre-orders of the scooter, to be delivered in July, are being taken for $799, with the eventual MSRP being $999. More info is available at the Kiwano website.