Nis­san looks to the fu­ture

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

IN San Fran­cisco, Nis­san has sent 10 of its elec­tric quads to join 400 elec­tric scoot­ers al­ready serv­ing shared rid­ers as part of the Scoot net­work.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Nis­san’s Fu­ture Lab Rachel Nguyen, said as mega ci­ties grow, car mak­ers need to un­der­stand how trans­porta­tion is chang­ing and an­tic­i­pate what fu­ture needs will be. Nis­san’s elec­tric two-seater city quad has a range of about 128 km and a top speed of 40 km/h and pro­vides tan­dem seat­ing for two.

Nguyen said Scoot Net­works is an ideal part­ner for Nis­san in this re­search project. Rid­ers in the Bay Area of San Fran­cisco use a Scoot Net­works app to find a scooter in a des­ig­nated garage near them. To un­lock the scooter and the hel­met in the lug­gage box, rid­ers have to plug in their smart­phones. Once the jour­ney is done, they re­turn the scooter to any des­ig­nated garage and plug in the scooter to recharge. Rides on the scoot­ers cost about $3 and a monthly rental starts at $5.

Scoot vice-pres­i­dent Mike Walt­man said scooter rid­ers have been ask­ing for two seats and lug­gage space, and the Nis­san will meet th­ese needs. In­side seat belts and speak­ers add to com­fort, al­though the seat belt that snakes across the shoul­der from the rear to the front seat needs a re­design. In a test ride, Walt­man said that many driv­ers in con­ven­tional cars look at the tan­dem seater but don’t see it, which can make turn­ing in­ter­est­ing, to say the least.

Putting prices of taxis in SA in per­spec­tive, U.S. res­i­dents can rent a Scoot Quad at the dol­lar equiv­a­lent of R105 per half-hour, or R1 060 per day.

PHOTO: TECHCRUNCH

In the fu­ture, ex­pect more elec­tric quads like this to pro­vide rides for two in mega ci­ties.

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