When I first discovered URB-E at the 2013 Alt CarExpo in Santa Monica, it was love at first sight. What’s not to like about this funky, strange looking foldable electric scooter?
For one thing, it resoundingly looks like nothing else on the market. OK, OK, since then it has sorta, kinda, somewhat been copied, but knowing Sven Etzelsberger the engineering brain behind the URB-E and co-founder of the company, nothing comes close to that quality of engineering and design. We tested it here and loved it. I still want one, no doubt about it.
The New And Improved URB-e Sport And Sport GT
The new and improved URB-E Sport changes things around from the previous version. The wheels are obviously bigger, for one thing. The other notable difference is that the electric motor is now inside the back wheel, not in front. It will be harder to do those fun acceleration burn outs but I’ll soon find out. Stay tuned next week as I test ride them both. The Sport retails for $899, while the GT for $1,099.
Why bigger wheels? If you need to ask… let’s be serious. Bigger wheels mean more fun under various road conditions. If the original URB-E was perfect for everyday sidewalk adventures, bringing it off-road required a lot of attention and experience. The bigger wheels mean we can go on different surfaces. This surely spells a lot of fun.
The URB-E Sport bumps up its electric motor to 300W instead of the previous 250W. It gives us a reviewed architecture where the battery is placed lower in the frame. This should make for even more handling fun.
The difference between the Sport and GT version is that the GT offers a performance speed controller providing increased torque on demand. It adds to this a built in front vertical kickstand. This makes trips to the supermarket an easier endeavor. One nitpick I had with the original one was that it wouldn’t stand up on its own. You had to purchase an extra kickstand. The GT version also adds a racecar inspired pushrod suspension system for additional comfort.
14 mph Top Speed
16-mile Range per Charge
30 lbs Including the Battery
36v 30-Cell Li-Ion Battery
The Improved URB-E Pro and Pro GT
The URB-E Pro and its GT version also update performance with an even more powerful rear motor rated at 350W. It does keep the previous architecture, which still works very well. It borrows the bigger wheels from the Sport version and retails for $1,699, while the GT is $1,999.
18 mph Top Speed
20-mile Range per Charge
35 lbs Including the Battery
35V 50-Cell Li-Ion Battery
URB-E Design and Philosophy
Both Sport and Pro use carbon fiber handlebars and a front fork. The reason for the front fork made of carbon fiber is to give it flexibility without sacrificing structural integrity and adding to the overall weight. Both use an US-produced SAPA 6061 T6 aircraft grade extruded aluminum frame.
The other innovation is the growing onboard charging system. The original URB-E only had one USB port you could connect any device allowing for a ubiquitous ever-connected lifestyle. The new models up the ante by giving you no less than four USB ports. This includes a USB-C port and two AC power slots. The new URB-E allows you to charge a laptop or a smartphone. In fact, it can charge five devices at once.
The Perfect Micro-Mile Solution
The new URB-E Sport and Pro, on both standalone or GT versions, are terrific last mile solutions from the company. Perhaps Evan Saunders, Head of Sales and Marketing at URB-E puts it best by saying it is the perfect micro-mile solution.
What is a micro-mile? A micro-mile is the short distance you will make during a day that don’t necessitate taking your car or public transportation. A micro-mile is that coffee run or that lunch break around the corner of the office. In other words, a micro-mile is part of those out of office hops we frequently do in a day. Why not have fun with it?
URB-E has been hard at work convincing public transportation that it is an integral part of our e-mobility lifestyle. Evan told me you can get a 7-day free pass on both the New York City MTA and Los Angeles’ Metrolink systems. But e-mobility means more than public transportation, it also includes share-riding. You can just as easily bring your URB-E with Uber and Lyft experience. Since it requires no parking spots, the URB-E is a perfect addition for any mobile worker as well. And this is where the Sport and Pro really shine, they are perfect allies for any micro-mile hops and last mile commutes.
Now for the good news. The price decrease is because URB-E was able to use fewer components. This means they are able to produce it at a better price.
The CES success for URB-E is followed by the positive feedback the company received at the Detroit Auto Show. URB-E has made a name for itself in the tight community that answers the last mile and micro-mile questions. We can expect more products in the future, solutions that may or may not be vehicles.
I Want My URB-E!
Check out the accessory page. Most of the time, I skip accessories. They usually fail to excite me and feel like a way to squeeze more from my wallet. However, URB-E’s accessory page sports interesting additions to this prolific mobility device. My favorite is the basket. Why would I want a basket on a mobility device? Check out the original video I shot of Sven and me in my original story going to a local supermarket for grocery shopping. We had a lot of fun shooting it. The basket fits perfectly and makes for a terrific shopping companion. The front vertical kickstand is a great addition, as is the Abus folding lock.
URB-E continues to develop its product line and positions itself as a smart last mile and micro-mile companion for our e-mobility growing needs. We look forward seeing the next developments.