Mini Debuts Electric Citysurfer Scooter At 2014 LA Auto Show


With the somewhat blaring headline:


…the Mini folks have joined the folding two-wheeled scooter fray.  Forgive us if we’re somewhat unimpressed.

LA Show Debuts Mini Scooter

LA Show Debuts Mini Electric Citysurfer Scooter Concept

Specs from the press release:

With a maximum speed of up to 25 km/h (15 mph) and an electric range of some 15 to 25 kilometers (10 – 15 miles), the MINI Citysurfer Concept is ideally suited for day-to-day use over short distances. The full range of the concept vehicle’s strengths especially come into their own when it is used as a spontaneously available supplement to an automobile or local public transport. Thanks to its low weight of some 18 kilograms (40 lbs) and a folding concept, it fits easily into the luggage compartment of the new MINI 3 door, for example.

…and a bunch of photos:

Mini scooter thing

Mini Electric Citysurfer Scooter Concept

Electric Citysurfer Scooter folded

Electric Citysurfer Scooter Concept folded…

...and stowed.

…and stowed.

(What we heard was “waah wahh wahh  25 km/h (15 mph) wahh wahh range of 25 kilometers (10 – 15 miles), wahh wahh wahh 18 kilograms (40 lbs) wahh wahh folding concept,wahh wahh wahh wahh.  Apologies to Charlie Brown’s mother.)

So, why are we less-than-amazed?  Well, for one, it ain’t that “mini”.  Almost any major retail chain is going to feature some little scooter thing that’s way waaaaay mini-er.  Then there’s the Hobby King scooter we covered a few days ago, the ScootPlus. Better specs, a whole lot smaller and lighter.  It looks to us like you could fit about a dozen of those folded up little suckers in that boot.  You like those big wheels though?  Well, Razor has had the EcoSmart Metro for more than a few years now, with a faster top speed, more range, a little more weight but alas, it doesn’t fold.  Price?  Around $420.  The price of the Electric Citysurfer?  MINI only knows…  Don’t forget, (as one of our readers likes to remind us), the Go-Ped Hoverboard.  It’s kind of awesome, too.

And are we the only ones slightly bemused by a “concept” designation on a type and style of product that’s been around for a decade or so, and has less than “concept”-grade specs?  hmmm?

Funny thing.  Because we’re total geeks, we noticed this comment in the press release:

“For safety reasons, the auxiliary power of the electric motor is not activated until the rider reaches a minimum speed purely through physical thrust. This prevents the vehicle from rolling away unintentionally.”

Uh, yeah, okay.  What’s going on there is they’re using a brushless motor, with a cheap motor controller that doesn’t use a standard hall-sensor array to control the motor.  It’s known as a “sensorless” controller and uses the dynamic magnetic fields to control the timing of the motor.  The only disadvantage?  It has to be started rotating manually – it has no “starting torque”, so it gets started spinning by the rider – a good cheap, simple and reliable solution for scooters and bicycles, not so much anything else.  Nice way to “spin” cheaper tech into a “safety” feature, too.

It’s electric, it’s fun, it folds.  Not a bad “concept.”  We just it could have been done a little, well Mini-er.

Categories: Bikes, General, Mini


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