Ultra-compact, battery-swappable e-scooter folds smaller than a briefcase

In the realm of personal mobility, particularly urban commuting, Japanese company Shimizu is setting a new standard with its groundbreaking e-scooter, the Arma. Touted as potentially the world’s smallest and lightest folding electric scooter, the Arma is not just a vehicle but a marvel of compact engineering. Weighing in at a mere 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms), this e-scooter folds to the dimensions of a piece of A4 printer paper, making it an ideal companion for the daily commuter who navigates crowded cityscapes.

The concept of folding electric scooters isn’t novel, but Shimizu’s aspiration to create an e-scooter that not only fits in a backpack or messenger bag but also functions as its own briefcase, complete with a built-in handle, is an impressive feat. The Arma’s design allows it to pack down quickly to a highly manageable size, emphasizing convenience and portability.

In the race for the title of the “world’s smallest and lightest” e-scooter, the Arma faces competition from models like the Blizwheel scooter. However, with both these models in the pre-production crowdfunding stage during the time of coverage, exact specifications can change. This ongoing development highlights the dynamic nature of personal mobility technology, where innovations are continuously emerging.

No parking spot? No problem. Images courtesy Shimizu

What sets the Arma apart is not just its size but its practical features. One of the most notable is its battery-swappable platform. This feature allows users to quickly replace a drained battery with a fresh one, a significant advantage for those on the go. Each 3.5-Ah, 36-V lithium battery is estimated to power the scooter’s 250-W motor for a range of 7 to 9 miles (11 to 14.5 kilometers). The batteries can be easily removed and charged in about two hours via USB-C, adding to the Arma’s user-friendly design.

The Arma’s speed is capped at an estimated 14.9 mph (24 km/h), a sensible limit considering its compact build and the urban environments it’s designed for. The scooter employs multiple joints for folding, differentiating it from the classic single-jointed scooter stem/foot deck mechanism. This design enables the Arma to fold down into a very compact form, with the handlebars and full-length steering tube collapsing neatly over the midsection.

Go anywhere, effortlessly.

Dimensionally, the packaged Arma measures 210 x 297 mm (8.3 x 11.7 inches) in height and width, with a depth of 3.8 inches (96 mm). While slightly thicker than a sheet of paper, these dimensions ensure that the folded scooter can easily slide into various types of bags without becoming cumbersome. Even with additional batteries for extended range, the Arma’s weight remains manageable.

Further enhancing its user-friendliness, the Arma is equipped with both an accelerator and brake button on the handlebars, and a central display that shows speed and battery life. It can support riders up to 220 lbs (100 kg), accommodating a wide range of users.

Secure and sleek, the Arma e-scooter offers theft-proof convenience with its ultra-portable, fold-to-carry design.

Shimizu unveiled the first Arma prototype at the Japan Mobility Show in October and has since launched a Kickstarter campaign to refine the second prototype. The company aims to test this prototype in early 2024 before moving into production. For early adopters, the Arma folding electric scooter is available for pledge levels starting at approximately ¥135,000 (around US$920), which is estimated to be 40% off the expected retail price. The package includes a single battery, with spare batteries available for an additional cost of roughly $199 each.

Arma prototype folding action.

Source: Shimizu

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