The past few years have seen an explosion in the number of innovative electric personal transportation vehicles. But the ultra-simple Urb-E claims to be the world's most compact folding electric vehicle, and it's undoubtedly one of the world's most bizarre. The prototype device making its public debut at CES 2014 is an eye-catcher — with bright colors and polka-dot metallic frame — though whether that's a good thing is a matter of personal taste. It comes in both two-and three-wheeled models.
At 25 pounds, the majority of its weight in battery, the scooter felt even lighter than we expected. It reportedly charges in three hours, with a range of 20 miles per charge, more than enough to get urban commuters from the subway or bus to their office, or to run errands around their neighborhoods. An iPhone dock serves as a simple dashboard, showing the battery life and range in a similar way to Terra Motors' $4,500 electric scooter. The folding mechanism wasn't immediately intuitive, but it was simple enough to master after a quick tutorial. And the 15-mile-per-hour electric motor made us the envy of all others when navigating the crowded showroom floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Urb-E's lightness and speed come at cost, though, as the scooter's tiny fixed pedals, rear carrier, and small wheels made the taller members of our staff feel a little like clowns while riding it. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, depending on where you work. Urb-E is also clearly the passion of its creators, LA-based startup Ecological Mobility Solutions, Inc., who began working on the device in their spare time before deciding it could be a viable business. They plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in February, and aim to deliver the device at a comparatively economical $1,000 to $1,500. Just think of all the cab fare you'll save and the heads you'll turn.