Over two years ago I test drove (and was carried by) a funky electric scooter made by San Francisco-based startup Lit Motors that carried large amounts of cargo and could fold down into a small size (see that video below). It was just a prototype back then, but on Wednesday the startup launched a new version of that e-scooter with a brand new Kickstarter campaign.
The scooter — now dubbed Kubo — looks like a cross between the box-carrying first prototype and a more classic 60′s style Vespa, with a curvy front and retro-looking stylings. Other than the fact that it’s 100 percent electric, the main unique feature about it is that you can fit a large 22 square inch box in its center, and it has a 300 lb capacity (for both cargo and rider). They seemed to have scrubbed the folding function from this version.
The Kubo can go 45 mph at top speed and can drive 50 miles on a single charge. The vehicle comes with an onboard charger to charge up from any outlet while on the go, and features little hooks on its floorboard so you can easily strap in cargo.
The price might be a sticking point for potential fans. While Lit Motors is still working out how much to charge, on the Kickstarter campaign a limited number of people can get a Kubo for a low of $5,000 to be delivered the summer of 2014. They’re also offering it for between $6,000 and $7,000 if you want to get a Kubo faster, like the spring of 2014. For $8,000 you can get a custom Kubo.
Lit Motor’s CEO Daniel Kim originally wanted to sell a lower end version of the electric scooter to developing markets, like India and China, for a much lower price. But clearly they’re aiming for the urban, more wealthy San Franciscan for this run.
Kubo is just a side project of Lit Motors — they’re using Kickstarter to test the market and pricing for it. Lit has been working on its tilting C-1 for awhile. A note of caution for potential backers: electric vehicles seem to be notoriously hard to build on time and on budget, so watch the project closely and be flexible.
My test drive of the early prototype from 2011: