Are these VW scooter concepts the future of urban mobility?

Volkswagen looks ready to scoot into the electric scooter market with its Streetmate and Cityskater concepts. The Streetmate is the better performer of the two, and the German company sees it as the perfect tool for urban commuters.

With a range of up to 21 miles (34 kilometers) and a top speed of 28 miles per hour (45 kilometers per hour), the 2.7-horsepower (2.0-kilowatt) scooter positions itself as an alternative to the commuter car. In fact, Volkswagen states the Streetmate would require licensed European owners to register and insure the vehicle.

Equipped with a 1.3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the Streetmate gets a full charge in as little as two hours and 15 minutes on a 500-watt charger. To make things easier, Volkswagen allows users to remove the battery pack and charge it in their home or office.

Driving the Streetmate entails pressing a thumb-switch on the handlebar to accelerate. Stopping comes courtesy of front and rear disc brakes (there’s even an anti-lock braking system). Additionally, regenerative braking allows the rear motor to recover energy when slowing the Streetmate down.

Riders can either stand on the 143-pound scooter’s floorboard or sit on its folding seat. At the center of the handlebar sits a 5.3-inch display that’s both weather- and waterproof and shares key information such as remaining range and the state of the battery’s charge. In place of a key, the Streetmate relies on a smartphone-based app to start.

Less exciting is the Cityskater. Seen as a go-between vehicle (for instance, the distance from your parked car to your office), the Cityskater’s 0.5 horsepower (0.4 kilowatt) electric motor affords a top speed of 12 mph (19 kmh) and up to 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) of range. At 33 pounds, Volkswagen envisions owners easily dropping this scooter in their car’s trunk or up a flight of stairs to their office.

Sporting three wheels, the Cityskater requires riders to steer with their legs by shifting their body weight from left to right (as in skiing). A control rod gives the rider something to hold onto and provides controls for starting, accelerating, and stopping the vehicle.

Volkswagen calls the Cityskater “production ready” and notes the vehicle is capable of supporting up to 265 pounds of mass. Unfortunately, the company makes no mention of when or if the model will go on sale or how much it will cost. Nonetheless, if the Cityskater concept is anything to go by, then a production model ought to offer a decent amount of standard kit, including front and rear lights, a rear disc brake, and a horn.

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