Currently in functional prototype form, the Utility Personal Transporter (UPT) is being developed by Canadian electric mobility company Envo Drive Systems. In a nutshell, it's a four-wheel-drive electric platform that can be adapted to serve multiple purposes.
Envo unveiled the vehicle to the media last Friday, at an event that also showcased the new Veemo velomobile. That said, the UPT more closely resembles one of the company's longer-established products, the e-ATV.
Both the UPT and the e-ATV are four-wheeler EVs which the user stands on to operate (although there is the option of sitting on a detachable/foldable seat). The UPT has a lower center of gravity for better stability, however, plus it has a completely flat deck along with raised handlebars that can be folded back, telescoped down or slid over to one side – all while remaining fully functional.
The idea is that by reconfiguring the UPT (which will in most cases involve adding extra modules) it can serve as things like a mini truck, golf cart, powered cargo dolly, ride-on lawn mower, snow plough, litter-carrying backcountry rescue vehicle, or even a fully enclosed micro car.
And by swapping on some knobby tires, it may even give the e-ATV a run for its money. Its double wishbone suspension with 120 mm of travel would certainly help it do so.
The UPT's four custom 3-kilowatt in-wheel motors (for a total of 12 kW) are powered by eight replaceable lithium batteries located inside the deck. Not only does this arrangement save space by doing away with a drivetrain, it also reduces maintenance and allows for individual traction control on each wheel. Additionally, the batteries can be used to power tools or other devices out in the field.