by Anmol AhujaMay 31, 2021
Available in Vader Black, Sand, Electric Yellow, Mid-green, and Nightshade, the new Model Eleven by Oakland-based electric scooter company Unagi, is the product of a groundbreaking collaboration with fuseproject - the industrial design and brand development studio headed by Swiss designer, Yves Béhar. Described by the company in an official release as “the next evolution in lightweight, foldable, powerful, and beautiful electric scooters,” the Model Eleven marries material innovation, a sleek profile, and tailor-made technological implements into a design that sets it apart from its competitors within the sphere of electric micro-mobility. According to Unagi, the product is the lightest full-suspension electric scooter on the market and the first ‘smart scooter’ in the world.
“I have long been inspired to work on a product that addresses the universal need for cleaner, more accessible urban transportation. With Unagi, we are intent on creating a personal micro-mobility scooter that is lightweight and can easily be carried around and brought indoors, while being safe and ergonomic to ride, and as fun to use as it is beautiful,” shares Béhar, Founder and CEO of San Francisco-based fuseproject in a press statement. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor - the hugely successful Model One - Unagi’s newest release is a “technological tour de force in innumerable ways,” according to an official statement by the company’s CEO and Founder, David Hyman. With a product design that places user comfort and functional elegance at its very core, the Model Eleven has been touted as a breakthrough for Unagi. Béhar elaborates upon the upgrades stating, “We integrated suspensions for riding comfort, a speaker, and were able to achieve a combination of lightness and high-performance in one good looking ride.”
Through discussions with the client team followed by months of prototyping, fuseproject arrived at an innovative long carbon fibre composite as the primary material for the scooter’s body, by means of which, they were able to provide a strong and streamlined design profile that was also lightweight - clocking in at only 32 pounds. As per the designers, the complex geometries of the scooter’s body could not have been easily realised without the use of the long carbon fibre composite. Moreover, Béhar and his team also developed a seamless form with a smooth transition between deck and stem, free from any visible screws, bolted-on components, or exposed cables. Certain projecting elements such as the kickstand and buttons were also tucked in to maximise ease of portability.
As the successor to the Model One, the Model Eleven also employs a similar dual motor design with speedy acceleration and hill climbing capabilities. An ergonomically-designed set of handlebars flank a central control interface at the top of the stem that doubles as a bluetooth-enabled speaker for turn-by-turn navigation and music. The interface also serves as a notification system with an integrated LED ring that lights up in a variety of colours for battery alerts, collision detection, lane departure warnings, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), and signalling, among a host of other features. To eliminate the ever-present issue of range anxiety for electric vehicles, fuseproject integrated a swappable battery system that enables users to switch out exhausted battery units with the aid of a concealed storage area within the deck. Each battery has a range of 14 miles and can be charged outside the scooter’s body. This flexibility also extends to the tires, which can be readily swapped out in case of wear and tear or other technical challenges.
In keeping with its image as a ‘smart scooter’, the Model Eleven boasts turn-by-turn navigation features through its integrated audio system, developed in partnership with Google and optimised for mobile apps on both iOS and Android. The scooter’s collision detection A.I. and ADAS sense objects in the rider’s vicinity to notify them of any impending threats. Capable of distinguishing between stop lights, road signs, people, cars, or inanimate objects, the ADAS offers launch features such as front collision detection warnings, headway/tailgate warnings, lane departure warnings, and vulnerable road user detection. In case the scooter’s motion sensors fail to detect a theft, remote kill features will enable users to deactivate the vehicle through the Unagi mobile app.
With the Unagi Model Eleven currently available for pre-order on Indiegogo, Béhar concludes in an official release, “Public transportation in the urban landscape is being transformed. As designers, we have an opportunity to create a solution that is specifically designed for a city landscape. Ultimately we want this electric scooter to be our go-to for urban mobility.”