Volkswagen Cityskater in action

Micro, but mighty.

Micro, but mighty.

Text from Jan Strahl
Images from Benne Ochs

January 2019

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.

Volkswagen Electric Mobility Expert Christopher Möllers
Volkswagen electric-mobility expert Christopher Möllers commutes between his home and workplace. But when he parks his car, he hasn’t yet reached his destination. The brilliant solution to cover his last mile is folded in the boot ...

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.”

Christopher Möllers with his Cityskater
Here, the Volkswagen Cityskater comes into play – or out of the boot. It can be used to bridge the remaining distance to the destination – the so-called “last mile”. The Cityskater is unfolded and ready for use in a matter of seconds.
Christopher Möllers on his Volkswagen Cityskater
“It is simply fun to drive with the Cityskater or the Streetmate. You arrive at your destination relaxed.”
Volkswagen Cityskater
Electrically driven via the rear wheel, the Cityskater drives through the city on three wheels (two in front, one at the rear). Unlike a skateboard or scooter, it has a separate footboard with its own wheel for each leg. A control bar provides the necessary support; steering – similar to skiing – is achieved through the intuitive weight transfer from one leg to the other. The board can be started, accelerated and braked via a hand grip on the control bar.
Christopher Möllers with his Volkswagen Cityskater

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.”

Carsten Camrath and Christopher Möllers in conversation
“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.

Carsten Camrath with the Volkswagen Streetmate
As head of micro mobility at Volkswagen, Carsten Camrath knows the advantages of the Streetmate better than anyone and is 100 per cent convinced by the concept: “I would be willing to exchange my company car for a Streetmate,” he says.
Volkswagen Streetmate in action
The Streetmate is designed for medium distances – such as from one part of the city to another – in the urban area. It can be driven while standing or sitting on the folding seat. Operating and driving the Streetmate are simple: the electrical power is called up on the handlebars with a thumb. To drive the e-scooters, which need insurance and authorisation, helmets and driving licences are required in Europe.

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.

Detailaufnahmen des Volkswagen Streetmate
Detailed photos of the Volkswagen Streetmate

With its clear product design, the Streetmate stands out starkly from the cumbersome look of conventional (motor)scooters. The small, (electric) wheel hub motor in the rear wheel contributes to this. And the Cityskater relies on sophisticated design down to the last detail. Both vehicles convey the high quality standards of Volkswagen in terms of design, materials and workmanship into the new micro mobility segment, too.

Detailed photos of the Volkswagen Streetmate
Detailed photos of the Volkswagen Streetmate
“In my mind, I can already see myself driving through Central Park with the Cityskater.”

Closer and more active on the go.

Apart from the everyday commute or for errands, the e-scooters can also be employed when visiting other cities – whether on a business trip or for sightseeing. Where would the two Volkswagen experts want to go with the new mobility options? “Definitely New York,” replies Christopher Möllers without even having to think about it. “I like this city of cities and, of course, it would be fantastic to explore it with the Cityskater. In my mind, I can already see myself driving through Central Park.” Carsten Camrath doesn’t want to specify a particular city, but can see himself using it “anywhere I’m staying. I can also imagine completely rediscovering my home town. With the Streetmate, you have the range and speed for larger exploration. But you can move much closer to the action, perceive the environment more actively and, of course, I can discover interesting places that I’ve only driven past until now.” Like millions of others who, in the coming years, will use the new mobility solutions from Volkswagen, Camrath would like to experience his home town completely afresh. “But not only there; I actually want the Streetmate with me all the time. Be it in Dubai, Jakarta or any small town on the Mediterranean coast – these concepts make life easier and more liveable everywhere.”

We would like to thank AUTOSTADT and the phæno for their cooperation and support.

Technical data for the Cityskater and Streetmate

Cityskater
Drive: electric, e-motor
Performance: 450 watts (maximum power)
Battery: lithium-ion-battery
Nominal capacity: 200 Wh
Maximum speed: up to 20 km/h
Range: up to 15 km
Weight: < 15 kg
Measurements: 850 mm long, ready to drive 1,170 mm high; folded 330 mm high

Streetmate
Drive: electric, e-motor
Performance: 2 kW
Battery: lithium-ion-battery
Nominal capacity: 1.8 kWh
Maximum speed: up to 45 km/h
Range: up tp 60 km
Weight: 65 kg

Future technologies
by Volkswagen

Volkswagen is aiming to become the world’s largest e-mobility provider. In doing so, Volkswagen is implementing the topic holistically and will, within a few years, cover the entire spectrum of electric mobility. From the premium-class flagship I.D. VIZZION previously presented as a study to the multivariable and iconic design of the I.D. BUZZ, the spacious I.D. CROZZ SUV and the compact I.D. to the micro mobility vehicles Streetmate and Cityskater.

The vehicles are near-series studies.