Having witnessed countless shape-shifting concepts and working prototypes, I always yearn for a set of wheels that is practical in real-life usage and easy enough to transform from one form to the other. To my amazement, an Indian automotive startup has that desire half-fulfilled. Meet the S32 EV that’s an electric scooter transforming into an e-rikshaw and vice versa.
While you won’t be seeing me driving an e-rikshaw in this lifetime atleast, the vehicle seems like a very good option for commercial use. Given the sheer intensity of commute, home delivery and logistics requirements of the nation, this is going to be a successful product. Designed specifically for the Indian subcontinent, the e-scooter can solve a lot of purposes – be it your commute to the supermarket to grab groceries or hauling medium-sized cargo across the city.
Designer: Surge EV
The interchangeable body frame is an industry-first innovation and it’s as easy as popping open the front section (fascia) of the rikshaw and sliding out the two-wheeler. This transition takes less than three minutes courtesy of the specially engineered spring-loaded mechanism, turning the three-wheeled e-rickshaw into an electric scooter so fast you’ll be amazed to see it in real time. All this is done at the touch of a button without the need for any tools. The result is a flexible vehicle that can take either of the two shapes depending on the needs.
The transforming vehicle has very little scope for personal usage, it is a great option for commercial use. For instance, a delivery vendor could configure the S32 on the fly depending on the needs of the client without needing to keep two separate vehicles for each usage. Each module has its separate batteries (independently charged) and motors to make them as independent as they can be. On the inside the vehicle is fitted with LED lighting, digital speedometer and switchgear.
When both of them are combined the three-wheeled rickshaw mode is activated – kicking into action the larger 11 kWH battery, generating 6bhp. It’s powerful enough to haul a weight of 500 kg and has a top speed of 50 km/h. When separated, the electric scooter’s 3.5 KWH battery is activated for commuting, having a top speed of 60 km/h thanks to the 4 bhp output.
Hero Motor Corp says the rikshaw module can be bought in either the hauling option with a cargo bed or the passenger configuration with seats at the back. The company has not revealed the pricing or actual release date but they’ve hinted at a probable production timeline of 2025.