Funding secured, initial deliveries were scheduled to start in late 2019 but production issues forced a delay in the schedule. As of the time of writing, delivery of the first units is expected to take place this year, in 2020, but the exact date is unknown given the current international health crisis, which has forced many companies to shut down temporarily.
Like other last-mile solutions, UrmO comes with the stated – and very bold – goal of changing urban mobility and of encouraging commuters to seek other means of transportation than the personal vehicle. Unlike the majority of other last-solutions of this type, it stands good chances at it, because it manages to bring an extra feature to the table: increased practicality.
The 280 Wh battery charges in full in two hours, but a nearly-100 percent charge can be obtained in under one hour (45 minutes, to be more exact). It delivers an estimated range of 20 km (12.4 miles) at a maximum speed of 15 kph (9.4 mph). Steering is done intuitively, by shifting the weight, while regenerative braking technology adds more juice to the battery even when in motion.
The battery is not swappable, so riders will have to send their UrmO in for a change and can’t extend range by carrying an extra one. The tires, on the other hand, can be changed at home. Other customizations are possible, too: riders can opt for changing lights or a telescopic handlebar, should they find themselves in a position of “not knowing what to do with [their] hands.”
Speaking of briefcases, this is the biggest selling point of the UrmO: it folds down in under 2 seconds. Weighing just 6.5 kg (14.3 lbs), it can be folded and lifted in one hand and carried to the place of work or on public transport. Deploying it again is just as easy: UrmO doesn’t include a single button (which is in purpose, to make it as light as possible), so you just place it on the ground, snap it open and it’s good to go.
UrmO allows for a maximum weight of 100 kg (220 lbs) and a minimum weight of 40 kg (90 lbs). It pairs with the rider’s smartphone via app, offering important stats like remaining range and location. To prevent theft, the makers recommend using a regular bike lock, in conjunction with the app, which can lock it and prevent it from being used by someone else.
“The UrmO is a lightweight and innovative self-balancing electric vehicle, which fits perfectly to your everyday life,” the team behind UrmO says. “With the patent-pending folding mechanism, it can be transformed from fully functional vehicle to briefcase size within 2 seconds. That means, you can take it everywhere and UrmO can be combined with existing means of transport such as cars and public transport. Mobility becomes flexible and individual.”
The UrmO without handlebar costs €1,800 ($1,975) to pre-order, while the UrmO with telescopic handlebar is €1,900 ($2,085). Add extras like the changing colored lights and / or a waterproof backpack, and you’re already paying more than you would on a mid-range e-bike, which, for many potential customers, could be a major setback.