Micro, but mighty.
Micro, but mighty.
Text from Jan Strahl
Images from Benne Ochs
Micro mobility means cruising through the city in a fun, environmentally friendly way. What sounds like a completely new experience may soon be the mobility of everyday life – thanks to the innovative e-vehicles Cityskater and Streetmate from Volkswagen.
Curious glances, interested murmurs, nods of approval from passers-by – anyone who appears in public with the two Volkswagen masterminds Carsten Camrath and Christopher Möllers will experience spontaneous enthusiasm. However, the reason for this furore isn’t their resemblance to well-known sports or pop stars. The strikingly futuristic vehicles they have both brought along for a photo shoot are responsible for this reception. The white-painted, electrically driven design items are called Cityskater and Streetmate. “It is quite unusual how much interest and positive feedback we get on the street whenever we have the vehicles with us. I could have already sold a few examples on the spot,” explains Carsten Camrath, who, as head of micro mobility, has an example of the design study Streetmate there with him. “In series production, the Streetmate will not cost much more than a branded scooter with a combustion engine,” says Camrath. And with this comparison, he also defines the application area of the e-scooter: distances of up to 60 km with one battery charge and a maximum speed of up to 45 km/h characterise the Streetmate. “In contrast to a combustion engine, it travels emission-free locally – and near-silently,” continues Camrath. His colleague Christopher Möllers adds: “The electric vehicles are incredibly efficient; the efficiency level is extremely high. About 80 per cent of the power generated by the electric motor goes straight onto the street. For a scooter with a combustion engine, this is only 20 to 30 per cent. The rest disappears in a puff of smoke – in the truest sense of the phrase.”
“It is simply fun to drive with the Cityskater or the Streetmate. You arrive at your destination relaxed.”
A new driving sensation and attitude to life.
As senior innovation manager, Möllers is responsible, among other things, for the Cityskater, which will enter series production as early as spring 2019. In contrast to the Streetmate, the Cityskater achieves a lower speed of up to 20 km/h and has a range of approximately 15 km. The e-scooter is foldable and easy to store in the boot. It therefore offers a solution for the so-called “last mile”, the final leg if your car is going to be parked, for example, at a collective parking area outside the city. The last section of the trip to the office, theatre or shopping mall is then completed with the Cityskater. “The demands on mobility are ever increasing while the space for vehicles is getting smaller and smaller. Traffic therefore has to and will change enormously over the coming years. Volkswagen is making an important contribution with their solutions for so-called micro mobility.” The small vehicles – Cityskater and Streetmate are only the beginning in this segment – find a “parking spot” anywhere and travel near-silently and emission-free locally. “But it isn’t only the rational reasons that speak for these vehicles,” emphasises Camrath. “These are very emotional products that will ensure a completely new attitude to life in cities. It is simply fun to drive with the Cityskater or the Streetmate – you can chat to others at traffic lights, can stop spontaneously at a café and arrive at your destination relaxed.”
“These vehicles will not only change mobility, but also the appearance of our cities.”
It is expected that, in the beginning, the more technologically minded citizens aged between 25 and 45 will buy the micro-mobiles because they will consider the e-scooters as trendy lifestyle accessories. But Möllers has a clear opinion of whom the Cityskater and Streetmate have been developed for: “The products are for anyone, absolutely anyone, who wants to travel conveniently and cleanly. They can be used straightforwardly into old age and do not require any special skills. But aside from private use, the vehicles will also be of interest for business customers. Delivery services that need to take goods across the last mile, for example through a pedestrian area, can use our vehicles. Micro mobility also comes into its own where cars can go no further or are not permitted.” Möllers has no doubt about the success of the concept: “These vehicles will not only change mobility, but also the appearance of our cities. Urban planners will take them into account in future; charging options and parking spaces will be created everywhere.”
Extensive digital networking.
For the Cityskater and Streetmate, there will be apps that will link with the vehicles via a smartphone. “The app for the Cityskater will display information on the remaining range, my speed profile and the distance driven,” explains Möllers.
The functionalities of the Streetmate app could go a little further. A paired smartphone displays information such as the location of the Streetmate. The app alarm also sounds if an unauthorised person tries to start the vehicle. In any case, the vehicle can only be started if the app identifies the user as an authorised driver – the smartphone thus becomes a digital key. Even the display on the handlebars of the study (resolution: 1,440 × 2,560 pixels) can be connected with your mobile phone and receives navigation data from it, among other things.
For Carsten Camrath, individual apps are just the beginning of a holistic, digital and mobile solution that pools all of Volkswagen’s mobility offers. “In the near future, I will be able to manage all the mobility services I need from a single app on my smartphone,” says Camrath. “I monitor the charging management of my own electric car at home while I am at the airport in another city and book my car share to take me to the city centre there. At the same time, I can reserve myself an e-scooter for exploring the shopping malls, museums and sights. At some point, the app will show me that I have to head back to the airport, my ride-hailing shuttle (carpooling organised via app) is ready at my home airport and my electric car is fully charged for the family excursion the next day.” The future of mobility will be wonderfully simple – of this, Camrath is certain.