August 2, 2022
If you think all e-scooters are the same, the Beam Saturn 5 makes you think again with our newest - and smartest - vehicle launching first in Australia (but soon around the world) and taking sustainability, performance and safety to the next level.
Beam's Chief Technology Officer Deb Gangopadhyay takes us through the Saturn 5's key upgrades and features that will please both riders and those with oversight for their safe operation.
“The three most important things taken into account in the design features for this new vehicle are rider safety, pedestrian safety, and city amenity.
“This is a very smart vehicle in terms of design elements and the fact it has a very advanced ‘brain’ or smart computer. But it also provides a great riding experience,” says Deb.
All shared e-scooters have what we call a ‘scooter brain’, the IoT device affixed to the front of the scooter that gives us, and councils, control. Our Saturn 5, simply put, has a smarter brain.
The Saturn 5’s IoT is a smart computer that gives you centimetre-perfect position accuracy. It feeds not just off satellites but from all of the information gathered from the vehicle’s own systems.
“It ensures higher-precision geofencing with maps stored within the ‘brain’ for better positioning, increased response time and GPS accuracy,” explains Deb.
“This ensures riders remain inside local council and government-approved micro-mobility vehicle use zones.
“The ‘brain’ is constantly checking the vehicle and will automatically prevent use if something isn’t working properly, taking the vehicle out of action until our operational team can review it.”
Above all, we want riders to be paying attention to the road or pathway on which they are travelling, but we understood navigation was a priority. Our previous generation of e-scooters featured phone holder mounts for rider ease, and to ensure all riders had their hands off their phones.
The Saturn 5 repositions this mount to the centre of the vehicle, a slight change that allows the rider easier access to the safety features close to the handlebars. But we’ve supercharged the phone holder - it now charges phones, too.
“One gripe our riders had was that their phones would occasionally run out of battery when taking longer trips, especially as they generally weren’t fully charged when they started the trip,” says Deb.
“We took that feedback on board and figured out a way for riders to charge their phones whilst riding with us, similarly to how they would in a car - it’s one way we keep innovating to ensure we’re reducing any excuses for modal shift!”
The Saturn 5 also features new-generation clear audio messaging, with safe riding reminders and riding zone changes now delivered audibly as well, so riders can listen to instructions and don’t have to take their eyes off their journey.
“It advises what zone you are riding in and leaving, and where you are allowed to ride. We deliver these instructions in our app as well, especially for those who are hearing impaired, but we’ve also found the audible alerts increase rider compliance with the riding rules, as others around them are listening in!”
When we introduced front suspension to our e-scooters back in 2020, it was a game changer. We heard from thousands of riders about the difference it made in a smoother, safer ride. To further insulate the rider from unevenness of roads and pavements, the Saturn 5 features a larger front wheel - 20% larger in fact.
"We made the wheel larger in the front to give the rider an increased sense of confidence whilst on the scooter. Compounded with the Saturn 5's front suspension, it protects the rider from feeling the bumps in bitumen, or uneven pavements," says Deb.
“Rider feedback has also been very positive around the seamless way our e-scooters accelerate and decelerate, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable riding experience, especially up hills.”
The braking system is also a big plus for riders with a triple brake system – two manual on the handlebars and one electronic. The vehicle even prevents riders from exceeding the speed limit or losing control while going down hill.
The vehicle has been designed with sustainability at its core. Besides swappable batteries, a standard in all our vehicles, the Saturn 5 has an incredible 120 kilometres of battery life, by far the longest capacity of any vehicle in the shared micromobility space.
It means less need for our marshals to visit vehicles to replace batteries, reducing our carbon footprint even further. It also gives peace of mind to riders that they have great capacity to ride for as long as they need.
The vehicle has also been constructed to last 10 years from aircraft-grade aluminium, with key components like the battery and motor expected to last over 20,000 kilometers.
“A massive amount of rigorous testing has gone into the design and construction to meet this sustainability measure so that we really are walking the talk,” Deb says.
A small but mighty update on the Saturn 5 is the noticeably smaller handlebars, designed for better grip and increased reach - especially for women and those with smaller hands.
“We have a lot of safety features on and close to the handlebar area, including the brake levers, left and right indicators and bell,” explains Deb.
“As a company we’re built around transport equity and accessibility, and rider testing showed that women in particular found all the safety features easier to reach.
“As we continue to add more features in future vehicle iterations, the smaller handlebar design will ensure increased comfort and security whilst on a Beam e-scooter.”
The Beam Saturn 5 is now available to ride in Western Sydney Parklands, New South Wales.
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