It’s been called the ‘Lamborghini you can stand on’. The Dragonfly is the world’s first electric ‘hyperscooter’. And the man behind it is Jez Williman, who’s the CEO of the British mobility start-up D-Fly.
Williman was previously best known for popularising the Tensator, a retractable safety barrier.
He tells Auto Futures: “You think about crowd control and it’s really about the science of people waiting. It actually segue-ways into what I’m now doing, which is the science of traffic; how it affects the carbon footprint.
“We wanted to move the needle and really give a viable option for people to say, you know what, I want to own my carbon footprint, this is the vehicle for me.”
The end result was the Dragonfly Hyperscooter.
“I wanted to have the same sort of sense that I had from kite-surfing; from flying a plane; from wind-surfing.”
The first three and four wheel, limited edition products will launch in Summer, 2020.
“The Dragonfly Hyperscooter is the urban-mobility equivalent to the supercar, and we’re very proud of that. The future’s arrived in style,” says Williman.
The Dragonfly features a pioneering steering system called ‘Full Tilt’. It’s something that Williman is particularly proud of.
He tells us: “What we managed to create was a three dimensional steering system which sounds unbelievable. And, quite honestly, it is unbelievable.”
It has a steering column that can be tilted left and right or twisted forwards or backwards. But it also has a deck that can be manipulated.
“The deck you can tilt with your feet as you would rather like a snowboard, a wakeboard, a skateboard…all of those things you can do at the same time.” At a cost of $4,999 for the three-wheel model ($5,999 for a four-wheel configuration), the Dragonfly doesn’t come cheap. But Williman says that it’s not just aimed at the premium B2C market. He says it could be used for emergency services or delivery solutions
The Dragonfly’s swappable, rechargeable power units provide a range of up to 28.5 miles or 45kms. It has dual motors with 1800 watts per wheel and top speeds of 38 mph.
It’s also foldable, a bit like a Brompton bike.
“It goes anywhere with you. So you don’t have to worry about parking it up, locking it up, taking it on the Tube, not taking it into a cafe, not having it sit in your living room.”
As it’s an admittedly stunning looking item, it likely to face the risk of being stolen. Williman explained what happens if someone tries to steal a Dragonfy and its alarm has gone off.
“We’ve got that acoustic ability on-board that we can cover off security. It’s completely immobilised. It’s also GPRS-tracked and geo-fenced so if anyone does want to put it in the back of a van, you’re going to know very quickly where it is.
“The whole concept was, you want to take it with you. So you wouldn’t have to leave it outside the café; you didn’t have to leave it outside the office. It has such a small footprint that it naturally comes with you.”
He adds: “My view was – create a piece of technology-artwork that stands in the corner of the room; that just attracts attention to it for that reason.”
Unlike many countries, in the UK electric scooters are not road-legal. But Williman is confident that the British government will soon change the legislation.
“For me it seems a shame. Here we are, a British company, a British inventor, a British-designed product. We can sell it here in the UK. But it’s for private land use only at the moment.”
Williman concluded our interview by talking passionately about where mobility is moving as we enter the new decade.
“I hope that our cities, that we see now, become much more about the people and for the people. And not for the car. We’re human beings; we’re the boss. And we should be the ones deciding how to live.”