Title:
Motorized scooter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a suspensioned motor powered scooter with a front steered wheel, a rear driven wheel, a chassis, a motor, and a shock absorber. The front and rear wheels are wide enough to allow the scooter to remain independently upright upon a rider's dismount. A swing arm assembly maintains a fixed relationship between the motor and the rear wheel. In addition, the motor bears only a pivotal relationship with the chassis such that any shock resulting from operation of the scooter over rough terrain is absorbed by the swing arm assembly and shock absorber rather than by the chassis.



Inventors:
Laver, Erik (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Laver, Penny (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Application Number:
10/279667
Publication Date:
04/29/2004
Filing Date:
10/24/2002
Assignee:
LAVER ERIK
LAVER PENNY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B62K3/00; B62M6/60; (IPC1-7): A63C5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SWENSON, BRIAN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael F. Krieger (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An electric motor powered scooter comprising: a front steered wheel; a rear driven wheel, wherein both said rear driven wheel and said front steered wheel are wide enough to allow said scooter to remain independently erect upon dismount of a rider; a chassis having a fender mounted to a rear end thereof; a motor coupled to said chassis in a location lateral to and in substantially the same plane as the rear wheel, and operationally connected to said rear wheel, the motor and rear wheel being maintained at a constant distance from each other; and shock absorbing means mounted to said fender at a location between said fender and said chassis.

2. The motor powered scooter of claim 1, wherein said shock absorbing means comprises an inflatable rubber cylinder.

3. The motor powered scooter of claim 1, wherein said rear driven wheel is coupled to a disc brake.

4. The motor powered scooter of claim 1, further comprising means for maintaining a fixed distance between said motor and said rear driven wheel.

5. The motor powered scooter of claim 1, wherein said shock absorber is inflatable.

6. The motor powered scooter of claim 1, further comprising means for maintaining a fixed distance between said motor and said rear driven wheel.

7. A motorized two wheeled golf cart comprising: a front steered wheel wide enough to not damage turf when traveling thereon; a rear driven wheel coupled to a disc brake, wherein both said rear driven wheel and said front steered wheel are wide enough to allow said scooter to remain independently erect upon dismount of a rider; a chassis having a head tube mounted to a forward end thereof and a fender mounted to a rear end thereof; a motor pivotally coupled to said chassis and operationally connected to said rear driven wheel; and a shock absorber coupled to said fender.

8. A motor powered scooter comprising: a front steered wheel; a rear driven wheel coupled to a disc brake, wherein both said rear driven wheel and said front steered wheel are wide enough to allow said scooter to remain independently erect upon dismount of a rider; a chassis having a head tube mounted to a forward end thereof and a fender mounted to a rear end thereof; a fork rotatably mounted in said head tube and supporting said front steered wheel; a platform mounted to a top surface of said chassis for supporting said rider thereon; a motor mounted in substantially the same horizontal plane as the rear wheel and coupled to and residing within said chassis, wherein said motor is operationally connected to said rear driven wheel; means for maintaining a fixed distance between said motor and said rear driven wheel; and an inflatable shock absorber coupled to said fender at a location between said fender and said chassis.

9. The motor powered scooter of claim 8, wherein the means for maintaining a fixed distance between said motor and said rear driven wheel comprises a swing arm assembly mounted to said motor and to said rear driven wheel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to the field of electric powered scooters and, more particularly, to construction of a suspensioned motor powered scooter in which the rear wheel is operationally connected to the motor at a fixed distance to maintain adequate tension in the chain during operation over rough terrain.

[0003] 2. Background and Related Art

[0004] Motor powered scooters are well known in the art and have long been used as an inexpensive means of transportation. Typical motor powered scooters are built with a steerable front wheel, an electric motor supplying power to a rear wheel, and a platform mounted to a central chassis for accommodating a rider.

[0005] Examples of motor powered scooters are found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,821,832, and 6,012,539 to Patmont. Such scooters are exceedingly useful and popular, although certain limitations inherent in their construction impede their broader use and greater success.

[0006] One problem with presently known motor powered scooters is that current methods of scooter construction and manufacture fail to facilitate smooth operation over uneven surfaces and rugged terrain. Indeed, most presently known scooters fail to implement any type of suspension system whatsoever. Moreover, the few presently known scooter suspension systems are inadequate for operation over rough terrain as they fail to prevent disengagement of the chain from its associated gear. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,012,539 teaches an all terrain scooter with pneumatic tires to absorb shock created by surface irregularities. The shock absorbing capacity of such tires, however, is insufficient to adequately absorb shock resulting from operation over uneven, rugged terrain.

[0007] Another problem with prior art motor powered scooters is their inherent instability. Traditional scooters require a kickstand or similar mechanism to retain the scooter in an upright position when not in use. Such kickstands are inherently unreliable as they depend on principles of counterbalance taken to an extreme. Indeed, a kickstand applied to the wheel base of a scooter must be fairly short, while the scooter itself is relatively tall. The great disparity in dimension between the kickstand and the scooter makes it difficult for the scooter to obtain a proper independent balance. In addition, the dimensional disparity between kickstand and scooter reduces the scooter's ability to maintain a proper independent balance for extended periods of time. Indeed, even a small breeze or slight brush against the scooter may cause the scooter to topple, potentially resulting in both external and internal damage to the scooter.

[0008] Further, some presently known scooters employ a side-mounted motor, which also contributes to scooter instability. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,431,302 to Patmont discloses a motor mounted to a rear wheel mount located on one side of a rear wheel. The added weight and bulk of a motor so mounted necessarily increases the scooter's stationary instability.

[0009] Tires on most scooters are narrow to reduce the rolling resistance. While this increases the speed and distance a scooter can travel, narrow tires cause ruts to be formed in the turf surfaces and sink into sand and soft soil.

[0010] What is needed is a scooter that is reliable, simple in construction, and having a chain which is capable of maintaining adequate tension over terrain, and which is capable of traveling on softer surfaces.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] The present invention is a suspensioned motor powered scooter with a front steered wheel, a rear driven wheel, a chassis, a motor, and a shock absorber. The front and rear wheels are wide and the weight of the motor is positioned low in the chassis to allow the scooter to remain independently upright upon a rider's dismount. A swing arm assembly maintains a fixed relationship between the motor and the rear wheel. In addition, the swing arm is isolated from chassis movement by an adjustable air bag suspension.

[0012] An object of the present invention is to provide a suspensioned scooter capable of smooth operation over rugged terrain.

[0013] Another object of the present invention to provide a scooter wherein the chain maintains adequate tension and engagement with its associated spindle and gear over any surface.

[0014] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a scooter that is capable of traveling on turf and soft soil.

[0015] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a scooter that is independently stable, properly balanced, and capable of remaining independently erect upon the dismount of a rider, when the scooter is on level ground.

[0016] These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be set forth or will become more fully apparent in the description that follows and in the appended claims. The features and advantages may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. Furthermore, the features and advantages of the invention may be learned by the practice of the invention or will be obvious from the description, as set forth hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] In order that the manner in which the above recited and other features and advantages of the present invention are obtained, a more particular description of the invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof, which are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that the drawings depict only typical embodiments of the present invention and are not, therefore, to be considered as limiting the scope of the invention, the present invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the motor powered scooter;

[0019] FIG. 2 is an exploded side view of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a front perspective view thereof;

[0021] FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the handlebars of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 5 is an exploded side view of the rear tire showing the disc brake system;

[0023] FIG. 6 is an opposite side view of the rear tire depicting the suspension system of the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the chassis and its internal components including the motor; and

[0025] FIG. 8 is a rear perspective view of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

[0027] As used in this specification and claims, the term scooter refers to an electric powered scooter wherein the motor receives DC power from its associated batteries.

[0028] As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the motor powered scooter of the present invention includes handlebars 28, a steering column 26, a front wheel 4, a rear wheel 6, a chassis 2, a rider's platform 42, and a fender 8.

[0029] The chassis 2 comprises the main structural element of the scooter. As such, the chassis 2 may be made of any material which lends structure to the scooter and is capable of withstanding the weight of an average person. The chassis 2 extends along a substantially horizontal plane, wherein the top surface of the chassis 2 provides a platform 42 for the feet of the rider. The platform 42 may be textured so as to create a non-skid surface for the feet of the rider. The chassis also functions to house a power source for the scooter—specifically, a motor 20 and its associated batteries 22. This chassis function will be discussed in more detail below with reference to FIG. 7.

[0030] A steering column 26 is mounted to the front end of the chassis 2. The lower portion of the steering column 26 houses a fork coupled to the front wheel 4, such that rotation of the steering column 26 causes a corresponding rotation of the front wheel 4. Such rotational movement is facilitated by handlebars 28 attached to the uppermost portion of the steering column 26. The steering column 26 may optionally include a telescopic joint so as to enable a rider to adjust the height of the steering column 26 as desired. Steering column 26 may also be collapsible. In one embodiment, the column is hinged and a sleeve may be slid over the hinge to prevent movement of the column or lifted to allow the column to be inclined parallel to and contiguous with the chassis. The front wheel 4 is preferably equipped with a large cross-sectional, small diameter, low pressure pneumatic tire.

[0031] A fender 8 is coupled to the rear end of the chassis and resides directly over the rear wheel 6. Like the front wheel 4, the rear wheel 6 is preferably equipped with a large cross-sectional, small diameter, low pressure pneumatic tire. According to one aspect of the presently preferred embodiment of the present invention, the rear wheel 6 has a slightly greater width than the front wheel 4 to accommodate the fact that more of the rider's weight may be concentrated primarily over the rear wheel 6, and power is directed to the rear drive wheel. The fender 8 mirrors the dimensions of the rear wheel 6 so as to protect the body of the scooter and the rider from mud and other debris that may be dislodged and upstrewn by the rotational movement of such wheel. Additionally, the fender 8 functions to provide a surface on which to mount shock absorbing means 24 for the suspension system herein disclosed. Fender 8 also prevents the rider from inadvertently contacting rear wheel 6 while moving

[0032] According to one aspect of the present invention, the scooter is equipped with front and rear wheels wide enough to allow the scooter to remain independently erect upon dismount of a rider. This improvement allows for quick and easy dismounts. Indeed, self-supporting wheels and a low center of gravity obviate the need for additional means of support, such as a kickstand when the scooter is parked on a level surface. Scooter stationary instability is a primary cause of scooter damage. When a scooter inadvertently falls over, the fall is likely to cause injury both externally to the scooter body, and internally to the structure and function of the scooter. By having a very low center of gravity and wide tires, the inventive scooter is very stable and less likely to fall over.

[0033] FIGS. 4 and 5 depict the disc brake system on the rear wheel preferred for use in conjunction with the present invention. Specifically, FIG. 4 illustrates an actuator 30 attached to the handlebar 28 of the present invention. A brake cable 36 extends from the actuator 30 down the steering column 26 to communicate with the caliper 34 of FIG. 5. Upon activation of the actuator 30, the caliper 34 squeezes brake pads against the rotor 32, which is attached to the rear wheel 6. Friction between the pads and the rotor 32 slows wheel 6.

[0034] As seen in FIG. 6, the present invention further espouses a drive train wherein the rear wheel 6 and the motor 20 are retained at a fixed distance on the same swing arm assembly 16. Preferably, a drive gear 18 attached to the motor 20 is operationally connected to the rear wheel 6 and associated gear by way of a chain 14. The chain 14 engages both the drive spindle 18 and a gear 12 attached to the rear wheel hub 10 such that rotation of the drive spindle 18 causes rotation of the chain 14, and hence movement of the rear wheel 6.

[0035] Traditional chain assemblies, such as that described above, tend to malfunction upon operation over rough terrain due to intermittent slack resulting in the chain 14. Prolonged periods of slack in the chain 14 or an extreme case of slack in the chain 14 may cause the chain 14 to become disengaged altogether. As the slack in the chain increases upon the encountering of an obstacle, the driven wheel momentarily slows. As the slack is taken up, the driven wheel then jerks when the slack is gone. This jerking is dangerous on a vehicle such as a scooter since the rider is merely standing on the platform. The suspension system of the present invention overcomes the problem of the prior art by virtue of the swing arm assembly 16 herein disclosed. The swing arm assembly 16 secures the motor 20 and the rear wheel 6 against a solid plate at a constant distance from each other. Thus, the swing arm assembly 16 inherently maintains a constant distance between the drive spindle 18 and the gear assembly 12 attached to the rear wheel 6. The chain 14 is thus able to maintain adequate tension with respect to the spindle 18 and gear assembly 12 even over uneven surfaces or rugged terrain.

[0036] Another component of the suspension system herein disclosed are shock absorbing means 24 placed between the fender 8 and the chassis 2 to cushion any interference between the two. By way of example and not limitation, the shock absorbing means 24 may comprise an inflatable rubber bladder mounted to the fender 8, a spring or rubber grommet.

[0037] FIG. 7 offers an internal view of chassis 2 and its components. The motor 20 is coupled to chassis 2 by virtue of a flexible surround 40. Chassis 2 also houses, by way of example and not limitation, three batteries 22 that provide the motor 20 with the DC power necessary for scooter operation. As seen in FIG. 8, the motor 20 and its associated batteries 22 are evenly distributed within the chassis 2 and are placed low therein, on a plane parallel to and substantially adjacent the top surface of the rear wheel 6, to ensure an evenly distributed low center of gravity. A low center of gravity relative the wheel base is necessary to facilitate the independent stability of the scooter as well as proper operational balance, as discussed above with reference to FIG. 1.