Every time we run out the door, many of us face a split-second choice: Bike or car?
The decision tends to come down to perceived convenience; in a hurry, getting in a car often just seems easier. Folding bikes, which add an extra few steps to the process before they’re ready to go, can seem even more cumbersome than a regular bicycle.
A new folding electric scooter is designed to make it simpler to avoid driving. Push a button on a smartphone app, and in five seconds, the scooter unfolds and is ready to go. When you arrive somewhere, you can push the button again, and the scooter folds neatly back up.
The designers studied a ballet dancer to make the vehicle, called Inu, fold as gracefully as possible.
“We understood that a product should be practical and feel magical in order to be widely adopted by users,” says Inu CEO Ori Dadoosh. “We invested in designing an advanced automatic folding mechanism which can not only be triggered by pressing a button, tapping your smartphone or even using a hand gesture, but also implement a beautiful dance-like motion.”
Granted, it doesn’t actually take a lot of work to fold up a normal folding bike. But pulling out each part and locking it into place might be just annoying enough to make most people avoid it. Folded up, many bikes also look like a tangled pile of bike parts–and the designers hoped to create something a little more elegant, so someone would want to leave it on display when they get to the office.
The Inu, which launched this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, is also battery-powered, so someone doesn’t have to pedal and arrive at work covered in sweat. It will come in three different models with different battery sizes and can travel up to 25 kilometers per hour (15 miles per hour) on the street.
Like any folding bike, the Inu aims to help commuters who might not be able to squeeze a full-size bike (and certainly not an electric scooter) on a subway car or the bus, and who might have trouble finding parking when they arrive at work.
As car use keeps declining in cities, the startup believes that small electric vehicles like theirs may take the place of the automobile.
“There is no doubt about the dramatically increased need for a personal mobility platform,” Dadoosh says. “The question is how to make it possible for urban citizens to use it wherever they go…We believe that we have created a new concept for a personal urban platform.”
It isn’t cheap; the Inu ranges from 2999 euros (about $3580) to 4999 euros (close to $6000).