It is a golden, crowded age for electric machines with two wheels.
San Francisco is well aware of this. There are currently half a dozen electric-scooter companies vying for its sidewalks (unhelpfully named Skip, Bird, Scoot, Lime, Spin, etc.), while an e-bike fleet called Jump aims for its cycling lanes.
Let's put aside the fact that naming a company these days apparently means borrowing from your second grader's word search and set our sights on the roads, instead of the area just beside it. For those uninterested in tired Vespas or dusty mopeds, there is a reliable, fresh alternative — one that blends the lightweight, electric sensibilities of all those two-wheeled e-transports with the speed and convenience needed to be road-legal and road-capable.
It's called the Pocket Rocket by Sol Motors, and it just won a German Design Award for Excellent Product Design in Transportation.
SOL (4 images)
Sol Motors is a German motor-vehicle company based in the manufacturing-heavy hub of Stuttgart, and the Pocket Rocket is a bundle of impeccably imagined energy; its frame opts for that pared-back aesthetic that so often permeates northern European design, while somehow looking offbeat and credible enough for the back alleys of beach towns across the world. And this machine really is perfect for the more laid-back commuter: it weighs in at only 121 lbs, and its 6-HP and 8-HP models can manage 30 and 50 MPH, respectively.
The 220V battery won't send you very far — 30 miles for the 6-HP, 50 for the 8-HP — but a charge-a-day routine beats the vagaries of renting an e-bike or e-scooter, and the larger maintenance concerns of a Vespa, moped or motorcycle. Not to mention, an attendant smartphone app, LED lights, hydraulic breaking ... you're in good hands.
All images via Sol Motors