The Auto Moto canopied 3-wheeler scoots into the future

One of the world's fastest-growing vehicle markets is, in fact, scooters rather than automobiles. 3-wheeled canopy scooters have received attention in Asia, the Pacific, and Europe, but are generally neglected here in the U.S. Here is an American maker selling an 83mpg vehicle at dealerships nationally.
automoto
photos courtesy of The Auto Moto

by Aaron Turpen

Specs:

  • Type: Scooter
  • Class: 3-wheeled, canopied scooter
  • Manufacturer: Automoto.com Corp
  • Propulsion system: 4-stroke gasoline engine
  • Top Speed: 60mph
  • Vehicle range: 160 miles/tank
  • Fuel(s): gasoline
  • Price: $3,800 (base)
  • Availability: Now

The manufacturer says

The Auto Moto is a unique enclosed three wheel scooter that seats two, gets 83 mpg, and goes 60 MPH. It features a large lockable trunk and full stereo system.

Overview

The Auto Moto is a 3-wheeled scooter with a canopy, U.S. Department of Transportation approval for use on roads nationally, and is an interesting alternative to automobiles, expensive (and slow) neighborhood electrics (NEV), and simple electric bicycles.

automoto console

Worldwide, the fastest-growing sector of personal vehicles are scooters, with versions running on everything from gasoline to CNG and even pure electrics being offered everywhere. They are an attractive alternative because they require less maintenance and gasoline, are easier to park, and are much cheaper than traditional cars and even motorcycles.

Covered (or canopied) scooters are often considered the premium in this market, offering both stability and protection from the elements. The Auto Moto has features you'd more often associated with a car built into it's 2-passenger compartment as well.

The Auto Moto gets 83mpg, features anti-lock braking, seats passengers like a car rather than a motorcycle, has an automatic transmission, and includes a lockable trunk for item storage and cargo. In most states, only a standard driver's license (no motorcycle) is required to operate the scooter and it's single cylinder, 150cc 4-stroke engine is extremely efficient.

Several interesting innovations set the Auto Moto apart from its contemporaries, including the stable motorcycle-like tilting the platform offers. The rear wheels stay flat on the ground as the rest of the scooter tilts around sharper corners, making for a thrilling motorcycle-type ride without loss of stability or traction.

Future Developments

The Auto Moto will soon see an electric version - as early as next year. This will feature a brush motor at 1,000W (possibly as high as 1,500W), a 110/220V charger (8-10 hours charge time) and a 35km/h maximum speed with a range of 55-75km. The batteries will be lead-acid at 48V and the motor's torque value of 30Nm (15-20hp) and the body and other components of the scooter will remain the same.

What we like

Advanced Scooter Tech is rampant in the Auto Moto. Definitely a top-of-the-line offering, this 3-wheeled scooter is both innovative and sleek.

No Scooter Stigma is associated with this vehicle, which offers the higher-end options and sleek looks of a great vehicle without the "nerdiness" of the scooter's usual image.

Safety Features, which are a bit of a rarity on many scooters, are car-like on this one. The Auto Moto has anti-lock, disc brakes, full mirrors, lighting, etc.

What we don't

Not Fully Enclosed. Of course, for this market, that may not be an issue as most scooters (like motorcycles) are considered seasonal vehicles. In many areas, thanks to the canopy, the Auto Moto may be a year-round ride. The canopy is lightweight composites, so the scooter is not top-heavy.

No Electric Option on the Auto Moto is available… yet. But that is coming soon (see above).

Conclusions

For the market, the Auto Moto is definitely one of the top-of-the-line and most innovative of the scooters available today. Much more expensive alternatives are available, including the hybrid MP3, which has had a very rocky beginning and has yet to enter the market. These more expensive competitors, however, likely don't have the ability to penetrate the market that a small, very efficient ICE option would.

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