Motorised luggage is a new innovation of merging an electric scooter with a suitcase. Motorised suitcases, often called a scootcase, offer the user walking assistance when there is a need for an alternative way to get around in public areas like an airport, going on holiday, or a city commute. Traditional mobility scooters, like the ones you see on the streets that help people with walking disabilities, generally are large and heavy. Often mobility scooters are to large to take on a plane, train or quickly stow in the trunk of a car. This is not the case for the smaller lighter weight scooter suitcases. In this article we will discuss the construction, features, pros and cons of motorised luggage.
First off, motorised suitcases first launched around 2016 so they are fairly new on the market . The earlier scootcases came with soft canvas shells and a basic steel framing. Since then, new sturdy models have been developed by several luggage manufacturers such as Samsonite, Airwheel and Motobag that have major improvements in the appearance, design, features and structure of the scooter case.
Specifications of the Electric Motor
The Airwheel motorised suitcase gets its power from an electric engine powered by a lithium ion battery. The 250 watt motor sits externally underneath the base of the suitcase and has an easy quick access to the battery for removal or charging. So to get an idea of how powerful a 250 watt motor is, a standard electric 250 watt motor is the standard motor used on e-bikes. It can power an e-bike and rider weighing up to 140 kilos / 308lbs. The suitcases however are rated for maximum rider’s weight of 90kg /198lbs to 100kg / 220lbs.
The front wheel is the drive wheel propelling the scooter. By Having the power in front and the riders weight in the back, it reduces the risk of the front end popping up on acceleration. The Airwheel can go as fast as 10kmh / 6.2 mph and the Motobag reports 11kmh / 7mph. On both models the handle bars are adjustable to the rider’s height and have a built-in LCD screen to show the remaining battery charge, distance and speed.
Comparing Features of Electric Luggage
Not all scootcases have the same features. However, what’s nice about both Airwheel and Motobag are the external USB charging ports. No need to pack a power bank. You can charge any mobile device from your suitcase. But that's where it stops and the differences between the two models begin to change. The Airwheel does have a few more innovate features the Motobag does not in that, it comes with external lights in the rear and side panel of the case. In addition it has a built-in Bluetooth speaker so you can listen to music while you ride. It really has the feeling of a multipurpose scooter.
Safety was considered and added to the design of the Airwheel. A built in alarm system was installed in the LDC screen on the handlebar and on the smart app. If the engine should overheat or the power fluctuate when it should not, the bag will sound an alarm and the power will shut off for safety.
Both Motobag and Airwheel come with mobile apps. The Motobag's app features GPS tracking and a proximity alert. The Airwheel also comes with an app that has GPS but also allows you to keep track of the battery power, mileage and alarm system. This is helpful for commuting so you always know when it is time to charge.
The disadvantage of these types of bags is rainy weather and weight. Since they are electric scooters, some precaution needs to be taken to avoid riding them in heavy rain. So they can only be used outdoors when the weather is fair. Also the bags are slightly heavier because they do have electric engines. The Airwheel is roughly 14kg / 30.8 lbs and the Motobag is approximately 9.7kg / 20lbs. The batteries on both models are removable and approved for airlines, and fit for carry on luggage. The advantage of these cases besides being plain fun to ride, is really for people seeking walking aid through long distances. You may have to pack a little lighter if you want to take this on a plane however you do not need to put off a holiday for any mobility reasons. These cases are suitable for daily commute and riding.