Everyone likes those tiny little smart cars, right? They’re adorable, and in big cities — and only in big cities — they make good sense. Well, now there’s another mode of urban transportation in the works. Research center TUM Create seems to have reinvented the wheel by creating a new multipurpose vehicle that combines elements of a scooter, a car, and I daresay a rickshaw. Called the VOI, the two-wheeler is intended for use in heavily populated cities.
The prototype was unveiled at the 3rd Taiwan International Electric Vehicle Show and was the joint work of final-year students from the Technical University of Munich and the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
The VOI is small, maneuverable, and electrically powered. By design, it’s meant to be as affordable as a regular scooter. A passenger cabin is situated in the front, providing a protective chassis that keeps out the elements, while the driver in the back is subject directly to nature’s fury and all the noise of a bustling city.
And if you don’t like your passengers, just kick them out. The whole cabin can be removed and replaced with a cargo box or mobile kitchen — and therein lies the selling point for this versatile, modular little scooter-thing.
It’s also lightweight, and it maxes out at about 25 miles per hour. Somewhat surprisingly, the VOI is named after the Vietnamese word for elephant. That might suggest a ponderous movement but in fact the elephant is a symbol of intelligence and safety as a means of transportation.
So is this a vehicle of the future? Or a glorified electric stroller for adults?
Here’s a video showing how it was made and what it looks like in action:
(via PhysOrg, images courtesy of TUM CREATE)
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