Published on June 25th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart0
The Kiwano K01 Electric Unicycle Shrinks The Last Mile To One Wheel
June 25th, 2017 by Nicolas Zart
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for all things quirky and out of the ordinary. Although we brushed upon electric unicycles in the past, and cover them from time to time, the Kiwano K01 electric unicycle certainly fits the bill when it comes to one-wheel efficiency.
The Kiwano K01, a Self-Balancing Act
The first electric unicycle project I saw was the wild-looking Ring-O by Iranian CG artist Mohammed Ghezel. Check out his page for some interesting ideas he has on mobility! That opened my mind to another road to electric travel, this time on one wheel. The idea was to sit inside a big wheel low to the ground with an electric motor forwarding the unicycle. Tilting to a side would shift weight and turn in that direction, while at low speed and stops, the Ring-O rests on one of two external rotary rims.
The Kiwano K01 goes a more conventional route, but it uses a similar approach in terms of basic principles.
I think the Kiwano K01 is a really cool-looking electric uni-wheel scooter of sorts. It is tiny but it packs a mighty torque punch. It’s sort of like a mongrel child between a Segway and a stealthy, futuristic Asian company. It rests on its sole wheel as if a hatched-up Razor insisted on standing up on its front wheel. It’s endearing, also.
Technically Speaking, The Kiwano K01
Traveling 20 mph (32 km/h) on an electric uni-wheel certainly promises to be fun and filled with sensations. And the Kiwano seems to be no slouch either. Considering that it can carry a maximum load of 550 pounds on its 8.5 inches, measuring 108 cm (~42.5″) tall by 43 cm (~17″) wide, the results give you a sense the electric vehicle (EV) was well designed.
Weighing in at 20 kg (44 lbs), it gives an average rider a range of up to 20 miles. Quality wise, it sounds as if the company didn’t cut corners either, sporting zinc alloy and carbon fiber components. The Kiwano K01 uses a 1000W electric hub motor powered by a 55.5V, 4.4Ah, 232.2 Wh LG lithium-ion battery pack.
Although there’s no real suspension designed into it, a spring-based system nudged in between the handlebar and wheel/motor combo acts as a rudimentary one, at least enough for city and urban mobility. The K01 can tackle inclines of up to 35% (~19 degrees).
As far as displays, LED lights are used forward and backward, with an LCD display mounted on the handlebars where riders can see their speed or battery level. They can also set riding modes ranging from novice to pro. And, just in case, a “digital key lock” is also included for security.
As to when and where and how much? The company announced the availability of the Kiwano K01 electric unicycle at Best Buy, with pre-orders ready for delivery by July for $799. The MSRP is estimated at $999. Considering its performance and the overall e-mobility landscape, I’d say that’s reasonable.
Kiwano & The Future
According to Oliver Evans, CEO of Shark Design, regarding the Kiwano K01’s future: “The future of transportation is electric and the rapid development of electric motor and battery technology in the last decade means there is now an opportunity to develop some truly remarkable devices.
“We’re very much a premium product, and we’re aiming to develop the brand into the very top end of the market. That’s why we’re using the best batteries (LG) and using premium materials (carbon fiber) so we deliver something that’s durable and that people will get plenty of use and enjoyment from.
“We’re launching with Best Buy in the USA in August, and we’re going to other distributors and retailers worldwide. We’re currently assembling in Asia, but we’ll be making our products in the USA in the fall of 2017.”
Kiwano K01 Accessories & More
But what if? One thing that caught our attention was the accessory choice, specifically that of wheels, namely the Urban and Sport. The Sport does have more wet traction control grooves. You’ll also get a chance to put on a fender, grips, a GoPro, a helmet, as well as a rapid charger from the company store.
We really like the idea behind the Kiwano K01 electric unicycle, which sets out to haul you on electricity on one wheel in the most efficient way.