BMW's programme “Project i,” a new urban-electric mobility initiative for 2013 that already has a car in the works, has added a two-wheeler, an engineer told daily Financial Times Deutschland.
Daimler is even further along, the paper wrote, citing internal sources that said the Stuttgart-based company plans to present its e-scooter under its Smart label in this October.
Last year, BMW presented a prototype for an electric scooter dubbed the “C1,” but never produced it. “Project i” signals a new start, the paper said. Building scooters is new territory for Daimler, though.
The latest developments are an attempt to tap into the growing e-mobility branch, which has most big carmakers working on new electric cars and scooters, the paper said. It will also be a chance for auto companies to reach young customers. While German teenagers can't get their driver's licence until they are 18, scooter licences are allowed at just 16.
“The world market for scooters is huge,” transportation researcher at the Social Science Research Centre in Berlin, Andreas Knie, told the paper.
Many city dwellers see major advantages to owing a scooter instead of a car – they are lighter, more affordable, and take up less space.