A totally new type of small EV is in the works from Surge Automobiles, an electric rickshaw-type 3-wheeler that has an interesting feature — it can be converted into an electric scooter in just minutes.
This modular EV from Surge allows the driver to use it as a little truck or passenger vehicle part of the time, and then when that extra space isn’t needed, to disconnect the front section from the rear section and ride away on a fully independent scooter. Converting the Surge S32 from a work or hauling type of vehicle into a smaller transport option could be advantageous, as the rider would essentially own two types of vehicles and can use the S32 in whichever format is most appropriate at the time.
The initial announcement about the Surge S32 was only a small paragraph in a longer press release from Hero Motocorp, with very few details (and no mention of the S32 is made on the company’s website).
“Keeping with its vision to be the Future of Mobility, at Hero World 2024, the Company also showcased its world’s first-class convertible vehicle — “Surge S32”. The innovative product has 40 patents to its name, has the seamless technology fluidly transitions between a twowheeler and a three-wheeler in mere seconds. The product, conceptualized and built in India, aesthetically also redefines the perception of three- wheelers.”
And then the next day, a video unveiling the Surge S32 was released on YouTube, in which they describe it as being the “world’s first segment adapting vehicle,” which might be a true description of it, but it sure isn’t an attention-grabber:
Now that the cat is out of the bag, we’ve learned that Surge has its own website, where there is a lot more info on the S32, although some of those pesky details, such when it might go into production and what it will cost, are still not readily available. The S32 can be configured as a flatbed truck or a box truck for cargo, or as an enclosed passenger vehicle.
The company calls the technology behind the S32 the Advanced Modular Scaleable Electric Platform, or AMSEP. The scooter has its own 3.5 kWh battery and a 6kW motor which propel it when not connected to the rear section, and the rear section has its own 11kWh battery pack and a 13kW motor that drives the rear wheels when in rickshaw mode. According to the FAQ, only one drivetrain is active when in rickshaw mode, which I’m assuming is the rear one, but it isn’t specified. The two are connected electrically when in rickshaw mode, so perhaps the vehicle can draw from both battery banks. The website also mentions something called ATIS (All Terrain Ichange System) which appears to allow the S32 to adapt to differing terrains, although no other details were available.
Here’s another quick video about the S32 that was posted to X shortly after the unveiling:
#Hero has unveiled a revolutionary three-wheeler that transforms into a two-wheeler, showcasing the innovative spirit and ingenuity of Indian engineering. It’s amazing to witness such groundbreaking advancements. #Innovation #MakeInIndia 🇮🇳 🛵 pic.twitter.com/yHJPzys5kb
— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) January 26, 2024
Depending on pricing, this little convertible EV could be very useful in certain locations around the world, especially for the self-employed or entrepreneur who needs a work vehicle during the day and a personal vehicle the rest of the time. In countries where 2- and 3-wheeled transport is the norm rather than the exception, this wouldn’t be a hard sell — at least in terms of features. In other places, such as the incredibly car-centric US, where these types of small EVs could make a big difference in cities, it’s not likely that little 3-wheelers will gain any traction any time soon.
Images courtesy of Surge.