Electric scooter with iPhone connection unveiled

by Hiroko Nakata

Staff Writer

Terra Motors Corp. unveiled Wednesday an electric scooter that can be linked to an iPhone to display driving information, with an eye to emerging markets.

Mass production, the first of its kind for bikes with a smartphone connection, will begin in December in Vietnam for global sales starting the same month, the Tokyo-based start-up said.

“What people in the middle class in emerging nations want to buy is motorbikes and smartphones,” Toru Tokushige, president and founder of Terra Motors, told reporters.

The demand for electric scooters is especially strong in other parts of Asia due to serious air pollution and rising gasoline prices.

The screen of an iPhone mounted in the dash of the white scooter with a blue stripe can display such information as power consumption, charge remaining, average speed and mileage. Other free downloadable applications — at the beta stage — assist in navigation or recommend roadside stops.

Terra Motors aims to sell 2,000 units of the A4000i, which is priced at about ¥450,000. A model without the iPhone connection function, the A4000, will be sold for less from next year.

The scooter has an average range of about 65 km and its removable lithium-ion battery can last up to 50,000 km. The battery can be fully charged in about 4.5 hours.

Terra Motors aims to sell 100,000 electric scooters worldwide, including an older model, by the end of 2015, Tokushige said.

Founded by Tokushige in 2010, Terra Motors develops, manufactures and markets electric scooters.