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Title:
A FOLDABLE MULTIFUNCTION SCOOTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/250113
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Described is a foldable multifunction scooter (1), designed to also be used as a shopping trolley, comprising a frame (5) including a front fork steering unit (10), having a front wheel (10a) and a handlebar (16); a central unit (12); and a rear unit (14) having a rear wheel (14a) and configured to form a supporting portion of a user to be transported standing up; wherein the front fork unit (10) is hinged to the central unit (12) about a steering axis (X) and wherein the rear unit (14) is hinged to the central unit (12) about a folding axis (Y) preferably horizontal, and wherein the scooter (1) also comprises at least one carrier (18) fixed to the frame (5) and defining a containment space dedicated to the containment of packs, bags or other objects to be transported. The frame is configured to be switchable, by rotating the rear unit about the folding axis (Y), between at least two configurations of use: an extended configuration, wherein the scooter is positioned resting on said front and rear wheels (10a, 14a) and adopts a configuration of a vehicle for transporting persons and objects; and a folded configuration wherein the rear unit (14) is rotated about the folding axis (Y) and turned towards the central unit (12) for defining a configuration of use as a shopping trolley, designed for transporting objects by means of the carrier and wherein the scoter is positioned resting on the front wheel (10a) but not on the rear wheel (14a).

Inventors:
AVANTAGGIATO SALVATORE (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/055374
Publication Date:
December 17, 2020
Filing Date:
June 08, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
AVANTAGGIATO SALVATORE (IT)
International Classes:
B62J7/06; B62J9/00; B62J9/21; B62K3/00; B62K13/00; B62K15/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2006031128A12006-03-23
Foreign References:
US9302728B12016-04-05
CN202169982U2012-03-21
CN203727570U2014-07-23
US20130062377A12013-03-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GAGLIARDELLI, Fabrizio (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A foldable multifunction scooter (1 ), designed to be also used as a shopping trolley, comprising a frame (5) including:

- a front steering fork unit (10), having a front wheel (10a) and a handlebar (16);

- a central unit (12); and

- a rear unit (14) having a rear wheel (14a) and configured to define a supporting portion for a user to be conveyed standing up;

wherein the front fork unit (10) is hinged to the central unit (12) about a steering axis (X) and wherein the rear unit (14) is hinged to said central unit (12) about a folding axis (Y) preferably horizontal,

and wherein the scooter (1 ) also comprises at least one carrier (18) fixed to the frame (5) and defining a containment space dedicated to the containment of packages, bags or other objects to be transported;

characterised in that the frame is configured to be switchable, by rotating said rear unit about the folding axis (Y), between at least two configurations of use:

- an extended configuration, wherein the scooter is positioned resting on said front and rear wheels (10a, 14a) and adopts a configuration of a vehicle for transporting persons and objects; and

- a folded configuration wherein the rear unit (14) is rotated about the folding axis (Y) and closed towards the central unit (12) to define a configuration of use as a shopping trolley, prepared for the transport of objects by means of said carrier and wherein the scooter is placed resting on said front wheel (10a) but not on said rear wheel (14a).

2. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to claim 1 , wherein said carrier (18) is fixed to a front portion of said central unit (12), with a position and/or orientation such that it is equally accessible in both the extended and folded configurations.

3. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said carrier (18) is mounted at a height greater than the front wheel (10a) and is made by means of a containment body having an opening facing upwards and is preferably made of rigid material.

4. The foldable multifunction scooter(1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said front fork unit (10) comprises a fork (10d) supporting the front wheel (10a) and wherein said carrier (18) is positioned and/or shaped in such a way that it at least partly surrounds a trajectory of rotation of said fork (10d) without interfering with said fork.

5. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said frame (5), preferably said central unit (12), has an intermediate support (20) which is rotatable independently of the rear unit (14) and designed to define at least one additional rolling axis for the scooter in said folded configuration suitable for use as a shopping trolley.

6. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to claim 5, wherein said intermediate support (20) is hinged to the frame (5), preferably to the central unit (12), in a rotatable fashion about said folding axis (Y) between an operating position, in particular lowered, and a disengaged position, in particular raised.

7. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, also comprising a first locking device (22) configured for reversibly fixing said rear unit (14) to said central unit (12) in the extended configuration, preventing reciprocal rotations between said central unit (12) and said rear unit (14), and a second locking device (24) configured for reversibly fixing said rear unit (14) to said central unit (12) in the folded configuration.

8. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to claim 7, wherein said rear unit (14) has two specularly identical platforms (14e) positioned side by side and between which said first locking device (22) is positioned.

9. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to claim 8, wherein said locking device (22) and said central unit (12) have respective shapes which are shaped to match each other to form a mutual coupling according to a unique and predetermined positioning in said folded configuration.

10. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to any one of claims 7 to 9, wherein said second locking device (24) comprises a hook (14d) positioned in a retracted position of said rear unit (14), in particular behind said rear wheel (14a), and an elastic (12e) prepared in a corresponding portion of said central unit (12).

11. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to any one of claims 8 to 1 1 , comprising a single front wheel (10a) and a single rear wheel (14a) and wherein said front wheel (10a) has an outside diameter greater than the outside diameter of said rear wheel (14a).

12. The foldable multifunction scooter (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims, also comprising an electric motor (14c) connected to the rear wheel (14a) and a battery (12d) for powering the motor (14c), said battery (12d) being located in a compartment of the central unit (12).

Description:
DESCRIPTION

A FOLDABLE MULTIFUNCTION SCOOTER

This invention relates to a foldable multifunction scooter for the transport of persons and objects which is used in particular as a shopping trolley.

There are prior art scooters which can be folded to facilitate transport and storage. Generally speaking, the most commonly used solutions relate to the possibility of configuring the scooter according to a “compact” configuration suitable for transport by hand, or merely lifting, which bears completely on the operator.

In particular, patent application EP 2673185 describes a foldable scooter which, in the folded configuration, adopts a compact size characterised in that it can be pulled like a trolley, with two wheels resting on the ground. The folded configuration of the prior art scooter, as it is not designed for transporting objects and engaging at least one hand of the user, makes it difficult for the user to transport further objects, for example shopping bags. In other words, the folded configuration of the prior art of patent document EP2673185 does not have a useful active function.

There are also prior art foldable scooters designed for transporting objects. They generally comprise the possibility of storing objects on a dedicated portion of the platform or in a zone adjacent to it.

In particular, patent application WO2012/022279 describes a foldable scooter wherein the front rotatable portion has a low platform, positioned close to the ground, equipped laterally with a pair of wheels and connected at the top to a handlebar. The platform has a configuration such as to house bags or containers also in a stacked configuration.

However, this solution has drawbacks.

Firstly, the loading and unloading actions might be difficult for the user who is forced to bend down. Secondly, the platform is accessible from the rear side and therefore decidedly inconvenient in the folded scooter configuration. For this reason, the scooter must be extended again before any loading and unloading action, which clearly introduces inconveniences in use.

Moreover, in this solution the platform steers and, therefore, the load positioned on it rotates together with the upper end of the scooter. This causes the risks both of instability of the load and obstructions to the manoeuvrability since the steering inertias increase, reducing the ease of handling of the scooter.

Another disadvantage of prior art scooters is represented by the locking/unlocking system used to reversibly fix the reciprocal positions of the foldable platform and of the handlebar. Generally speaking, in fact, the locking system is located close to or directly on the joint, typically a pin hinge, which connects the platform to the handlebar. The locking/unlocking system is thus placed considerably low, adjacent to the ground. This solution implies, necessarily, that the user must bend down both in the step of passing from an extended configuration to a folded configuration and, vice versa, from a folded configuration to an extended configuration.

In conclusion, both the above solutions have further drawbacks. The scooter described in patent document EP2673185 has two rear wheels which make it difficult to drive along a bend as it does not allow a lateral inclination of the scooter. On the other hand, the solution of patent document WO2012022279 comprises two front wheels. However, also in this case, without adopting a more expensive and sophisticated suspension system for these front wheels, the driving is difficult, particularly along a bend.

The technical purpose of the invention is to overcome at least partly these drawbacks.

In the context of this technical purpose, the aim of the invention is to provide a foldable scooter which can be used as a shopping trolley, to be moved freely inside supermarkets or food stores or similar commercial establishments. A further aim of the invention is to provide a foldable scooter which has a high ease of handling, both for transporting a user and for transporting objects.

The technical purpose indicated and the aims specified are substantially achieved by a foldable multifunction scooter for the transport of persons and objects, comprising the technical features described in one or more of the appended claims.

Further features and advantages of the invention are more apparent in the non-limiting description which follows of a preferred embodiment of a self- propelled and foldable device for the transport of persons and objects, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figures 1 A and 1 B show a scooter according to the invention in an extended configuration, suitable for transporting a user;

Figures 2A and 2B show the scooter of Figures 1 A and 1 B in a configuration with the stand in the supporting position;

Figures 3A-3D show the scooter of Figures 1 A and 1 B in different operational steps of switching the scooter into a folded configuration, suitable for use as a shopping trolley.

Figure 4 is a perspective view of the scooter according to the invention in the folded configuration.

With reference to the above-mentioned drawings, the numeral 1 denotes in its entirety an electric foldable, multi-function scooter which is suitable for operation as a vehicle for transporting persons and objects, in accordance with the invention.

Figures 1 A, 1 B, 2A and 2B show the scooter 1 of the invention in an extended configuration.

It will be understood that, as shown in Figures 3D and 4, the scooter 1 can bend into a configuration in which it defines a shopping trolley, which can be easily be transported in supermarkets or other commercial establishments.

The scooter 1 has a frame 5 composed of three separate groups: a front fork unit 10, a central unit 12 and a rear unit 14.

The front fork unit 10 has a tubular body 10d, with a rectangular cross- section and preferably made of plastic material; the body 10d is at least partly inserted inside a steering sleeve 12a, forming part of the central unit 12. The tubular body 10d is connected at the top to a handlebar 16. In the lower part of the tubular body 10d there is, integral with the tubular body 10d, a steering unit 10b and a fork unit 10e. The fork 10e supports a front wheel 10a and a front brake 10c. A lever 16a is set up on the handlebar 16 for operating the front brake 10c and any other commands, as described below. The structure comprising handlebar 16, front fork unit 10 and front wheel 10a, represents the steering system of the device, about a steering axis “X” which is preferably inclined backwards relative to a vertical axis.

The central unit 12 basically has two portions: the first portion is the above-mentioned steering sleeve 12a, preferably, but without limiting the scope of the invention, with a quadrangular outer cross-section, for receiving at least partly the tubular body 10d of the front fork unit 10 whilst the second portion, according to a preferred but not exclusive embodiment, has a thick body 12b, with a preferably quadrangular cross- section, designed to receive an electric battery 12d. The end of the thick body 12b is hinged by a pin 12c, to the rear unit 14, forming a folding axis

“Y”

As shown in Figure 1 , there is a carrier 18. In other embodiments, the number of carriers 18 could be greater than one. The carrier is formed by a containment body having an opening facing upwards and preferably made of a rigid material.

The carrier 18 is fixed to a portion, preferably a front portion, of the central unit 12. Advantageously, since it is fixed to the central unit 12, the carriers do not steer, making the steering easier for the user.

The carrier is fixed at a height greater than the fork 10e of the front fork unit 10. Moreover, the containment body of the carrier 18 is shaped in such a way as to at least partly enclose a trajectory of rotation of said fork 10e without interfering with said fork. In this way, the rotation of the front fork unit 10 is not obstructed by the presence of the carrier 18. Advantageously, the raised position of the carriers 18 makes it easy to load and unload from an upright position of the user, who is not forced to bend down.

In other embodiments, the carrier 18 is not fixed on the front face of the central unit 12, but on the lateral face of the central unit 12, in accordance with the above-mentioned position features raised relative to the fork 10d and shaping of the body of the carrier 18 relative to the trajectory of rotation of said fork 10e.

The rear unit 14 extends from the folding axis Ύ” towards the rear end of the scooter 1 and has a pair of platforms 14e placed side by side to support a user. In an embodiment not illustrated, the two platforms 14e may be replaced by a single platform.

The rear unit 14 also comprises a fork 14b which forks backwards and in which a rear wheel 14a is inserted. In a preferred embodiment, the outside diameter of the rear wheel 14a is smaller than the outside diameter of the front wheel 10a. Moreover, the rear wheel 14a is connected to an electric motor 14c, mounted on the rear unit 14 (and preferably anchored on the fork 14b) and powered by the above-mentioned electric battery 12d. Moreover, the motor is driven by a command 16b set up on the handlebar 16.

The rear unit 14 also comprises, in a relative rear portion, a hook 14d the purpose of which is to anchor the rear unit 14 in a folded configuration, described below. The hook 14d is positioned on the rear end of the scooter 1 , in particular behind the axis of the rear wheel 14a, and may be anchored to the seat 12e by an elastic element or other similar means. Interposed between the platforms 14e there is a locking device 22, hinged on the rear unit 14 by a pin 22b. The locking device 22 can be rotated about the pin 22b and adopt a plurality of different configurations. Figures 1 A, 1 B, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B show the locking device 22 in a blocked position. In the locked position, the locking device 22 is superposed on the central unit 12 and operates, by means of a surface shaped to match the surface portions of the central unit 12 and of the rear unit 14, in such a way as to prevent a reciprocal rotation between the central unit 12 and the rear unit 14 in the extended configuration of “normal” use as a scooter (Figures 1 A, 1 B, 2A, 2B). In particular, the locking device 22 has a protuberance 22a which engages with a locking seat 12f present on the central unit 12. More specifically, the protuberance 22a and the locking seat 12f have respective shapes corresponding to each other to define a mutual coupling according to a unique and predetermined positioning.

As shown in the drawings, the scooter 1 also comprises an intermediate support 20. The intermediate support 20, in a preferred embodiment, has a“V” shape, with the concavity facing downwards. At its ends, wheels 20a are fixed where the wheels 20a may have a variable orientation.

The intermediate support 20, according to a preferred embodiment, is hinged on the lower face of the frame 5, at the same joining point between the central unit 12 and the rear unit 14. In this case, the intermediate support 20 rotates about the folding axis“Y”. In other embodiments, the intermediate support 20 is hinged directly on the lower face of the central unit 12. In this second case, the intermediate support 20 rotates about the axis Y.

Advantageously, the intermediate support 20 can rotate independently (relative to the frame 5, in particular relative to both the central unit 12 and rear unit 14) about said folding axis “Y” and can adopt a plurality of configurations. In the disengaged position, as shown in Figures 1 A and 1 B, the intermediate support 20 is folded in such a way as to be adherent to the lower face of the central unit 12. In this position, the intermediate support 20 does not touch the ground but remains raised above the ground to form a configuration suitable for the“normal” movement of the scooter 1. Moreover, on the lower face of the central unit 12 there is a quick closing element 20b, to facilitate anchoring of the intermediate support 20 to the lower face of the central unit 12 in the disengaged position.

Moreover, as shown in Figures 2A and 2B, the intermediate support 20, may adopt a temporary position, definable as an intermediate position, wherein the intermediate support 20 touches the ground with the wheels 20a.

In practice, in this case, the operation of the intermediate support 20 is not unlike that of the stand of a motorcycle, in the sense that the scooter and the intermediate support 20 are rotated relative to each other in such a way that the first passes over the second (compare Figures 2A and 2B with Figures 3A, 3B and 3C).

In this case, the intermediate support 20 adopts a further position, that is, an operating position, as shown in Figures 3A, 3B, preferably further rotated backwards relative to the intermediate position. In the operating position, the intermediate support 20 is completely extended and touches the ground.

In particular, Figure 3C shows the scooter in an extended configuration with the intermediate support 20 in an operating configuration and with the locking device 22 in a further position, defined as the extended position of the locking device 22. In its extended position, the locking device 22 rests in contact against the support 14f of the rear unit 14. This position is suitable for a folding movement of the scooter 1 as described below.

As mentioned above and as shown in Figures 3D and 4, in addition to the above-mentioned extended configuration, the scooter 1 may adopt a further configuration, that is, a folded configuration, wherein the scooter operates as a shopping trolley by means of the carrier 18. The rear unit 14 is rotated forwards, about the folding axis Ύ”, making contact with the rear face of the central unit 12. The scooter is reversibly locked in this configuration by the locking device 24 comprising the hook 14d and the elastic 12e. Advantageously, the raised position of the locking device 24, close to the handlebar 16, makes the locking/unlocking step of the folded configuration easy for the user as it can be used in the upright position.

In this configuration, the intermediate support 20 provides at least one additional rolling axis to the scooter. In effect, in the preferred embodiment, the scooter rests on the front wheel 10a and on the two wheels 20a of the intermediate support 20 but not on the rear wheel 14a, the rear unit 14 being folded. Advantageously, the front fork unit 10 steers about the steering axis“X” also in the folded configuration so that the user can manoeuvre the scooter using the handlebar 16.

Moreover, advantageously, in the preferred embodiment, the intermediate support 20 is designed in such a way that the steering axis“X” has the same inclination relative to the ground in both the extended and folded configurations of the scooter. In other words, the orientation of the front unit 10 and the central unit 12 does not change in the two configurations of use of the scooter.

Advantageously, in the folded configuration, the locking device 22 is designed for receiving at least partly part of the surface of the squat body 12b belonging to the central unit 12, increasing the robustness of this configuration.

As shown in the drawings, the position of the carrier 18 is such that the user can access the carrier 18 in both the extended and folded configurations of the scooter with the same methods of execution, in particular from an area in front of the scooter 1.

The invention achieves the preset aims overcoming the drawbacks of the prior art and providing the user with a foldable multifunction scooter which is able to adopt two configurations of use, in particular a vehicle configuration, for transporting persons and objects resting on the ground by means of two wheels and a shopping trolley configuration, set up for transporting objects by means of the carrier and wherein the scooter is positioned resting on the front wheel and on two wheels belonging to the intermediate support.

Another aim which is achieved is to make the driving of the scooter, when designed for transporting objects, easier for the user. In effect, the carriers are mounted on the central unit and therefore not steering together with the front wheel, with obvious benefits in terms of inertias in movement.

A further advantage is that of making the loading and unloading steps less onerous for the user for both the extended and folded configurations, since the carrier is always accessible from the front, irrespective of the configuration adopted by the scooter.

Lastly, an additional aim is represented by the fact that it makes the locking/unlocking step more convenient for the folded configuration, not requiring the user to bend down but being able to easily operate whilst standing up.