Ford Backs ‘Thunderbirds’ e-Scooter Recovery Trial

Ford’s e-scooter mobility wing has commissioned a mobile rescue, repair and recharge vehicle inspired by the Thunderbird 2 craft from the famous 1960s animated puppet TV show.

The vehicle, dubbed 2Charge, is the brainchild of UK micro-mobility specialist Electric Assisted Vehicles (EAV) to service e-scooter trials being conducted in Essex by Ford’s Spin mobility rental division. The engineering challenge was the development of a support, repair, rescue and possible mobile charging vehicle for the trial of e-scooters which are now being deployed in Basildon as a partnership between the Ford offshoot and Basildon Council.

The first vehicles are currently in production and are due to be delivered to Essex in the coming weeks to support the current trial which is set to be gradually expanded by Spin and Basildon Council over the Summer. EAV has developed the 2Charge as a generic unit which can be supplied to support any scooter rental agency worldwide although the rear compartment can be modified for specific purposes at a customer’s request.

Adam Barmby, CEO and founder of EAV, said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of the TV animation series, ‘Thunderbirds’. In the series, Thunderbird 2 was able to detach its rear container pod and replace it with another which was dedicated to the mission it was going to be sent on. It could deploy a submarine, trucks of all kinds and even a tunneling vehicle called ‘The Mole’! We set about this challenge by considering what International Rescue would do and how we could develop a rear pod, based on the 2Cubed, which would provide Spin with the vehicle capability they needed. The approach may sound a bit far-fetched but consider what the Ford Transit has been used for over the years and we’re equally as versatile.”

Anthony Jackson, UK general manager at Spin, said: “We needed a vehicle that worked with the culture of what we’re trying to achieve with the e-scooter trial. We needed it to be able to carry spare batteries, tools, replacement parts and have space to recover or swap out our e-scooters. It had to be zero emissions, lightweight, easy to operate and as environmentally focused as possible. We’ve known EAV for some time and the 2Cubed was the logical choice, we just needed EAV to convert the rear pod for our specific purpose and that’s exactly what they’ve done with the 2Charge.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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