The functional prototype (without balancing) was ready for a spin in spring 2019. Parallel the bodywork design was iterated to achieve a good balance between the twin-tube frame and a shell to accommodate the battery and electronics.
A large 20" front tire was chosen as an unique design feature, but also as the main safety feature to prevent accidents caused by a smaller tire jamming in pot holes etc. The air-filled tire also cushions the ride even without suspension.
The larger rim provides enough space for a powerful geared ebike hub-motor, which makes the ride truly an experience in itself. Quick accelerations and steep climbs are considered no problem.
The third reason was to provide reserved space for the self-balancing equipment in future.
Even though the body was rather a shell to cover the internals of the scooter, the plan was eventually to 3D print monocoque bodies with carbon fibre re-inforced thermoplastic. The monocoque would have fixing points for the fork bearing tube and the hardtail. Internal structure like the battery compartment and channels for cables would have been printed in place.
Assembly simplification and time savings are obvious results. Furthermore the use of additive manufacturing would have opened the door for extensive customization based on customer demand. In contrast to thermoset resins, commonly used in conjunction with carbon fiber, 3D printed plastic enables recycling at the end of its life-cycle.
Another aspect that has often been criticized in public escooters is the way people park them. Or in other words, how people toss them away after use. Due to mechanical shortcomings especially scooters of the first generations lacked a proper kickstand to keep them upright during parking.
Often a small hit or a strong wind was enough to bring them to fall leaving the streets cluttered with obstacles. Main reason for the falling characteristic was a kickstand too short in respect of the scooter's height.
Thus we opted for the widest possible kickstand we could accommodate in the scooter. It doubles as the rear fender arms, which open to both sides forming essentially a large tripod together with the front tire. This gives the frame a very good stability during parking.
The kickstand can also be motorized to have it extend by an electronic signal while driving autonomously. This is necessary for automated parking but also useful for longer stands to save energy for example in red lights etc.