The Segway is Dead. Long Live the Airwheel A3 Powered by Magnetic Levitation

A3 Scooter 12 photos
Photo: Airwheel Technology
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Scooters huh? If anyone calls this next contraption a scooter, then I'm in the wrong business. Personally I don’t even know how to call it. Let's try dual unicycle. Nope, still not good enough.
It’s actually called the A3 and is produced by a company known as Airwheel. It is is something similar to what we’ve seen before, the Ryno or even Segway. But imagine the Ryno went to space, met some super techy aliens, and then came back looking like this and performing... Well, you’ll get to know that too.

It’s a completely self-balancing scooter, but I feel it’s only called a scooter because it has two wheels. How it does this is simple. Just like the Segway, the A3’s movement is controlled by the riders body position or inclination. You want to move forward, lean a bit forward and a number of sensors and software will calculate the movement and power up the motor accordingly. The same holds true for braking. To stop, lean back, and the components will automatically brake.

It does seem simple enough, and it is. But it’s because we're talking about a system that has been exposed to quite a bit of testing over the years. Although, nothing is mentioned about how we steer this off-road e-cycle, but we can guess it happens in a similar way to Segways.

A3 Scooter
Photo: Airwheel Technology
The frame for the trinket is composed of a magnesium aluminum alloy which is polished and covered in a scratchproof paint made with nano materials. The entire EV comes in with an overall weight of 74 lbs (34 kg) so you probably won’t be lifting it off the ground much, which is a good thing as you want this device to be as stable as possible. The entire construction is also strong enough to carry a maximum load of 264 lbs. (120 kg). Quite a bit, if you ask me.

From the side it looks like a huge metal unicycle with a two-hand bar. But not to worry, due to a speed cap and mechanisms that do not allow you to tilt beyond a certain point, you can probably ride this with no hands whatsoever. The only suspension comes from that large spring underneath the seat, and if you know what you’re doing, from your tire pressure.

The battery on the A3 is a lithium ion one with a 520Wh capacity. How far it will take you however is not mentioned. And for good reason. It’s difficult to gauge how far a battery will take you due to road conditions. But once you’re tapped, not to worry, in three hours you’re baked to a full charge. If you’re worried about battery lifespan, don’t be, this system is rated for up to five years.

A3 Scooter
Photo: Airwheel Technology
But what does this battery power? A motor of course. On the A3 we can find a motor that uses a maglev technology. Oh, what's maglev? Magnetic levitation, of course. Riiight. Seriously. Imagine two magnets facing each with the same poles. What happens when you push them together? They repel. That's how this system works, albeit a bit more complicated than that. But that frictionless activity is what makes it move. An added bonus is less wear because ultimately, a major component is frictionless.

Throw on an LED screen to show you all the details you need to know during your trip, and even an app to track these details and more, and you're good to go. Just don’t forget your helmet. However, with a speed cap at 7.46 mph (12 kph), you could be a bit adventurous and leave the helmet at home.

We tried to find out how to order one of these and for what price, but so far, we’ve no reply from Airwheel. However, a list of distributors exists, so enjoy paying the middleman his fee.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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