Technology innovation is going through a golden phase with smart, futuristic gadgets and “internet of things” coming on the horizon. There has been a lot of innovation on the transportation front as well with many cool electrical vehicles starting to arrive. Well, one such innovative product is the WalkCar. WalkCar is a cool little portable transporter, which is the size of a laptop. Sounds pretty cool, right? It is similar in function to a skateboard although it looks more like a laptop.
Having your transporter in a backpack surely sounds convenient, right? Well, let’s divulge into more details, shall we?
Design and Build
Cocoa Motors’ WalkCar has been designed with portability in mind. Kuniako Saito, the head at Cocoa Motors calls the WalkCar the world’s first “car in a bag”.
The WalkCar has an aluminium build and it looks pretty good although we are not really sure if it will look that way once someone starts riding it on a daily basis. There are four wheels, which take your through your journeys. While the wheels don’t look very solid, the demos we get to see on the video suggests otherwise.
The WalkCar comes in an indoor as well as an outdoor version and it weighs in at around 2 to 3 kilograms depending on the version. The transporter is portable and it can be easily carried in a backpack.
The WalkCar has a pretty simple concept and we have always liked simple things, haven’t we? The transporter starts once you step on it and stops when you step off of it. The rider can steer the transporter by simply shifting their weight. Sounds pretty easy, right?!
While the WalkCar does look puny, it can easily carry weights up to 120 kilograms and it’s powerful enough to push a wheelchair. For such a little device to do all that is pretty good enough. Its maximum speed is 10 kilometers per hour and it can manage that speed for a distance of 12 kilometers after the rider charges it for 3 hours.
From what we can see in the video, the concept is pretty well implemented, as it looks simple and easy.
While the WalkCar does look pretty simple to ride, it wouldn’t be too easy I guess. Considering the fact that skateboards are not very easy to ride if you are not well acquainted, the same goes with the WalkCar. You will have to be pretty well balanced on it to ride it as smoothly as seen in the video.
The other drawback we have heard about is the loud sound the motor makes when the WalkCar is in action. We expect the developers to fix that when the portable transporter makes its debut later in the year.
Overall, the ease of use seems pretty good once a person gets used to it.
So, is the WalkCar game changer? Well, not really, since there have been similar devices in the form of Segway, Toyota’s Winglet and various electric skateboards. But the WalkCar does fix a lot of the problems those devices had. The Segways couldn’t gain the traction across the globe due to its big burly nature and its hefty price. The WalkCar is way more portable and it is a lot more affordable. The developers haven’t revealed much on the battery front except for the fact that it’s a lithium battery but we expect that to be pretty modest.
Launch and Availability
Cocoa Motors plans to begin its KickStarter campaign this October and you will be able to reserve your very own WalkCar for $800. The first production model is expected to be out next year in March.
Price to Value Ratio
The WalkCar can be reserved on KickStarter starting this October for $800, which is not very expensive when you consider the Segway but it’s not very affordable either. So, will it be a good buy? We don’t really know as of now because we can only judge it better once we see the first production WalkCar in action. As of now, the WalkCar is still pricey but we might see it get more affordable if it’s worth the money and starts getting traction.
Startup Origin and Founders
The WalkCar has been developed by Japanese engineer Kuniako Saito and his team at Cocoa Motors. According to Saito, he got the idea for the WalkCar, thanks to his studies in electric car systems.
In a talk to Reuters, he said,
“I thought, “what if we could just carry our transportation in our bags, wouldn’t that mean we’d always have our transportation with us to ride on?” and my friend asked me to make one, since I was doing my masters in engineering specifically on electric car motor control systems.”
“Maybe I just see it that way, but it seems to me that the U.S. is always the one which invents new products and Japan is the one which takes those products and improves on them to make a better version of it. But here in this case, the WalkCar is a totally new product I have started from scratch. So I also I want to show the world that Japan can also be innovative.”
So, how do you like the WalkCar? Do let us know in the comments section below.. You can also check out the official website of Cocoa Motors for more details.