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September 11, 2017

Urb-E scooter review

by John_A

There is no limit to what we can electrify when it comes to transportation. Beyond the more substantial cars and motorcycles, we have smaller, more personal electrified skateboards, scooters, bicycles, three-wheelers, and even unicycles. If you need to get around quickly without worrying about parking, there is something out there for you. For our Urb-E electric vehicle review, we took a couple of the company’s products out for a spin.

Urb-E’s products may bring scooters to mind, but CEO and co-founder Peter Lee assured us that they are much more than that. “In our efforts to design and manufacture products that help people save time and money, we have identified the scooter as inadequate and outdated,” Peter Lee, co-founder and CEO of Urb-E, said. “As a result, our team took a problem solving approach to urban commuting/living and created a line of patented lightweight electric vehicles that easily fold, fit into an UBER or subway car, transform into a shopping cart, power all of your devices, and open a bottle of your favorite beverage.”

Here at Digital Trends, we have tried out all kinds of vehicles, and were impressed with the Urb-E’s capabilities beyond transport. Of particular note is the Urb-E Sport’s removable power source, aka “Eddy.” Eddy easily pops out from the Sport, giving you a portable power source that can charge five devices simultaneously via its four USB 2.0 and single USB Type C ports.

Urb-E also worked with the FAA to make Eddy compliant with domestic and international flight safety rules.

The Urb-E Sport is made of aircraft grade aluminum, sports 8-inch tires, and weighs 30 lbs. It has a range of 16 miles and a top speed of 14 mph. It can be folded and unfolded in a matter of seconds, and is compact enough to carry onto the subway or stashed in the trunk of your Uber or Lyft.

We were impressed with the Urb-E’s capabilities beyond transport.

The Urb-E Pro steps things up with a 350-watt rear-wheel drive brushless geared motor, 10-inch pneumatic tires, and carbon fiber construction. The Pro is capable of handling some rugged terrain, though we see it getting plenty of use on broken, debris-strewn streets of busy cities. This model weighs a bit more than the Sport at 35 lbs., but it has a higher top speed of 18 mph, with a range of 20 miles. You can also power your USB devices from the Pro, though Eddy does not come along for this ride.

We found the Sport was nimble and easy to maneuver. If you can ride a bicycle, you can ride an Urb-E. The Sport GT we rode features a pushrod suspension system, which helped smooth things out on the bumpy midtown Manhattan streets.

The Pro GT felt more substantial and was just as easy to ride as the Sport. The larger wheels alone inspired more confidence as we avoided potholes, knowing that with time, any regular commuter would have to get used to dealing with them.

The Urb-E can be controlled like a bicycle via the handlebars, but you can also shift your weight to make it move in any direction. You could put together a makeshift slalom course and move between the cones just by leaning left and right. Of course in the real world, the cones would be replaced with distracted tourists, excited dogs, and delivery people.

If you can ride a bicycle, you can ride an Urb-E.

We were impressed by Urb-E’s build quality, which takes its cues from high-end performance cars. Indeed, Urb-E’s products were engineered by Sven Etzelsberger, previously a lead engineer at Porsche, Fisker, and Saleen, and designed by Grant Delgatty, industrial design professor at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.

A typical commute in a city like Manhattan is not long at all in distance, but could take forever due to traffic and problems on the bus or subway. Personal vehicles can relieve some of these headaches, and the Urb-E could be a solid choice for those who want to avoid public transport and its inherent delays. Or they can be combined with the city’s services, as you can ride your Urb-E to the train, fold it up, hop on, then unfold it at your stop and ride to your destination.

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