kubo combines the beautiful design of Apple & Vespa with the basic utility of a pickup truck. And it's electric! Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on December 20, 2013.
About this project
NOW AVAILABLE IN CANADA! And other countries…see more in the FAQ below.
ALSO NOTE UPDATED REWARDS! =)
AS SEEN ON:
"It’s a very nifty piece of work. Once you see it, you wonder why something like it hasn’t been made already." - TechCrunch
"Electric cargo scooter lust is now a thing." - AutoblogGreen
"…many prefer alternative forms of transportation over bumper-to-bumper commutes…" - Al Jazeera America
"The scooter looks like a cross between the box-carrying first prototype and a more classic 60s-style Vespa, with a curvy front and retro-looking stylings." - GigaOm
"Lit Motors' cargo-haulin' kubo" - Gizmag
"The company's kubo scooter, however, might be the perfect option for hauling not just ourselves around, but also all of our gear or groceries, without having to fit it all in a backpack." - Treehugger
"…a cleaner, safer option." - BBC
"Innovation can be found in all aspects of the cargo scooter. With its signature clean, white, elegant look inspired by Apple and Scandinavian design, the Kubo Cargo Scooter is unlike any other." - Future360
...but we've got another vehicle that we're excited to introduce you to. Check out our new electric scooter, kubo!
We're big fans of two-wheeled vehicles here at Lit, but we found existing motor scooters lacking. They make carrying anything a hassle, and we couldn't find a good quality electric scooter anywhere. So as a side project during our free time, we decided to make our own!
While in design school in 2006, Elliot Ortiz came up with a concept for a cargo scooter. Years later in 2010, Elliot, Zach Levenberg, and Lit founder & RISD grad Danny Kim built the first scooter prototype out of a variety of off-the-shelf parts and a hand-carved pink foam body. Danny was intrigued with the idea of developing an electric version, and after a few years of prototyping and development...
...we arrived at kubo!
- 45 mph top speed
- Up to 50 miles per charge
- 300 lbs capacity, cargo + rider
- 22" square cargo space with tie-down hooks, loops, and rails for a wide variety of ways to secure your stuff
- On-board charger—charge in a few hours from any wall outlet
- Adjustable-height seat to accomodate a wide range of riders, from 5'0" to 6'5"
- Small lockable stow compartment, perfect for extra bungee cords, phone, etc
- Integrated digital speedometer, odometer, and voltmeter (battery indicator)
- LED headlight and tail light
- Adjustable rear suspension
- 3 kW high-torque rear hub motor with regen braking
- Front disc brake
- Designed & manufactured in San Francisco, California
We think kubo is the bee's knees, and we think you will too! It's a fun way to get around the city, regardless of the terrain or how much you're carrying with you. Though it looks unique, it's just as easy as riding a regular scooter. We're excited to share this new form of urban transportation with you!
But kubo won't happen without you! This is a side project from our main vehicle, and we're only going to manufacture this scooter if there's interest. So if you like what you see, please check out the rewards to the right and help us make kubo a reality!
Risks and challenges
As with any hardware project, the biggest hurdle is to move from concept to actually building one. We know, because we already did it! We built a fully-functional alpha prototype, as shown in the photos/video above. We identified and lined up most of our vendors for parts and supplies. But some development remains...what do we have left to do?
Well, thankfully we already have a crackin' team. We're a team of experienced and well-educated makers (including two Art Center grads, Eric and Enoch!), with many years experience working on electric vehicles. Our founder, Danny Kim, has even built his own SUV! So we definitely have the necessary hands-on experience to make this happen. There are some minor design/engineering issues to address and some basic work to prepare our CAD models for production, but we already have the designers and engineers on board to take care of that.
We'll need to build up our factory. Our space right now is perfect for prototyping and development, but we'll need a larger space for actual production. We already have a space lined up, and our Production Advisor, Mark Thorogood, used his 25 years experience at BMW and the Rover Group to lay out a production plan. We just need to purchase the tooling, move into the new space, and set everything up.
Then we'll hire some employees for the actual fabrication and manufacturing. San Francisco is the epicenter of the maker movement, so that shouldn't be a problem in the least.
Once we have that set up, we can begin manufacturing scooters! We don't anticipate running into any major engineering challenges, as we've already addressed them developing our current prototype. We're sure we'll encounter some bumps on the road, but we feel confident that we can overcome them (and we'll share the process with our backers!) All that remains is cleaning up a few rough edges to make a finished product. We've been working on the scooter for a few years now, and it's almost ready to go!
Here's our basic manufacturing timeline:
January: Hire remaining team members, begin design rev, line up remaining parts suppliers.
February: Design rev, order parts/tooling.
March: Final pre-production beta prototype testing, setup factory in new building, hire production team.
April: Begin production, goal of 4 scooters/week.
May: Continue production, goal of 5 scooters/week.
June: Continue production, goal of 7 scooters/week.
July: Full-scale production, goal of 10+ scooters/week.
No way! In the same way that pickup trucks are used non-professionally by a wide range of people, so will kubo. Do you live in a city? Do you appreciate modern design? Then kubo is for you! kubo makes it easy to get around the city with your stuff, even if that's just a purse or backpack. Quicker than a car, less sweaty than a bike, able to split lanes and use tiny parking spaces (we're still working on the "leaping tall buildings in a single bound" functionality).
But of course, this is pretty much the ultimate urban delivery vehicle as well. And check out (below) the lockable, insulated box accessory we're making!
Just like your regular scooter, bicycle, or motorcycle—except now you can easily carry things! Check out the list of accessories below for different ways to hold your stuff. Though with a low center-of-gravity and rubber floor, many items don't need to be secured. You can set your backpack in the cargo area and it won't move an inch!
It looks crazy, right? It's quite intuitive! If you think about the motions, it's actually the same as steering a bicycle. And at speed, you barely move the handles at all—the steer is all about the lean, just like any other bicycle or scooter. We made a version with regular handlebars, and it didn't feel any different, so we stuck with our original unique steering. It's really fun! It feels almost exactly like a regular scooter. And with a low center-of-gravity, kubo is very stable.
The turning radius on our current prototype is approximately 70" (1.78m), so a total turning circle of just over 11.5' (3.5m). That's tight enough to easily turn around on all but the smallest alleys—and we may be able to tighten that up even more for the production model!
Lots! We have a variety of designs and mock-ups for different accessories. Here are a few we're developing:
- An tablet/smartphone holder that mounts to the top, to allow for use of GPS/maps while riding.
- A lockable box that mounts in the cargo area; like a trunk without a car, allowing you to safely stow your stuff while your scooter is parked. Customizable interior with different options for shelving and vertical dividers. Great size for a couple of grocery bags, your backpack, your purse, etc. Perfect for secure daily use.
- A custom wire basket, to be either mounted to the rails or held by bungee cords. Great size for a few grocery bags, your backpack, your purse, etc. Perfect for daily use.
- Bungee cargo nets, either forming "walls" or wrapped over the top of your stuff. Great for carrying irregular things.
- Bungee cords, to secure containers. Strap down a plastic cargo container, keep a box from sliding around, etc.
And many, many others! We're also really interested to see what crazy custom accessories our backers come up with!
Yep! Though not reflected on this prototype, we already have a supplier lined up to make a custom, removable battery pack for us. The batteries will weigh 40-50 lbs, split into two 20-25 lbs packs. So you'll be able to bring your batteries inside to charge, or swap them out for a fresh pack. There will be a lockable, flip-down panel on the side of kubo for easy access to the batteries.
Absolutely! That's one of our main goals with this vehicle. Overloaded scooters are dangerous and difficult to control. kubo's low center-of-gravity and variety of options to secure loads makes it a much safer option to transport things.
In the US, yes!
In Canada: not yet, but it will be!
Internationally: see the next question below.
Short answer: YES. Shipping fees will vary by country, but we're happy to ship your kubo to you.
Long answer: yes, but we can't guarantee it will be street-legal in your country. Each country (and sometimes each municipality within a country) has a different set of regulations concerning scooters/mopeds/motorcycles. Unfortunately, it's not within our resources right now to research and comply with every regulation in every country, or offer different models for each region. HOWEVER: if such regulations are simple, like "cannot exceed 50 kph", then we can definitely customize your kubo to comply—motor limiting is quite easy. If you have questions, please let us know!
We don't know yet, but likely around $6000 or so. For now, we're just selling via this campaign. If there's enough interest, we'll determine a retail price and bring kubo to market through more traditional channels.
Unfortunately no. We're still working on the folding scooter, but it requires a bit more development and likely won't be ready for production until 2015.
- (29 days)