URB-E, the self proclaimed worlds smallest compact e-vehicle has raised just over $41,000 funds on Indiegogo with a campaign goal of $150,000 thousand. The extremely efficient scooter is geared at providing people in urban areas with an eco-friendly option to commute. The URB-E costs $299 and you can pledge for it here.
The URB-E team consists of three co-founders and four other members of the URB-E team all with marketing, design, and engineering backgrounds. They’ve also secured a very impressive advisory board which includes 2 sets of partners at law firms, Jeff Joyner, a board member at Clean Tech Los Angeles, and Dr. Tom Kosnik of Stanford Technology Ventures Program.
The URB-E is self proclaimed as “the last one mile vehicle,” which is targeted towards the urban commuters. The URB-E team is assuming that their target market will be using the motorized scooter in conjunction with the subway or metro. This is unless, of course, you live within a distance the URB-E can handle.
An urban scooter is nothing new. The URB-E team identifies that their target market may already be using a form of transportation in which they consider to be competitors. While bicycles or other larger e-vehicles have been on the market for some time, Delgatty believes his product will be focused on compact design functionality. If you’re using the URB-E in conjunction with a bus, subway, metro, or other form of public transportation, you may be faced with the problem of size. The URB-E folds up nicely and becomes the size of a large carry on luggage.
Where The URB-E Succeeds
Size and Mobility
After doing some research to look at what was already being offered in the market, the URB-E beats everyone on size. Their price point may be a little higher than some others in the market but many of there competitors produce a vespa size e-vehicle which is far too large for those considering public transit as well.
The URB-E App
This has to be our favorite part of the scooter outside of the actual functionality. The URB-E comes with a dock to place your smartphone accompanied with a downloadable app. The app, which is free, will give you metrics such as battery life, range, speed, along with the option to use your smartphone as the URB-E key.
With a standard lithium ion battery, it can reach a full charge in 3 hours using a standard wall outlet. After a full charge you have the ability to use the URB-E for a total of 20 hours. If you’re using the URB-E on a commute that requires you to use 1 hour of charge a day, you would only need to charge the URB-E twice a month.
Why This Product Worries Me
There are a couple features of the URB-E that worry me. As mentioned, the price of the URB-E seems to be a bit higher than some of it’s competitors, however finding the cheapest product is not what we’re looking for. We’re most concerned with it’s ability to handle hills.
The URB-E sports a 250W motor which most likely will have a 15N.M torque capability. We’re not experts in electrical engineering and it certainly depends on the vertical of the hill we’re talking about, but a low end motor handling hills is something to be concerned about. I would like to have seen them demo what the speed would look like moving on a couple hills.
We can’t imagine what their strategy would be if their target market is going to be commuters in urban cities, with no decent uphill functionality.
Lastly, we feel they did a great job organizing their Indiegogo campaign. They conveyed their message very clearly and used high resolution photos and quality videos for demonstrations. One aspect of their campaign was very confusing and pointless to us.
In their pledge tiers, they have two prices for the URB-E, both extremely different. They originally wanted to have the URB-E made in the US which costs much more to manufacture. Once they ran the numbers to have it produced in Southern California, it came out ot $1,599. After a ton of feedback from their beta testers all complaining about the price, they found an overseas manufacture that could produce the parts for $799.
Not only is this confusing, but it puts them in an awkward position incase things break down. Will customers become upset if the $799 model breaks down and thus blame overseas manufacturing? Or if the $1599 model begins to have some issues, everyone will inherently assume the $799 will be much worse.
Despite the confusion [to us] in pricing structures, the $1599 has been purchased 14 times, where the $799 model has been purchased 3 times