Suzuki has filed a patent application for a two-wheel drive scooter. The patent, filed in October but published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes a scooter with a hub-mounted electric motor in the front wheel that assists the engine-driven rear wheel in providing propulsion.
The patent illustrations depict a scooter resembling the Burgman 200 but with a noticeably different front end. The front wheel is mounted to a swingarm with a hub motor on the left side (Fig. 4 below) while a linked shock and brake are mounted on the right side (Fig. 3). The patent focuses on the distribution of weight between the left and right sides of the wheel but provides no details on the motor’s performance or how it is powered. The patent also provides few details about the engine powering the rear wheel, except to say it may be either mounted in the scooter body or integrated with the rear swingarm.
The swingarm (50) is mounted to a stiff fork (44 in the diagrams) at a pivot point (47). The shock absorber (55) is connected to the top of the right fork leg and the swingarm at a point just above the wheel axle. The brake disc and caliper are also on the right side, providing optimal weight distribution and easy access to the brake and shock as well as the left-side mounted motor. The motor drives a shaft connected to a planetary gear system for powering the front wheel.
Fig. 12 to 14 show a second version of the scooter with a slimmer hub motor design with the rotor located outside the stator instead of the inside. The second version also has the front brake caliper mounted to the suspension linkage instead of the swingarm.
It remains to be seen whether Suzuki will proceed to either a concept or even a production model using this two-wheel drive set-up. Suzuki still needs to consider the weight of the motor as well as how to power it, and whether the ideas in the patent make enough business sense to continue any further.
This wouldn’t be the first time Suzuki has used a Burgman as a test bed for new technologies; the company has been working on a fuel cell Burgman for quite some time, with prototypes starting testing on public roads last month.