BMW is set to debut three new electric-powered scooters at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The Mini Scooter E is a two-wheeled two-seater, with its electric motor housed back with the rear wheel. There has been much talk of late about the need for a buildout of a charging infrastructure to support electric vehicles; a report from Pike Research yesterday foresaw 4.7 million charge points to be installed globally by 2015. But the Mini Scooter E sidesteps this question entirely, since it can be charged at any old outlet using an on-board cable. Here's the coolest part of the Mini, though: the scooter's cockpit houses a snap-in adapter for your smartphone, which becomes the central display and control element of the scooter. In fact, the smartphone will even serve as the ignition key; snap it in, and the scooter switches on.
All the things that you usually feel guilty about doing on your smartphone while driving, the scooter basically makes easier (and probably safer) for you to do. Your GPS is docked right in front of you, instead of held outstretched in your hand; you can presumably use your iTunes like a built in radio; and you can make calls hands free with the help of a Bluetooth-outfitted helmet. BMW also has conceived an app that will let you know where other Mini Scooter E's are in your vicinity. When you pass a fellow traveler on the road, the app will flash your headlights in mutual self-congratulation.