In the early days of commercial air travel people used those big trunks for their luggage, the ones that it took two people to carry. Then came the one-handle suitcase. Then the suitcase with wheels. And now comes the next step in of the evolutionary process: Live Luggage, a suitcase with power assisted wheels.
Live Luggage’s PA (power assisted) Series consists of wheeled suitcase with a built-in miniature electric motor.
When we first heard of Live Luggage we wondered what would happen if a suitcase ever got away from its owner. Would a Live Luggage suitcase go rogue and wheel itself randomly around an airport? We also expected the experience of pulling one of these power assisted bags to be similar to pulling on a motorized lawn mower—loud and clumsy and more hindrance than help when going down an incline. Then we tried out Live Luggage. And the reality of it proved much different, and much better, than that.
First, the Live Luggage electric motor is extremely quiet. Your fellow travelers will not know your luggage is power assisted from the sound it makes.
Second, the electric motor operates on a smart torque system similar to that used on a Segway. The motor powers the wheels in proportion to the pressure the user applies to the handle—pull on the handle harder and the motor sends more power to the wheels. Release the handle and the motor stops completely. Live Luggage’s smart torque system also senses when you are on a hill and will send more or less power to the wheels to compensate.
So no matter what speed you are walking at, and no matter at what incline (provided it isn’t greater than 35%), and the effort required to pull your luggage remains constant. The motor will steadily push 85% of the weight of the bag; if your luggage weights 35 pounds (16kg) it will feel like it only weighs 5 pounds (2.2kg) to you!
What’s the catch? A single Live Luggage battery provides enough power to cover 1 to 3 miles (2 to 5km) depending on the weight and walking conditions. For long trips you may need a second battery. (Fortunately, when the power runs out you can pull the Live Luggage suitcase like any other wheeled bag). Also, the Live Luggage suitcase weighs more than a comparable non-motorized one—about 6.5 pounds (3kg) more. That’s not an issue when the motor is helping propel your bag forward but it is when you are trying to lift it.
The cost of Live Luggage has dropped considerably in the last year—your own power assisted bag will now set you back around $580. That includes the use of the Live Luggage ID system. Each bag has a laser etched number connected to an online database. If the airline loses your bag and some one finds it they can go to the Live Luggage website and you’ll be notified of your bag’s location by an email and text message.
Live Luggage will help you find your suitcase. Live Luggage will help you pull your suitcase. What more could the frequent traveler want?