It is not often that we cover hardware startups have developed something as large as an electric scooter, but such is the case with unu Motors, a German company that has developed a bike that is practical, while ostensibly also quite environmentally-friendly.
The bike that unu has created, which comes in 65 possible colors, has been designed to be roughly the same size as a Vespa, but, lacking a gas tank, weighs only 58kg. The bike is powered by Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries with Panasonic cells, but what makes it unique is that they are offering the capability of plugging into any electrical outlet (230 volts), rather than having to re-charge it at a special power station or in a garage. And the startup says that, even after the rider has taken it 45,000km, the bike is capable of retaining at least 80% of its original charging capacity. unu offers a fact sheet with full details on the bike at their website, but it is worth noting that charging takes between 5-6 hours and the status of which can be checking through an LED screen.
The scooters, which went on sale in summer 2014, vary in price, based on the size of the motor (customers can choose from 1,000kw, 2,000kw, and 3,000kw options), with the cheapest going for 1,699 Euro. The startup says that the cheapest option, capable of lasting up to 50km on a charge, includes a rechargeable battery and free delivery to the rider’s home. They also offer the bikes with registration and insurance or with the license plate mounted, for those who request it.
unu claims $1.79 million in funding from local angels and Michael Baum, but tells me that they are looking to expand beyond their current market of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and are seeking out additional backers and partners.