23/06/2013

My mobility scooter

By Philip Crewe

mobility scooter

A homemade electric assisted bicycle that is both utilitarian and fun – staying true to the spirit of two-wheeled transportation.


Building my electric assisted bike came about because of a knee injury, which means I can no longer cycle, so I built this to keep up with my cycling-obsessed friends.

Electric assist kits fitted to a standard bicycle frame have become increasingly popular, however the additional components make them look bloated and heavy. Recently there have been a number of new electric bicycle concepts publicised with integrated electronic components but they all seem to have adopted a brutal, performance orientated “stealth” aesthetic. These designs don’t seem appropriate to the contrast between fun and utility, which is central to the sprit of two wheeled transportation.

Conceptually my design references personal mobility vehicles from the first half of the twentieth century such as the Motobecane Mobylette and Philips Panda. These simple two wheeled vehicles were designed at a time of much experimentation and innovation, and brought mobility and freedom to millions.

Visually the aesthetic is dominated by its 48v 20ah battery placed as low as possible to the ground. The bespoke double frame enables the volume of the battery and motor to sit more comfortably by adding depth and moving it away from the largely two-dimensional feel of a traditional bicycle frame.

A hardwearing, breathable and waterproof fabric bag covers the electric components, protecting them from the elements. The saddle is made from the same fabric, its shaped to be comfortable both when peddling and moving solely on electric power.

Birchply panels, steam bent mudguards and a detachable wooden rack completes a sense of timeless familiarity and help build on a sense of craftsmanship. Whilst the bar ends made from Champagne corks add a whimsical touch. 

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