Easy To Use Patents Search & Patent Lawyer Directory

At Patents you can conduct a Patent Search, File a Patent Application, find a Patent Attorney, or search available technology through our Patent Exchange. Patents are available using simple keyword or date criteria. If you are looking to hire a patent attorney, you've come to the right place. Protect your idea and hire a patent lawyer.


Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.






Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20030168273
Kind Code A1
Ducharme, Leonard A. ;   et al. September 11, 2003

Scooter drive device

Abstract

A scooter motor assembly for easily attaching and detaching from a scooter. The assembly may include a housing containing components such as a battery and an electric motor. An arm and attachment lever may be movably attached to the housing. The assembly may also include a motor support for attaching to the front of the scooter. The motor support may be configured to allow the housing to move in a vertical direction with respect to the scooter. The housing may be spring biased to allow contact with the scooter front wheel so that the motor assembly is adjustable and can be used with scooters having different sized front wheels. The housing may be easily attached and detached from the scooter by operating the release arm. Thus, the scooter may be used with or without the motor.


Inventors: Ducharme, Leonard A.; (Chico, CA) ; Ressler, Paul R.; (American Fork, UT) ; Meyers, David O.; (North Salt Lake, UT) ; Peterson, Thomas W.; (North Salt Lake, UT)
Correspondence Address:
    KARL R CANNON
    PO BOX 1909
    SANDY
    UT
    84091
    US
Assignee: SBS Enterprises, LLC;

Serial No.: 340566
Series Code: 10
Filed: January 10, 2003

Current U.S. Class: 180/181
Class at Publication: 180/181
International Class: A63C 017/12


Claims



What is claimed is:

1. An attachment mechanism for attaching a motor to a transport, said attachment mechanism comprising: a housing for containing said motor; and attachment means for attaching said housing in a fixed relationship with said transport, said attachment means being movably attached to said housing; wherein said attachment mechanism is configured such that when the housing containing the motor is attached to said transport, said attachment means is fixed with respect to said transport and said housing is moveable with respect to said transport.

2. The attachment mechanism of claim 1, further comprising a motor support for attaching to said transport and to the housing.

3. The attachment mechanism of claim 2, wherein said motor support comprises at least one projection for attaching to said housing.

4. The attachment mechanism of claim 3, wherein said at least one projection comprises two projections disposed on opposing sides of a bottom of said motor support.

5. The attachment mechanism of claim 2, wherein said motor support comprises a mounting slot for receiving said attachment means.

6. The attachment mechanism of claim 5, wherein said attachment means further comprises a tab, and said mounting slot is defined in part by an abutment wall for contacting said tab to hold said motor to said transport.

7. The attachment mechanism of claim 2, wherein said motor support further comprises a bracket for attaching said motor support to said transport.

8. The attachment mechanism of claim 7,wherein said bracket has an interior surface and said motor support has a complementary interior surface, said interior surface and said complementary interior surface being configured to engage posts having different diameters.

9. The attachment mechanism of claim 1, wherein said housing further comprises a groove for defining a movement path of said housing with respect to said transport.

10. The attachment mechanism of claim 9, further comprising a motor support for attaching to said transport, said motor support comprises at least one projection, wherein said at least one projection is received in said groove to limit movement of said housing to said movement path.

11. The attachment mechanism of claim 1, further comprising an arm for operating said attachment means.

12. The attachment mechanism of claim 1, wherein said housing further comprises an oblong opening for receiving said attachment means.

13. The attachment mechanism of claim 1, further comprising a front cover attached to said housing.

14. The attachment mechanism of claim 13, wherein said front cover comprises a vent for allowing air to circulate within said housing.

15. The attachment mechanism of claim 13, wherein said front cover is pivotally attached to said housing.

16. The attachment mechanism of claim 15, wherein said front cover further comprises a latch to connect said front cover to said housing.

17. The attachment mechanism of claim 1, further comprising a biasing member attached to said housing and said attachment means for biasing said motor into engagement with a wheel of said transport.

18. The attachment mechanism of claim 1, wherein said attachment means further comprises a tab for interlocking with a mounting slot affixed to said transport.

19. The attachment mechanism of claim 18, wherein said attachment means further comprises a shaft for connecting with an arm to operate said attachment means.

20. An attachment mechanism for attaching a motor to a transport, said attachment mechanism comprising: a motor support configured to be attached to said transport; a housing for said motor; and an attachment lever for attaching said housing to said motor support; wherein said attachment mechanism is configured such that when said housing is attached to said motor support, said attachment lever is fixed with respect to said motor support and said housing is permitted to move with respect to said motor support.

21. The attachment mechanism of claim 20, wherein said motor support comprises at least one projection for attaching to said housing.

22. The attachment mechanism of claim 20, wherein said motor support comprises a mounting slot for receiving said attachment lever.

23. The attachment mechanism of claim 22, wherein said attachment lever further comprises a tab, and said mounting slot is defined in part by an abutment wall for contacting said tab to hold said motor to said transport.

24. The attachment mechanism of claim 20, wherein said motor support further comprises a bracket for attaching said motor support to said transport.

25. The attachment mechanism of claim 24, wherein said bracket has an interior surface and said motor support has a complementary interior surface, said interior surface and said complementary interior surface being configured to engage posts having different diameters.

26. The attachment mechanism of claim 25, wherein said interior surface of said bracket and said complementary interior surface of said motor support have a substantially V shape.

27. The attachment mechanism of claim 21, wherein said housing further comprises a groove for receiving said at least one projection to define a movement path of said housing with respect to said transport.

28. The attachment mechanism of claim 20, wherein said attachment lever further comprises a shaft.

29. The attachment mechanism of claim 28, wherein said housing further comprises an oblong opening for receiving said shaft.

30. The attachment mechanism of claim 29, further comprising an arm attached to said shaft for operating said attachment lever.

31. The attachment mechanism of claim 30, further comprising a biasing member attached to said housing and said attachment lever for biasing said motor into engagement with a wheel of said transport.

32. The attachment mechanism of claim 31, further comprising a spring bracket attached to said shaft and said biasing member.

33. An attachment mechanism for attaching a motor to a transport, said attachment mechanism comprising: a housing for said motor, said housing including a groove defining a movement path; and a motor support configured to be attached to said transport, said motor support including a projection; wherein said groove is configured to receive said projection to allow movement of said housing with respect to said motor support along said movement path.

34. The attachment mechanism of claim 33, wherein said movement path is configured to extend in a substantially vertical direction when said motor is attached to said transport.

35. The attachment mechanism of claim 33, further comprising an attachment lever rotatably attached to said housing for attaching said housing to said motor support.

36. The attachment mechanism of claim 35, wherein said motor support further comprises a mounting slot for receiving said attachment lever.

37. The attachment mechanism of claim 36, wherein said attachment lever further comprises a tab, and said mounting slot is defined in part by an abutment wall for contacting said tab to hold said motor to said transport.

38. The attachment mechanism of claim 35, wherein said attachment lever further comprises a shaft and said housing comprises an oblong opening extending parallel to said movement path, said shaft being received in said oblong opening.

39. The attachment mechanism of claim 38, further comprising an arm attached to said shaft for operating said attachment lever.

40. The attachment mechanism of claim 33, further comprising a biasing member attached to said housing for biasing said motor into engagement with a wheel of said transport.

41. An attachment mechanism for attaching a motor device having a friction wheel and containing a motor, to a wheel of a transport, said attachment mechanism comprising: a housing for containing said motor; an attachment lever for attaching said housing to said transport; and a biasing member attached to said housing and said attachment lever; wherein said biasing member is configured and arranged to force the friction wheel into contact with the wheel of said transport such that said attachment mechanism is adjustable to fit wheels of different sizes.

42. The attachment mechanism of claim 41, wherein said attachment lever comprises a shaft defining a pivot axis of said attachment lever.

43. The attachment mechanism of claim 42, wherein said housing comprises an oblong opening for receiving said shaft such that said housing is configured to allow movement of said shaft with respect to said housing in said oblong opening.

44. The attachment mechanism of claim 42, wherein said biasing member is connected to said attachment lever through a spring bracket.

45. The attachment mechanism of claim 44, wherein said spring bracket is attached to said shaft such that said shaft is allowed to rotate with respect to said spring bracket.

46. The attachment mechanism of claim 42, further comprising an arm attached to said shaft for operating said attachment lever.

47. A method of attaching a motor device to a transport, said motor device comprising a housing and an arm, said method comprising the steps of: (a) joining said housing with said transport such that said housing is allowed to move along a movement path with respect to said transport; (b) rotating said arm to attach said arm to said transport; and (c) allowing said housing to move along said movement path while said arm is fixed to said transport.

48. The method of claim 47, wherein step (a) further comprises inserting a projection on said transport into a groove on said housing.

49. The method of claim 47, wherein step (a) further comprises inserting an attachment lever into a mounting slot.

50. The method of claim 47, wherein step (b) comprises rotating said arm through an angle of less than 180 degrees.

51. The method of claim 47, wherein step (c) further comprises allowing said housing to move in a substantially vertical movement path.

52. The method of claim 51, further comprising preventing said housing from moving in a lateral direction with respect to said transport.

53. A method of detaching a motor device from a transport, said motor device comprising a housing and an arm, said method consisting essentially of the steps of: (a) rotating said arm through an angle of less than 180 degrees; and (b) sliding said housing with respect to said transport until said motor device is detached from said transport.

54. A method of operating a transport comprising the steps of: (a) providing a first motor device and a second motor device; (b) attaching said first motor device to said transport for driving said transport; (c) detaching said first motor device from said transport; (d) operating said transport without said first motor device or said second motor device; and (e) attaching said second motor device to said transport for driving said transport.

55. The method of claim 54, wherein step (c) further comprises recharging at least one battery in said first motor device.

56. The method of claim 54, wherein step (b) comprises inserting a projection on said transport into a groove on said motor device.

57. The method of claim 56, further comprising inserting an attachment lever into a mounting slot.

58. The method of claim 57, further comprising rotating an attachment arm through an angle of less than 180 degrees.

59. The method of claim 58, further comprising allowing a portion of said motor device to move along a movement path while said motor device is attached to said transport.

60. The method of claim 54, wherein step (c) further comprises rotating an attachment arm through an angle of less than 180 degrees.

61. The method of claim 60, wherein step (c) further comprises sliding said motor device with respect to said transport.

62. A method of operating a scooter comprising the steps of: (a) providing a scooter; (b) providing a motor device for attachment to said scooter; (c) attaching said motor device to said scooter for driving said scooter; (d) detaching said motor device from said scooter; (e) recharging said motor device; and (f) re-attaching said motor device to said scooter.

63. The method of claim 62, wherein step (c) comprises inserting a projection on said scooter into a groove on said motor device.

64. The method of claim 63, wherein step (c) further comprises inserting an attachment lever into a mounting slot.

65. The method of claim 64, wherein step (c) further comprises rotating an attachment arm through an angle of less than 180 degrees.

66. The method of claim 62, further comprising allowing said motor device to move along a movement path while said motor device is attached to said scooter.

67. The method of claim 62, wherein step (d) further comprises rotating an attachment arm through an angle of less than 180 degrees.

68. The method of claim 62, wherein step (d) further comprises sliding said motor device with respect to said scooter.

69. The method of claim 62, further comprising operating said scooter while said motor device is detached from said scooter.

70. The method of claim 62, wherein step (c) further comprises attaching a motor support to said scooter, and attaching said motor device to said motor support.

71. A motor support for attaching a motor device to a post of a transport, said motor support comprising: a front face configured to face said motor device; a rear face configured to face said post; a mounting slot for receiving an attachment lever of said motor device; and means for attaching said motor support to said post such that a plurality of points on said post are contacted to provide a stable attachment to posts of different sizes.

72. The motor support of claim 71, wherein said means for attaching said motor support to said post comprises a bracket.

73. The motor support of claim 72, wherein said bracket has an interior surface and said motor support has a complementary interior surface on said rear face, said interior surface and said complementary interior surface each having a substantially V shape.

74. The motor support of claim 72, wherein said bracket includes fasteners to attach said bracket to said rear face.

75. The motor support of claim 71, further comprising at least one projection for inserting in a groove in the motor device for preventing lateral movement of said motor device with respect to said motor support.

76. The motor support of claim 75, wherein said at least one projection comprises two projections extending from opposing sides of said motor support.

77. The motor support of claim 71, further comprising an opening formed in said motor support to facilitate viewing said post through said motor support to assist in installation of the motor support.

78. The motor support of claim 71, wherein said mounting slot extends across said front face and is defined in part by an abutment wall, said abutment wall defining a plane substantially parallel to said front face.

79. The motor support of claim 71, further comprising a support base on a bottom portion of said motor support for contacting a front fork of said transport.

80. The motor support of claim 79, wherein said support base comprises a fork slot for receiving said front fork to align said motor support with said fork.

81. The motor support of claim 71, further comprising a fork support configured for abutting an upper portion of a fork of said transport to restrict vertical movement of said motor support.

82. The motor support of claim 71, further comprising at least one protruding ledge extending from a bottom portion of said motor support for abutting a front fork of said transport to align the motor support with said front fork.

83. A motor device for driving a transport, said motor device comprising: a housing having a back side configured to be attached to a post of said transport, and a front side configured to face away from said transport; a friction wheel disposed on said housing for driving a wheel of said transport; a motor positioned in said housing for powering said friction wheel; and an attachment arm for operating an attachment mechanism to attach said motor device to said transport, said attachment arm being connected to said back side of said housing.

84. The motor device of claim 83, wherein said attachment arm extends from said back side of said housing to said front side of said housing.

85. The motor device of claim 84, wherein said attachment arm extends across said front side of said housing.

86. The motor device of claim 83, further comprising means for attaching the motor device to the transport, said means including the attachment arm and the attachment mechanism.

87. The motor device of claim 86, wherein said means for attaching the motor device to the transport comprises a shaft attached to said attachment arm.

88. The motor device of claim 87, wherein said housing comprises an oblong opening for receiving said shaft such that said shaft is configured to move with respect to said housing within said oblong opening.

89. The motor device of claim 88, further comprising a biasing member to bias said shaft toward an end of said oblong opening.

90. The motor device of claim 83, further comprising at least one battery disposed in said housing for providing power to said motor.

91. The motor device of claim 90, wherein said at least one battery comprises a plurality of rechargeable batteries wherein in a low speed setting, electricity may be drawn from one of the batteries, whereas in a high speed setting, electricity may be drawn from more than one of the batteries.

92. The motor device of claim 83, further comprising a clutch attached to the friction wheel to allow the friction wheel to be disengaged from the motor so that the friction wheel can spin freely without a force being exerted by the motor on the friction wheel.

93. The motor device of claim 83, wherein said friction wheel has a diameter measuring at least 0.5 inches.

94. The motor device of claim 93, wherein said diameter of said friction wheel is approximately one inch.

95. The motor device of claim 83, wherein said friction wheel comprises a plurality of ridges formed on an exterior surface of said friction wheel, said ridges extending substantially parallel to an axis of said friction wheel.

96. The motor device of claim 95, wherein said friction wheel comprises at least fifty ridges.

97. The motor device of claim 96, wherein said friction wheel comprises at least seventy-five ridges.

98. The motor device of claim 83, wherein said motor is configured to have dual modes of operation.

99. The motor device of claim 98, wherein said dual modes of operation include a switchable voltage.

100. The motor device of claim 83, further comprising a control switch for attaching to handlebars of the transport for activating the motor.

101. The motor device of claim 100, further comprising a cord extending from said housing to said control switch.

102. The motor device of claim 101, further comprising a plug and a jack attached to said cord.

103. The motor device of claim 102, wherein said plug and jack are positioned on said cord a distance spaced apart from said housing to allow portions of said cord to be pulled apart and separated.

104. The motor device of claim 102, wherein said plug is located on said housing.

105. The motor device of claim 89, further comprising an adjustable connection for connecting said biasing member to said housing.

106. The motor device of claim 105, wherein said adjustable connection comprises a spring bracket comprising a plurality of openings positioned for receiving the biasing member at different locations.

107. A motorized scooter comprising: a platform for enabling a user to stand on said scooter; a handlebar attached to a post for steering said scooter; a front wheel and a rear wheel, said front wheel being steerable by said handlebar; a motor device removably attachable to said post for driving said front wheel; and attachment means for attaching said motor device to said scooter such that such that said motor device can be attached and released from said scooter by rotation of an arm.

108. The motorized scooter of claim 107, further comprising a motor support attached to said post for supporting said motor device.

109. The motorized scooter of claim 107, further comprising a control switch attached to the handlebar for operating said motor device.

110. The motorized scooter of claim 107, wherein said motor device comprises a friction wheel for driving said front wheel.

111. The motorized scooter of claim 110, wherein said friction wheel is configured to have a diameter ratio with respect to a diameter of said front wheel of at least 0.1.

112. The motorized scooter of claim 111, wherein said diameter ratio is at least 0.25.

113. A motor support for attaching a motor device to a post of a transport, said motor support comprising: a front face configured to face said motor device; a rear face configured to face said post; and means for attaching said motor support to said post; wherein said motor support comprises a support base positioned on a lower portion of said motor support, and at least one fork slot formed in said support base for receiving a fork of said transport therein to align said motor support with a wheel of said transport.

114. The motor support of claim 113, further comprising at least one knob extending from said support base for contacting said fork for aligning said motor support with said wheel of said transport.

115. The motor support of claim 113, further comprising at least one projection for inserting in a groove in the motor device for preventing lateral movement of said motor device with respect to said motor support.

116. The motor support of claim 113, further comprising a mounting slot formed in said motor support for receiving an attachment lever of said motor device.

117. The motor support of claim 113, said motor support defining a frontal line, and wherein the support base comprises a second fork slot, and wherein both fork slots are defined by orthogonal edges forming a square-shaped slot end, said slots being configured and arranged for receiving prongs of the fork to thereby position the motor support such that the frontal line of said motor support is parallel to an axis of rotation of the wheel of the transport.

118. A motor assembly for driving a transport, said motor assembly comprising: a motor device having a friction wheel, said motor device being configured to be attached to a post of the transport such that the friction wheel is held in continuous contact with a wheel of the transport; and a motor support having a front face configured to face the motor device, a rear face configured to face said post, a mounting slot for receiving an attachment lever of said motor device, and a means for attaching said motor support to said post such that a plurality of points on said post are contacted to provide a stable attachment to posts of different sizes.

119. The motor support of claim 73, wherein the interior surface of the bracket and the complementary interior surface of the rear face of the motor support are configured to be collectively disposed in contact with four points on the post of the transport when they have been installed.

120. The motor support of claim 73, wherein said plurality of points on said post comprises four points for allowing a stable attachment to be accomplished with posts of different sizes.

121. A motor device for driving a front wheel of a scooter, said motor device comprising: a housing, said housing containing at least one battery and a motor; a motor support for attaching to said scooter; and attachment means for attaching said housing to said scooter, said attachment means being movably attached to said housing such that when said motor is attached to said scooter, said attachment means is fixed with respect to said scooter and said housing is moveable with respect to said scooter; wherein said motor support comprises at least one projection for attaching to said housing; wherein said at least one projection comprises two projections disposed on opposing sides of a bottom of said motor support; wherein said motor support comprises a mounting slot for receiving said attachment means; wherein said attachment means further comprises a tab, and said mounting slot is defined in part by an abutment wall for contacting said tab to hold said motor to said scooter; wherein said motor support further comprises a bracket for attaching said motor support to said scooter; wherein said bracket has an interior surface and said motor support has a complementary interior surface, said interior surface and said complementary interior surface being configured to engage scooters having posts of different diameters; wherein said housing further comprises a pair of grooves for receiving said projections and for defining a movement path of said housing with respect to said scooter; wherein said attachment means further comprises a shaft connected to an arm for operating said attachment means; wherein said housing further comprises oblong opening for receiving said shaft; wherein said motor device further comprises a front cover; wherein said front cover comprises a vent for allowing air to circulate within said housing; wherein said front cover is pivotally attached to said housing; wherein said front cover further comprises a latch to connect said front cover to said housing; and wherein said motor device further comprises a biasing member attached to said housing and said attachment means for biasing said motor device into engagement with said front wheel of said scooter.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/347,488, filed Jan. 10, 2002, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/351,327, filed Jan. 21, 2002 which applications are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entireties, including but not limited to those portions that specifically appear hereinafter, the incorporation by reference being made with the following exception: In the event that any portion of the above-referenced applications is inconsistent with this application, this application supercedes said above-referenced applications.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] 1. The Field of the Invention

[0004] The present invention relates generally to scooter accessories, and more particularly, but not necessarily entirely, to drive and attachment accessories for scooters that allow the drive to be easily attached and detached from the scooter.

[0005] 2. Description of Related Art

[0006] Scooters are well known devices for use in transportation and for recreational purposes. Powered devices are also known in the art for driving scooters to reduce the effort required to operate the scooters. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,095,274 (granted Aug. 1, 2000 to Patmont) discloses a scooter having a gasoline engine fixed atop the rear wheel of the scooter. Gasoline engines commonly generate considerable noise and pollution. Furthermore, the engines are typically heavy and therefore make operation and handling of the scooter more difficult if the engine is not running.

[0007] Electric powered assemblies are also known in the art for driving scooters. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,775,452 (granted Jul. 7, 1998 to Patmont), and U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,324 (granted May 8, 2001 to Sauve) each disclose an electric powered scooter having batteries mounted on a bottom side of the scooter standing platform. The batteries provide power to a drive assembly that is fixed on the rear wheel of the scooter. A bracket for securing the batteries is fastened by a bolt making removal of the batteries difficult. The increased weight of the scooter due to the batteries and the drive assembly makes it difficult to manipulate the scooter when performing tricks. Also, the increased weight makes handling the scooter more difficult and cumbersome in certain situations. Furthermore, the position of the batteries under the scooter makes them vulnerable to damage due to contact with objects on the drive path. Moreover, since the batteries are difficult to remove, the operator of the scooter cannot easily interchange depleted batteries with charged batteries to enable use of the scooter while batteries are being charged.

[0008] In view of the drawbacks inherent in the available art, it would be a significant advancement in the art to provide a scooter drive device that is easy to attach and detach from a scooter so that the scooter may be used either with or without the drive device. It would also be an advancement in the art to provide a scooter drive device that may be attached to scooters of different sizes and positioned above the front wheel of the scooter so that the drive device is not damaged if the scooter contacts an object in the drive path.

[0009] The prior art is thus characterized by several disadvantages that are addressed by the present invention. The present invention minimizes, and in some aspects eliminates, the failures, and other problems of the prior art, by utilizing the methods and structural features described herein.

[0010] The features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the invention without undue experimentation. The features and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the subsequent detailed description presented in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0012] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a scooter and motor device detached therefrom in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a scooter and a motor device attached thereto in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the motor device and motor support in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

[0015] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the motor support on a scooter;

[0016] FIG. 5 is a break-away perspective view of the motor device being installed on the scooter;

[0017] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the rear side of the housing;

[0018] FIG. 7 is a rear view of the motor device;

[0019] FIG. 8 is a rear perspective view of the motor support;

[0020] FIG. 9 is a plan view of the motor support and mounting bracket attached to a section of a scooter post;

[0021] FIG. 10 is a break-away perspective view of a motor support being attached to a scooter;

[0022] FIG. 11 is a bottom view of a motor support; and

[0023] FIG. 12 is a break-away side view of one embodiment of a locking mechanism used to lock the motor device on the scooter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0024] For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles in accordance with the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Any alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated herein, and any additional applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated herein, which would normally occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention claimed.

[0025] It must be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms "a," "an," and "the" include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Also, as used herein, "comprising," "including," "containing," "characterized by," and grammatical equivalents thereof are inclusive or open-ended terms that do not exclude additional, unrecited elements or method steps.

[0026] As used herein, "consisting of" and grammatical equivalents thereof exclude any element, step, or ingredient not specified in the claim.

[0027] As used herein, "consisting essentially of" and grammatical equivalents thereof limit the scope of a claim to the specified materials or steps and those that do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristic or characteristics of the claimed invention.

[0028] Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, perspective views of a scooter and motor device assembly, indicated generally at 10, are shown in accordance with the principles of the present invention. The assembly 10 may include a motor support 12, shown in FIG. 1, secured to the front of a scooter 14. The motor support 12 may include a front face 12a and a rear face 12b. The front face 12a may include either planar portion or a rounded portion or some other suitable shape, and in any such case the front face 12a defines an imaginary frontal line 12c described as follows: If the front face 12a is planar, the frontal line 12c is an extension of the front face 12a; if the front face 12a is symmetrically rounded, the frontal line 12c is tangential to a center portion of said symmetrically rounded front face.

[0029] A friction-drive motor device 16 may be detachably mounted to the motor support 12, by a manually operable engagement/release arm 18. The motor device 16 may be configured and arranged such that when it is attached to the motor support 12 for operation, a friction wheel or drive wheel 20 (as best shown in FIG. 7) may be disposed in contact with a front wheel 22 of the scooter 14. A control switch 24 may be attached to handle bars 26 of the scooter 14, and the switch 24 may be electrically connected to the motor device 16. It will be appreciated that the front wheel 22 includes an axis of rotation 22a.

[0030] The assembly is very convenient and user friendly. The motor support 12 may remain attached to the scooter 14 and does not affect the normal operation of the scooter 14. When a user desires to motorize the scooter, the user may simply attach the motor device 16 to the motor support 12 by sliding the motor device 16 in place and securing it by pressing the arm 18 into the locked position, as discussed in greater detail below. A cord 80 may then be plugged into the switch 24, as shown in FIG. 2. The user then simply mounts the scooter 14, engages the switch 24 and speeds away. If the user thereafter desires to do "scooter tricks" or other feats in which the bulkiness of the motor device 16 would interfere, the user may simply operate the arm 18 to remove the motor device 16 from motor support 12.

[0031] One feature of the present invention is that the ease in which the motor device 16 is attached and detached from the scooter 14 enables the user to utilize multiple motor devices 16 with the scooter 14. The user may simply detach the motor device 16 from the scooter 14 to recharge the batteries, and attach a replacement motor device 16 to the scooter 14 so that the scooter 14 may be used while the batteries in the detached motor device are being recharged. This feature is not available in the prior art scooters.

[0032] The motor device 16 will now be described in more detail with reference to FIG. 3, which shows an exploded prospective view of one embodiment of the motor device 16 and motor support 12 in accordance with the principles of the present invention. The motor device 16 may include a chassis or housing 28 for housing a power unit or battery pack 30. The battery pack 30 may include a single battery or a grouping of batteries connected together. The battery pack 30 may include a rechargeable sealed lead, nicad, or nickel metal hydride battery for example, or any other type of battery known to those skilled in the art. The battery pack 30 may include two six volt, eight amp batteries forged into one twelve volt unit, or a single twelve volt battery, for example. It will be appreciated that batteries of different types, voltages, and amperages may be used within the scope of the present invention.

[0033] The battery pack 30 may be configured such that in a low speed setting, electricity may be drawn from just one of the batteries, whereas in a high speed setting, electricity may be drawn from more than one battery. The low speed setting may allow the motor device 16 to draw electricity out of one battery until the electricity is depleted, then automatically begin drawing electricity from another battery. The motor device 16 may be switched from the low speed setting to the high speed setting by activating a voltage switch 74. This dual mode/voltage system allows more efficient use of electrical power. However, it will be appreciated that the motor device 16 may be also have other modes of operation, such as intermediate speeds or a variable speed mode, within the scope of the present invention. The variable speed mode may be operated using a variable speed switch (not shown) such as a switch that includes a potentiometer, for example, to adjust the amount of power supplied by the motor device 16. Moreover, the principles of the present invention may also be used with power units other than batteries, such as gas operated motors for example.

[0034] The motor device 16 may also include various components such as those shown for illustrative purposes in FIG. 3 including an electric motor 32, a motor cover 34, and a front cover 36 to house and protect the battery pack 30 and the electric motor 32. The front cover 36 may have vents 37 to allow air to circulate within the housing 28 for cooling and ventilation purposes. The motor device 16 may also include components such as gears 56, drive wheel shafts 58, clutch bearings 60, bearings 62, wheels 64, and control circuit boards 66. The motor device 16 may be configured such that the electric motor 32 may be positioned in substantial upward alignment with the drive wheel 20, rather than laterally offset with the drive wheel 20 so that the width of the motor device 16 may be reduced. Other components that may be included in the motor device 16 include devices for controlling the electronics of the motor device 16 such as circuit breakers 68, relays 70, on-off switches 72, and voltage switches 74 for example. It will be appreciated that various other mechanical or electrical devices may also be included as part of the motor device 16 within the scope of the present invention.

[0035] The clutch bearing 60 may be attached to the drive wheel 20 so as to allow the drive wheel 20 to be disengaged from the motor 32. This allows the drive wheel 20 to spin freely without a force being exerted by the motor 32. For example, if the driver of the scooter 14 desires to coast down a hill or push the scooter 14 with the motor 32 turned off, engagement of the drive wheel 20 with the motor 32 may serve as a brake since the drive wheel 20 may be turning faster than the motor 32. Thus, the control switch 24 may be operated to activate the clutch bearing 60 to disengage the drive wheel 20 from the motor 32 so that the drive wheel 20 can spin without resistance from the motor 32.

[0036] The drive wheel 20 may be configured to frictionally engage the front wheel 22 of the scooter 14. The drive wheel 20 may have ridges 21, shown most clearly in FIGS. 3 and 7, to assist in gripping the front wheel 22. The ridges 21 may be formed on an exterior surface of the drive wheel 20 and may be oriented parallel to an axis of the drive wheel 20. In one embodiment of the present invention, the drive wheel 20 may have a diameter of at least one half inch, such as approximately one inch. The drive wheel 20 may have ridges 21 configured on the surface of the drive wheel 20 such that more than approximately thirty ridges 21 extend along the length of the drive wheel 20. Other embodiments of the drive wheel 20 may be configured to have more than approximately fifty ridges 21, or more than approximately seventy-five ridges 21, for example. It will be appreciated that the diameter of the drive wheel 20 and the number of ridges 21 may be configured to provide suitable gripping and driving characteristics, and that drive wheels 20 having other diameters and numbers of ridges 21 may be used within the scope of the present invention. The drive wheel 20 may also be configured to have a diameter ratio with respect to the front wheel 22 of the scooter 14 of at least approximately 0.1, such as approximately 0.25, for example. Accordingly, a drive wheel 20 having a diameter of one inch, and a front wheel 22 having a diameter of approximately four inches, would have a diameter ratio of approximately 0.25.

[0037] The control circuit board 66 may be used to control features of the electric motor 32 such a "push start" feature. For example, the circuit board 66 may be programmed to require the front wheel 22 of the scooter 14 be moving at a certain speed before the electric motor 32 may be engaged. This may allow the motor 32 to operate more efficiently and reduce wear and damage to the motor 32.

[0038] The motor device 16 may also include an attachment lever, also referred to as a lever cam 38 on each side of the arm 18. The lever cam 38 may form part of an attachment means for attaching the motor device 16 to the scooter 14. The lever cam 38 may be fixedly attached to the arm 18 through a shaft 52 such that the lever cam 38 rotates with the arm 18 about the shaft 52. The lever cam 38 may also have a tab 39 configured to be received within the motor support 12 to attach the motor device 16 to the motor support 12. A spring bracket 40 may also be attached to the shaft 52 and to a biasing member or spring 42 so that the motor device 16 may be biased into engagement with the scooter front wheel 22 as discussed more fully below.

[0039] A switch housing 76 may be provided for supporting the control switch lever 24, and for attaching the control switch lever 24 to the scooter handle bars 26 as shown in FIGS. 1-3. The switch housing 76 may have a handlebar clamp 77 and/or a post clamp 79 in the form of opposing curved projections. The handlebar clamp 77 and the post clamp 79 may be formed of a resilient material adapted to deform elastically. This allows the handlebar clamp 77 to receive the handlebar between the opposing curved projections, and the post clamp 79 to similarly receive the post 15. Thus the switch housing 76 may be snapped into position on the scooter 14. It will be appreciated that the switch housing 76 may be configured to fit on handlebars 26 and posts 15 of different dimensions due to the elasticity of the handlebar clamp 77 and the post clamp 79. Tape or other shimming mechanism may be used to increase the dimension of the handlebar 26 or post 15 in the event the handlebars 26 or posts 15 are too small. Accordingly, the switch housing 76 may be adapted to fit on scooters 14 having handlebars 26 or posts 15 of various different dimensions. It will be appreciated that other attachment mechanisms, such as fasteners or straps for example, may be used to attach the switch lever 24 to the handle bars 26 within the scope of the present invention.

[0040] A switch trigger 78, as shown in FIG. 3, may also be supported within the switch housing 76 to be operated by the switch lever 24. The switch trigger 78 may be attached to a cord 80 and connected to the housing 28 through a jack 82 and a plug 84. In one embodiment of the present invention, the plug 84 may be positioned on the housing 28. However, it will be appreciated that the cord 80 may have the jack 82 and plug 84 located in a middle portion of the cord 80, a distance spaced apart from the housing 28 to allow the cord 80 to be separated. This may improve safety for a rider and reduce damage to the system 10 in the event the cord 80 strikes an object during operation of the scooter 14, in that the jack 82 and plug 84 are releasably connected to each other to enable them to release response to the force of the object striking the cord. A further advantage of this feature is that the jack 82 and plug 84 detach if the motor device 16 detaches and falls from the scooter 14, thereby preventing the falling motor device 16 from damagably yanking the cord 80 from the control switch 24 or pulling the switch 24 from the handle bars 26. It will also be appreciated, that other types of switches and connecting devices may be used to operate the motor device 16 within the scope of the present invention. Moreover, a wireless operating system may also be used to operate the motor device 16 if so desired.

[0041] The front cover 36 may be hingedly attached to the housing 28 near the bottom, and the top portion of the front cover 36 may include a latch 86. In one embodiment, the latch 86 may be a resilient member fixed to the front cover 36 and having a catch 88 that may be received in a keeper 90 in the housing 28. The keeper 90 may be in the form of an opening for example, having a sidewall that may be configured to abut with the catch 88 to prevent opening of the front cover 36. The catch 88 may be depressed causing the latch 86 to deflect such that the catch 88 may be removed from the keeper 90 and the front cover 36 may then be opened. It will be appreciated that the latch 86 and keeper 90 may be formed in various different configurations within the scope of the present invention. The front cover 36 and latch 86 of the present invention provide advantages over other prior art devices in that the battery pack 30 may be easily accessed without undertaking the laborious task of loosening bolts or screws. Accordingly, the battery pack 30 may be easily removed for maintenance or recharging, if desired, without the use of tools such as screw drivers or wrenches.

[0042] The motor support 12 may include a mounting bracket 44 which may be attached to a post 15 of the scooter 14 using fasteners 46 as shown most clearly in FIG. 4. The bracket 44 may have a curved or substantially "V" shaped interior surface 45, as shown in FIG. 9, such that posts 15 of different sizes may fit within the mounting bracket 44 in a stable manner without appearing cumbersome. The motor support 12 may also have a complementary curved or substantially "V" shaped interior surface 47. Thus, the motor support 12 and mounting bracket 44 may be configured to contact the post 15 at multiple contact points 51 to provide a stable fit with posts 15 of different sizes. As shown in the embodiment of FIG. 9, four contact points 51 may be established. Two of the contact points 51 may be positioned between the motor support 12 and the post 15, and the other two contact points 51 may be positioned between the mounting bracket 44 and the post 15. It will be appreciated that posts 15 having a smaller diameter may contact the mounting bracket 44 and the motor support 12 at contact points 51 closer to a bottom of the "V" shaped surface, whereas posts 15 having a larger diameter may contact the mounting bracket 44 and the motor support 12 at contact points 51 positioned closer to the top of the "V" shaped surface. It will be further appreciated that the bracket 44 and motor support 12 may have other contacting shapes within the scope of the present invention.

[0043] The motor support 12 may also be configured such that a single mounting bracket 44 may be used to firmly attach the motor support 12 to the post 15 of the scooter 14 at a single connectivity area, or multiple mounting brackets 44 may be used within the scope of the present invention.

[0044] Additionally, the motor support 12 may include a mounting slot 48 configured to receive the tab 39 of the lever cam 38. The mounting slot 48 may be defined in part by an abutment wall 49 that engages with the tab 39 when the motor device 16 is installed to prevent the motor device 16 from moving forward, away from the scooter 14. The motor support 12 may also include pegs or projections 50 for inserting in grooves 92 (see FIG. 6) of the housing 28 to provide additional lateral support of the motor device 16 on the motor support 12.

[0045] The motor support 12 may be configured to be relatively thin and non-obtrusive so it can be substantially permanently attached to the scooter 14 without limiting use of the scooter 14 when the motor device 16 is not attached. Thus, once the motor support 12 is attached to the scooter 14, it need not be removed and re-installed each time the motor device 16 is removed and re-installed.

[0046] The motor support 12 may be aligned when it is installed as shown most clearly in FIG. 10. The bottom of the motor support 12 may include fork slots 53 formed in a support base 59 for receiving a front fork 55 of the scooter 14. The fork slots are defined by an end edge 53a and opposing side edges 53b, which edges may comprise orthogonal edges forming a square-shaped slot end. The front fork 55 includes two yoked prongs as shown, the fork being separate from the post 15. The fork-slots 53 may be dimensioned to receive forks 55 of most scooters 14 such that the motor support 12 may be properly oriented on the post 15. An additional option is that the slots 53 may be configured and arranged to receive the prongs of the front fork 55 to thereby position the motor support 12 such that the frontal line 12c of the front face 12a of said motor support 12 is parallel to the axis of rotation 22a of the wheel 22 of the scooter 14. It will be appreciated that the scooter 14 is one type of transport, and may be referred to herein as a transport. The term "transport" as used herein shall be construed broadly to include scooters or other user operable transports.

[0047] The motor support 12 may be stabilized against vertical movement on the post 15 by the support base 59 and a fork support 57 which may be positioned near the bottom of the motor support 12 as shown most clearly in FIG. 8. The fork support 57 may be positioned above a top portion of fork 55, and the support base 59 may be positioned beneath the top portion of the fork 55 so that vertical movement of the motor support 12 may be prevented by the fork 55. A window 63 or opening may be formed in the motor support 12 so that the post 15 may be more easily viewed during installation of the motor support 12 to facilitate positioning the motor support 12 with respect to the post 15. Also, the window 63 may be configured such that projections or strap rings on the post 15 may be received in the window 63.

[0048] In the event a particular model of scooter 14 has atypical forks 55 that are dimensioned too wide, narrow, or thick to fit within the fork slots 53, the motor support 12 may be supported on top of the fork 55 by the support base 59. Alignment of the motor support 12 may be accomplished by contacting the protruding ledges 61, as best shown in FIG. 8, on a front edge of the top of the fork 55. The motor support 12 may also include knobs 65, as best shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 to facilitate alignment of the motor support 12 with the fork 55. It will be appreciated that the knobs 65 may be formed in various different shapes, sizes and configurations within the scope of the present invention, for contacting a front edge of the top of the fork 55 for additional stability. Accordingly, the motor support 12 may be adapted to be quickly installed on scooters 14 having various different sizes and configurations. Moreover, the motor support 12 may be configured to be easily aligned so that the motor device 16 can properly contact the front wheel 22.

[0049] An advantage of the present invention is provided in that the motor device 16 is capable of being attached to, and detached from, the motor support 12 easily and still provide a proper fit between the scooter front wheel 22 and the drive wheel 20. Furthermore, as the front wheel 22 wears, the present invention still allows a proper automatic fit between the front wheel 22 and the drive wheel 20.

[0050] Attachment of the motor device 16 to the motor support 12 on the scooter 14 will now be described with reference to FIGS. 3-6. The motor device 16 may be brought into contact with the projections 50 at the bottom of the motor support 12. The projections 50 fit into grooves 92 in the housing 28, as shown in FIG. 6, such that the housing 28 may be allowed to move along a movement path defined by the grooves 92. The grooves 92 may extend in a linear, up and down direction as the motor device 16 is positioned on the scooter 14 and the scooter 14 is oriented in an upright position. Accordingly, the movement path may be oriented in a substantially vertical direction with respect to the scooter 14 as the projections 50 slide within the grooves 92. However, the projections 50 may be confined within the grooves 92 to prevent movement of the housing 28 in a lateral direction with respect to the scooter 14.

[0051] The lever cams 38, which may be attached to the arm 18, may then be placed into the mounting slots 48 of the motor support 12, as best shown in FIG. 5. As the arm 18 is rotated downwardly, the lever cams 38 rotate to draw the housing 28 into contact with the motor support 12 to fasten the motor device 16 to the scooter 14.

[0052] The arm 18 and the lever cams 38 may be attached to the housing 28 by the shaft 52 on the lever cams 38 passing through oblong openings 54 in the housing 28. This allows the housing 28 to move vertically with respect to the arm 18 and the lever cams 38, since the oblong openings 54 create a vertical path within which the shaft 52 may move. The arm 18, the lever cams 38, the shafts 52 and the spring brackets 40 may be attached together and move together as a unit with respect to the housing 28 and the front cover 36. As the lever cams 38 are locked into the mounting slot 48 of the motor support 12, the arm 18, the lever cams 38, the shafts 52 and the spring brackets 40 may remain fixed with respect to the scooter 14. However, the remainder of the components of the motor device 16, including the housing 28 and the front cover 36, may be allowed to move with respect to the scooter 14 in an up and down direction.

[0053] The springs 42 may be connected to the housing 28 and to the spring bracket 40, as shown most clearly in FIG. 5. The springs 42 bias movement of the housing 28 with respect to the motor support 12 in a downward direction to force the friction wheel 20 into contact with the front wheel 22 when the motor device 16 is installed on the motor support 12. This feature of the present invention allows the motor device 16 to be attached to scooters 14 having different dimensions and having different sized front wheels 22. Moreover, as the front wheel 22 wears and becomes smaller, the springs 42 allow the position of the motor device 16 to be automatically adjusted to properly fit against the front wheel 22. The spring bracket 40 may have an adjustable connection between the bracket 40 and the springs 42. For example, a plurality of openings 41 may be positioned on the bracket 40 for receiving the springs 42 at different locations. This will allow the tension of the springs 42 to be adjusted so that the proper tension can be achieved despite different sized scooters 14, or front wheels 22.

[0054] The arm 18 may be configured to attach and release the motor device 16 by simple rotational movement of the arm 18 through less than 180 degrees. In one embodiment of the present invention, the arm 18 may be attached to two oblong openings 54 on opposing sides of the back side of the housing 28, or the side of the housing 28 configured to face the scooter 14. The arm 18 may extend from one oblong opening 54 around the front cover 36, which forms a side configured to face away from the scooter 14, to the other oblong opening 54 on the opposite side of the housing 28. Accordingly, the arm 18 may form a loop or handle that may be grasped to facilitate handling of the motor device 16. However, it will be appreciated that the arm 18 may have various different configurations, such as a lever on only one side of the housing 28 for example, within the scope of the present invention.

[0055] The arm 18 may also achieve an over-center or buckle type connection such that the arm 18 may be biased to engage with the front cover 36 when the motor device 16 is attached to the scooter 14. This helps secure the motor device 16 in place by preventing the arm 18 from inadvertently being raised and being disengaged from the scooter 14 if the scooter 14 hits a bump for example. Moreover, the motor device 16 may be equipped with a locking mechanism for locking the arm, 18 in a desired position. For example, a resilient protrusion 94, as best shown in FIGS. 7 and 12, may be provided to engage the lever cam 38 to hold the arm 18 in a locked position. The protrusion 94 may be integrally formed as part of the housing 28, or may be formed of a resilient material having an elastic memory attached to the housing 28. In one embodiment, the lever cam 38 may be released from the protrusion 94 by lifting on the arm 18 and utilizing the leverage created by the arm 18 to force the lever cam 38 in the direction of arrow 95 to unlock the arm 18 from the protrusion 94, whereas the forces caused by use of the scooter 14 would not cause a large enough force to release the arm 18. In another embodiment, the protrusion 94 may include a tab or button that may be depressed to deflect the protrusion 94 in the direction of arrow 96 to release the lever cam 38 so that the motor device 16 can be removed from the scooter 14. Likewise, other locking mechanisms such as straps or braces may be used to hold the arm 18 in a desired position, and any such mechanism for locking the arm 18 are considered to be within the scope of the present invention.

[0056] The motor device 16 can be removed from the scooter 14 by simply lifting up on the arm 18 to disengage the tab 39 of the lever cam 38 from the mounting slot 48, and lifting up on the motor device 16 to slide the projections 50 out of the vertical grooves 92 in the housing 28.

[0057] Those skilled in the relevant art will understand that the principles of the present invention may be used with other types of vehicles in addition to scooters. For example, transports such as bicycles, tricycles, carts, or other types of vehicles having any number of wheels may be used within the scope of the present invention.

[0058] It will be appreciated that the structure and apparatus disclosed herein is merely one example of an attachment means for attaching a housing to a transport, and it should be appreciated that any structure, apparatus or system for attaching a housing to a transport which performs functions the same as, or equivalent to, those disclosed herein are intended to fall within the scope of a means for attaching a housing to a transport, including those structures, apparatus or systems for attaching a housing to a transport which are presently known, or which may become available in the future. Anything which functions the same as, or equivalently to, a means for attaching a housing to a transport falls within the scope of this element.

[0059] In accordance with the features and combinations described above, a method of operating a transport with a motor device comprises the steps of:

[0060] (a) joining a housing of the motor device with the transport such that the housing is allowed to move along a movement path with respect to the transport;

[0061] (b) rotating an arm to attach the motor device to the transport;

[0062] (c) allowing the housing to move along the movement path while the arm is fixed to the transport;

[0063] (d) powering the transport with the motor device;

[0064] (e) rotating the arm to detach the motor device from the transport;

[0065] (f) operating the transport without the motor device;

[0066] (g) recharging the motor device; and

[0067] (h) attaching a second motor device to the transport.

[0068] Those having ordinary skill in the relevant art will appreciate the advantages provide by the features of the present invention. For example, it is a feature of the present invention to provide a scooter drive device that is easy to attach and detach from a scooter so that the scooter may be used either with or without the drive device. It is another feature of the present invention to provide a scooter drive device that may be attached to scooters of different sizes and positioned above the front wheel of the scooter so that the drive device is not damaged if the scooter contacts an object in the drive path. It is a further feature of the present invention to provide a scooter drive device that can be interchanged so that one drive device may be recharged while another drive device is used to power the scooter.

[0069] It is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are only illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and the appended claims are intended to cover such modifications and arrangements. Thus, while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and described above with particularity and detail, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein.

* * * * *

File A Patent Application

  • Protect your idea -- Don't let someone else file first. Learn more.

  • 3 Easy Steps -- Complete Form, application Review, and File. See our process.

  • Attorney Review -- Have your application reviewed by a Patent Attorney. See what's included.