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Concept Mini scooter gets its kick from BionX motor

Published December 5, 2014

AURORA, Ontario (BRAIN) — BionX is supplying the kick for a concept electric kick scooter produced by Mini, a brand of BMW.

The folding Mini Citysurfer Concept, which marries a kick scooter to an electric drive, is designed to fit in the trunk of a car (like a Mini, for example) or on a train or bus, while providing transportation for the last mile.

BionX makes motor systems for electric bicycles. It previously teamed up with BMW on a folding e-bike that was featured at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

BionX has ties to the automotive industry through Magna International, a big Canadian automotive supplier. It was formerly part of Magna and is now owned by Magna's largest shareholder, said Paul Gingl, vice president of business development for BionX.

"We're on the top of the list many times when an automotive company thinks about alternative forms of transportation," he said.

Mini presented the scooter at the L.A. Auto Show.

The Citysurfer "fits quite nicely into the e-bike space, since we already manufacture systems for folding e-bikes," Gingl said.

The Citysurfer Concept weighs 40 pounds and uses a BionX motor in the rear hub. The motor allows a top speed of 15 mph but won't activate until the rider manually reaches a minimum speed. Mini and BionX say the Citysurfer Concept has a range of 10 to 15 miles on a charge.

It's built for comfort and stability with a low foot board, pneumatic tires that are larger than typical kick scooter tires, and adjustable handlebars.

The BionX motor is an adaptation of a front hub motor that it sells in the Benelux countries, Gingl said.

Although Mini has not released production plans or suggested pricing, Gingl said BionX is expecting a "potential low-volume order coming soon" that could pave the way to higher volumes. Gingl also said he would like to see the scooter priced a little less than a premium e-bike.

"If this thing comes just slightly under a good-quality e-bike, I think it's got great potential," he said.

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