Never before, and perhaps never again, will we see a piece of luggage that takes so much courage to use. Undaunted by an unsuccessful Kickstarter last year, Modobag has rolled up with the promise of making airport navigation much easier on the feet — key, because your gate is on the far end of the terminal. It is always on the far end of the terminal.
Modobag is an electric scooter that’s been built into a standard piece of rolling luggage. There are a couple of scooter-like footholds near the wheels that pop out, an electric motor, and a sturdy enough construction (ballistic nylon exterior) to hold your weight as you hop on and cruise from one end of the terminal to the other. Modobag also repurposes the usual luggage handle into a set of aluminum handlebars for stability and braking. The seat has a layer of memory foam between you and the rest of your luggage, making the ride a comfortable one. Extra battery power can be used to charge mobile devices that can be slipped into side quick access pockets, although it’s necessary to point out that texting and driving is, as always, inadvisable (for the sake of your dignity and/or the knees of fellow travelers, in this case).
So, what kind of horsepower is this thing packing? Modobag can ferry riders up to six miles on one charge, with an electric motor powerful enough to guarantee a top speed of eight miles per hour (five miles per hour in indoors mode). The battery charges up quickly, too, with a 15-minute charge netting 80% of battery life. It’s also a smart suitcase of sorts — Modobag has a companion app that tracks the bag’s location and can be programmed to alert you when your bag gets too far away — I guess in case someone tries to pull a Grand Theft Auto on your luggage.
There are a couple of problems here, besides falling off or crashing while riding your luggage surely being one of the most embarrassing possible airport experiences. The main one is that, thanks to the motor, batteries, and heavy-duty handle, the 22″ bag weighs 19 pounds empty. If you don’t pack light, there’s a good chance a fully packed Modobag will be too heavy to be allowed as a carry-on bag (depending on what country you’re in), which negates the point of being able to ride it. Ironically enough, if you want to be free from having to carry your heavy luggage, you might have to pack somewhat light. The lithium-ion batteries inside could end up being problematic at airport security, too.
But, if you’re all-in on riding your luggage, warts and all, Modobag is making a return to crowdfunding. Their September 2015 Kickstarter campaign only brought in $21,839 against their goal of $160,000, but it looks like their second attempt has flipped the script. In less than a week, they’ve blown past their $50,000 Indiegogo goal, and are currently sitting (riding?) on over $150,000 with 25 days to go. The cost is still the same at a very pricey $1,000, with shipping scheduled for next January.
What could possibly go wrong?