Al­fred Ngilo, a driver from Clover in KZN, won this years’ an­nual Ex­tra Mile Chal­lenge driver com­pe­ti­tion, and will rep­re­sent South Africa against UD Quester driv­ers from around the world in Ja­pan in Novem­ber.

‘All-wheel drive, alu­minium boxes and high ground clear­ance’ … sounds like re­made De­fender, but it’s a go-most-places moped.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THE fu­ture of trans­port will of­fer a per­son­alised unit to fit any ego, and Boxx Co­po­ra­tion, the mak­ers of the two-wheel drive Boxx elec­tric scooter, said they are ready to de­liver the most prag­matic way to get to point B.

Wit­ness Mo­tor­ing re­ported on the Port­land-based team of en­gi­neers mo­du­lar scooter in 2012, and they say their de­sign is now as ef­fi­cient, ef­fec­tive and sta­ble as two-wheeled trans­port can get with cur­rent tech­nol­ogy.

It con­tains no flu­ids or chains, which to­gether with its short length means the Boxx eas­ily and cleanly stays in-doors, but this is not for mod­ern city roads only.

Build like an old Land Rover from alu­minium, the Boxx won’t rust at sea level. Its mak­ers say it also makes short work of pot­holes while a 16 cm ground clear­ance makes it good for ru­ral ar­eas too, where the high torque from three mo­tors will even en­able it to pull a small trailer.

To cel­e­brate th­ese achieve­ments, Boxx will stick a num­ber on each Boxx be­ing built from now to year end be­fore de­liv­er­ing it as one of a Sig­na­ture Se­ries.

Mea­sur­ing up at just one me­tre long, the Boxx can do up to 97 km, us­ing the 111 Newton me­tres gen­er­ate of a three-phase brush­less mo­tor.

This is more torque than most 1,2 petrol en­gines make, but ex­pe­ri­ence with fully elec­tric scoot­ers sug­gests this speed will come down to a crawl up KZN’s hills. Not so, claims Boxx on its web­site, where it says the Boxx can carry up to 136 kg “up any street hill un­der that pay­load”, in­clud­ing hills with a 20% grad­ing.

De­pend­ing on the num­ber of bat­ter­ies, Boxx said the three mod­els of Boxx scoot­ers can ride on a level road for 32 km up to to 86 km, rid­ing con­stantly at top speed.

The bat­ter­ies are in­stalled at floor level, giv­ing it a low cen­tre of grav­ity, while a pro­pri­etary sur­face sen­sor and brak­ing sys­tem en­sures safe han­dling.

Boxx said de­spite the scooter mea­sur­ing only a me­tre long, it has at least a third more pack­ing space than the av­er­age scooter, with the nose open­ing up to swal­low hand­bags or the seat lift­ing to take an open-face hel­met.

As for or­der­ing one, Wheels sug­gest you rather buy a used car with one of those small petrol en­gines on OLX, for it may be cheaper than a new Boxx.

The pric­ing starts at a lit­tle over R43 000 for the base, rear­wheel-drive model and jumps to over R71 600 for the all-wheeldrive Boxx M.

Note this, prices do not in­clude any of the op­tions, like a heated seat, which does makes the ask­ing price for a me­tre-long moped rather high, even for one this unique.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Not even a lit­tle black num­ber can make the rather pricey Boxx elec­tric scooter look stylish, but the mo­du­lar alu­minium boxes and all-wheel-drive sys­tem may yet go on to be­come as iconic as the Land Drover De­fender.

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