eFOLDi: Award Winning Lightweight Folding Scooter
I was delighted to find this wonderful folding scooter which will be available in late 2016. It is the invention of a father and daughter partnership, Jianmin Wang and Sumi Wang. Jianmin broke his leg three or four years ago. He was unable to find a portable scooter that he could put in his car and would suit where he lived. So he set to work designing one and eFOLDi is the result. “eFOLDi”, because it’s easy to fold.
The scooter folds in only a few seconds into the size and shape of a wheelie suitcase and it takes only a few seconds to transform it back into a scooter. It can also morph into a handy chair.
I’ve been lucky enough to test drive the eFOLDi prototype during the last fortnight. I took the opportunity to put it through its paces when I stayed in The Lake District. It managed some steep inclines very well so I travelled with the rest of my party along lanes and hills until they left me to go off road. On most hills it was still faster than my walking companions.
I have folded eFOLDi into its wheelie suitcase shape and taken it on the underground including the escalator at Southgate station. I have scooted to bus stops and folded eFOLDi then wheeled it up the ramp onto the bus. I’ve then wheeled it off the bus, assembled the scooter and scooted away. Picking up a connecting bus was easy too, I simply scooted round the corner to the next bus stop.
It has been lovely riding by the river in Little Park Gardens and across Chase Green in Enfield and I’ve enjoyed scooting through Southgate to Grovelands Park, around the lake and home again.
I have discovered that when travelling by air, eFOLDi can be driven onto the aeroplane, rather than having to be checked in and stored in the main hold. Many airlines accept the Far Reach battery, which lasts for an average of 15 miles. There’s also an Air Safe battery which averages about 5 miles and is accepted on all airlines.
eFOLDi weighs 19kg and my husband has been lifting it in and out of my car boot. I don’t lift it into the boot but I plan to try a ramp when my own eFOLDi arrives. Depending on the height of the boot, the folded scooter can be stored either flat or upright. I have found it can stand upright provided the “wheelie trolley handle” is folded into the “chair leg” position because this reduces its overall height.
There is an option of having a reverse motor on the scooter which will add only 1kg to the overall weight. I have chosen a forward only motor because I am able to “scoot” backwards comfortably with my feet. A surprising feature of the scooter is that its seat is the height of a dining chair.
Usually a mobility scooter will automatically brake and stop as soon as you release the throttle. eFOLDi works more like a car, a motorbike, or a bicycle, where you release the throttle (or stop peddling) and you can still coast along. This saves battery power because on flat ground the scooter will still be propelled between bursts of power and going downhill you can take advantage of needing less power too. So rather like on a bicycle you “cover” the brake with your hand while you are riding and simply brake to slow down or stop.
eFOLDi was the winner of The Gadget Show’s “British invention of the year 2016” award and runner up in Virgin Media’s Voom 2016 competition It was also winner of Reigate and Banstead Entrepreneur Academy.
The website www.efoldi.co.uk has more details.
Zena Guyatt, EDA Member, Supporter and Peer Advocate