Hero MotoCorp-owned Surge unveils EV which converts from 3-wheeler into scooter

The Hero MotoCorp-owned startup claims that the innovative S32 can be converted from a three-wheeler into a two-wheeler in just 3 minutes.

By Zaran Mody, Autocar India calendar 30 Jan 2024 Views icon5598 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Hero MotoCorp-owned Surge unveils EV which converts from 3-wheeler into scooter

While most of the news emanating from the recently held Hero World 2024 belonged to the much-awaited Mavrick 440 and the sporty new Xtreme 125R motorcycles, there were also a number of smaller attractions. The most interesting of the lot was the Surge S32.

Surge is a startup which is wholly owned by Hero MotoCorp (it is part of HeroHatch, the company's incubation centre), and it has spent the last few years working on a modular EV platform that it calls the S32. What makes it unique is that it is designed to quickly and conveniently convert between a two-wheeler and a three-wheeler. Essentially, it comprises a rickshaw without a front wheel, into which an e-scooter slots and also acts as the front wheel. In this form, the rear wheel of the e-scooter is off the ground and rests on the rickshaw platform.

The e-scooter can then also be decoupled and used by itself. Surge claims that the conversion process takes just 3 minutes. The rickshaw and the e-scooter both feature independent powertrains and battery packs, but the controls are common. When the scooter couples to the rickshaw section, there is also an electronic connector that needs to be plugged in, after which the scooter’s handlebar controls also control the rickshaw powertrain and brakes.

Innovative concept helps create new vehicle category

This clearly is a very innovative concept, to the point where Surge and Hero MotoCorp have had to work with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to create a new registration category for the S32. Called ‘L2 -5’, this is defined as “2-Wheeler-3-Wheeler Combi Module of a three-wheeled motor vehicle constructed in such a way that a two-wheeled vehicle of category L2 is combined with a non-self-propelled rear module unit. It can be separated or combined, as and when required”.

Surge plans to offer the S32 in a variety of different guises which all differ in the design of the rickshaw section. These will vary from a passenger carrying design, to a number of different covered and non-covered goods carrying designs. Depending on the application, the power output and battery capacity will also vary, peaking at 6kW for the scooter and 10kW for the rickshaw. Top speeds for the two configurations are 60kph and 45kph respectively.

The platform uses removable batteries from Hero’s Vida e-scooter, with the S32 scooter accommodating two packs and the rickshaw housing as many as six (and a minimum of four) packs. As a result, the scooter’s battery capacity is 3.87kWh, while the rickshaw gets up to 11.62kWh.

This vehicle was first shown by Hero as a concept called the Quark 1 back in 2020, and now, four years down the line, Surge says that it is nearing production-ready status. The company expects to officially launch the S32 sometime this year.

 

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