E-scooters and their thunderous development
If you haven’t lived in isolation much longer than the officially announced quarantine, you’ve probably seen scooters somewhere on the streets. If you live in one of the larger cities, there’s a good chance you’ve driven one, given the ever-expanding vehicle-sharing services. But besides being a super convenient way to get around in an urban environment, what else do you know about technology?
With this text I will introduce you to the history of scooters not only in our country but also around the world, we will look at the coolest models, their functionalities and finally we will pay attention to the statistics. If you are not a fan of public transport and do not drive a car, but you need to get from point A to point B quickly and easily, the following lines may be intriguing for you. Enjoy reading!
Scooters around the world
Police, couriers and service personnel travel by e-scooters
While scooters are just entering Bulgaria as a means of getting around the city, in many parts of the world they are something without which life is unthinkable for many. In Berlin, they are used by the police, in New York they deliver food with them, and in some other states in the United States, employees of hypermarkets “fly” on two wheels along the alleys, saving hours of working time.
They are so popular in Japan that in 2017, an average of 75,000 scooter orders per week were reported, and some people had to wait months for delivery. However, like anything else, does excessive use not have a negative effect? I will tell you about this later in the article, but first a little story.
The first scooter
The first electric motorcycle traveled 120 km on a single charge
The prototype of today’s electric scooters, oddly enough, dates back to 1895. Then, for the first time, a patent was registered for an individual electric vehicle. According to the schemes, this is more of an electric bicycle, but in any case these devices are the “grandfathers” of modern scooters and from them the development of technology began.
In 1911, the famous American magazine Popular Mechanics published an article about an electric motorcycle capable of 75 miles (120 km) on a single charge and a top speed of 35 mph (about 56 km / h). The exact specifications of the motor or batteries that were used are not clear, but this shows when there is talk of electric transport worldwide.
The advent of the “moped”
The so-called “moped” is due to a 1915 New York scooter.
Only 4 years later, in 1915, the first upright scooter appeared, ie. one that the driver drives in an upright position, not sitting. It has a gasoline engine, but is considered the first scooter from which today’s scooters originate. The first prototype became a reality under the name Motoped, and the improved version is called Autoped.
Produced by the Long Island-based Autoped Company, it became an absolute hit in New York, with even police moving around. Subsequently, the license for the manufacture of mopeds was acquired by the German manufacturer Krupp, and their production continued until 1921.
This was a real technological achievement at the time, and while it was produced in the United States, the Autoped had a 4-stroke engine with a displacement of 155 cc, and the German version had 191 cc. The average power is 1.6 hp, and 10-inch wheels make contact with the road. The steering is completely from the handlebars, by pulling back the brake is activated, and when pushing forward the clutch is “released”.
On one of the handles there is a handle that plays the role of the “accelerator pedal”. The steering column even folds to make the scooter even more practical to store. However, many people complained that this thing was difficult to manage.
Sensational inventions and records
As with any other technology, it takes years of testing, prototyping, breaking records with the prototypes in question, and so on, before the technology finds its place in mass production. Scooters and especially electric scooters are no exception. In 1936, two brothers, who founded Sovovel Electric in Brussels, produced the first electric motorcycles. They did not stop working despite the Nazi occupation, but even that did not help them to impose their products on a more serious scale and to wean consumers off the conventional way of moving.
Decades later, world-renowned chemist Carl Cordesch, who co-invented the 1.5-volt alkaline battery, set a world speed record for an electric motorcycle. Attention! 265 kilometers per hour! Despite the aforementioned invention, Kordesh had a very advanced mindset and always knew that electric vehicles would be necessary. Therefore, he did not stop working on the development of rechargeable batteries, as he has over 120 registered patents.
So, in the ebb and flow of interest in electric personal vehicles, another 30 years passed until Peugeot introduced the first electric scooter in 1996. It traveled 40 kilometers on a single charge, and the power of its electric motor is 3.8 hp. Peugeot Scoot’Elec is a vehicle known in our country as a “moped” or “moped” in other parts of the world. You may have already remembered where this name comes from when reading about Autoped Company and its products, so here’s another word whose origin you can surprise your interlocutors with.
The e-scooter in its current form
Electric scooters in their current form appeared around 2000.
The first electric scooter as we see it on the streets today appeared around 2000. Like many other innovations in the 21st century, this one is also evolving rapidly and less than 20 years later the situation is as I described at the beginning of this text. And if 100 years ago this folding was an unheard of extra, today’s scooters have adjustable suspension, colored “dashboards”, connect to your smartphones and what not. The list can get quite long, so I did a screening. I will take you out of history and teleport you instantly nowadays with the coolest e-scooter models you can buy in 2020.
Top 3 of e-scooters for 2020
Zero 10X has front and rear suspension, plus an option for off-road tires
I like to start with something grabbing, so I will attract your attention with Zero 10X. This is a scooter of the highest class and is the most powerful in the Zero series. There are two electric motors with a total rated power of 2000 W and a peak power of 3200 W. This is enough for a maximum speed of 65 km / h, and as you know, when a vehicle has good acceleration, it must be able to stop. Here, the front and rear hydraulic disc brakes take care of this.
The 24 Ah battery is responsible for a maximum mileage of 110 kilometers, and the time to fully charge is between 9 and 12 hours. In addition to front and rear spring suspension, there is an option for off-road tires. Zero 10X has different driving modes, and can be used Turbo for full power or Eco for more economical driving, which will provide the 110 km mileage.
The downside is that it weighs 35 kg with the batteries, which is not the most comfortable thing to carry, but the very fact that you can fold and carry such a complex vehicle by hand is impressive. In addition, because it is so massive, this scooter allows it to be driven by drivers weighing up to 150 kg. Congratulations!
All these loud numbers come at the respective price, which is on average around BGN 3,500. If you just want something to get you to work, it may not be profitable, but for real scooter maniacs and people who like to stand out, this is something they should have.
The Segway Ninebot is the scooter used by Lime and Bird
The next model we will look at is not so brutal, but it is very popular. In fact, it is the scooter that most companies use for shared vehicles, such as Lime, Bird and others. This is the Ninebot series from Segway, which also has various models, the most popular of which are Ninebot MAX, as well as Ninebot ES2 and ES4. And the reason they are so widely used is that they are in the golden mean of a reasonable price range, convenient features and most importantly – mileage.
Without saying it, you’ll remember that the MAX is the top model in the series, capable of 65km on a single charge. Charging itself will take a maximum of 6 hours and its maximum speed is 30 km / h. Of course, this speed can be achieved in sports mode, which will consume battery power faster than we want, and we must have a perfectly flat driving surface, so 20 km / h is a more realistic speed , which will move with a two-wheeled device of this type. And once you walk through the neighborhood streets and jump on the alley, you can turn on the cruise control function, which maintains a constant speed and drives imperceptibly.
Another nice thing is that you can connect your scooter to your smartphone and through a mobile application to monitor the battery charge, analyze your ride so as to make it more economical, and, of course, lock the scooter, although even so, it’s not a good idea to leave it unattended.
The main difference between the MAX and ES models is the mileage, as in the model of the highest class it is 65 km, in ES4 it is 45, and in ES2 we are talking about 25 km. However, this at a price of less than 1000 BGN is still a good offer, especially considering that there are “neon” lights under the base for stepping, so that you are a real “Fast and Furious” on the scooters.
Segway Ninebot MAX can be yours for about 1500 BGN, which is a small difference in the price for the serious extra mileage you get, but you have to take into account that it is about 7 kg heavier than ES2 – 19 against 12.
The Razor E300S has a removable seat
You say it’s all great, but can’t you imagine a one-hour ride in third leg position? Don’t worry, the next scooter is for you! The Razor E300S has a seat that can be mounted and removed with two screws. It can be done in seconds, and even if the vehicle looks teenage, it allows the driver to weigh up to 100 kg, so it is ideal for adults. In addition, there are wider tires, which means that even in a sitting position you will not feel every stone as the end of the world.
Its maximum speed is 24 km / h, and its mileage is announced by the manufacturer in minutes – 40. This usually means between 10 and 15 km, but with very economical driving can be achieved over 20. Sounds a little, but do not give up , wait to hear the price. In our country Razor E300S is for about 600 leva, which is below the average for the class and for all the features we have listed so far, it is a very good offer.
Convenience or problem?
Having mentioned at the beginning the possible negative effect of scooters, let’s talk a little about that. As you read, did you notice the way things happened 80-100 years ago and the way they are happening now? Then dozens of experiments, prototypes, tests were made and again the new things were difficult to perceive until they were improved. What is happening now? We flood the world with something, and how we will manage it, we think later.
Something similar happened with electric scooters. The fact that Sofia Municipality has given a license to two companies for shared travel to offer scooters for rent in Sofia, without any regulation for their use, is eloquent enough. The existing Road Traffic Act was interpreted in many different ways, which led to strange acts such as a fine for improper crossing by a motorist, until a new law on e-scooters was finally passed. It allows them to be ridden on bike lanes, but at a speed not exceeding 25 km / h, and also on the roads, but you must not be in close proximity to another vehicle.
There is no definition of “close proximity”, which is sometimes a problem, especially on the narrow central streets, where there is nothing but close proximity. The driver must also wear a helmet if he is under 18 years of age. Apparently, the skulls of adults are strong enough to withstand a head-on collision with a bus, without consequences.
A total ban?
In England, it is illegal to ride a standard e-scooter. There is a fatal accident with such
In places like the United Kingdom, things are much more drastic. You are not allowed to ride a scooter on bike lanes and sidewalks, because scooters are motor vehicles, and the above-mentioned are designed for non-motor vehicles, such as bicycles and pedestrians. You can drive them on public roads, but you must first register them, insure them and pay local tax. In addition, the standard scooters are too slow not to impede movement. That’s why you need to “tune” them and they should have a certain minimum power and minimum speed.
The process becomes long and complicated, so the basic idea of making your life easier will be lost. Do you think: “Too strict measures”? Well, maybe that was the only way out, after a lot of noise was made when a famous English presenter died in a scooter accident in the center of London. Also, because e-scooters are regulated by the same law that treats cars, there are serious consequences for drunk driving, including imprisonment. Something that is not talked about at all in some other countries.
Do shared travel companies have a future?
Lime is being withdrawn from major markets due to multimillion-dollar losses
Scooter-sharing companies, meanwhile, are losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year because, while making huge investments in technology, they also don’t seem to have figured out much. For example, vandalism. There are no established safeguards against vandalism and theft, as a result of which such acts are commonplace. In Greece, for example, divers pulled 21 scooters from the seabed near Thessaloniki. In Bulgaria, a man was caught stealing 3 scooters, trying to hide them in the trunk of his car. Yes, he himself did not know what he would do with them, in addition, they are unlocked by software, have GPS tracking and other protective equipment, but even with a caught perpetrator, the company suffers losses.
The companies also pay hefty fines from the municipalities due to the fact that the scooters are “parked” in quite inappropriate places. You will say “where to park them, as in most areas there are no designated places for this.” And you will be right. But service providers do not always give the necessary time to the respective municipalities. In Santa Monica, Bird started its business without a license.
Whether it wasn’t because there were no laws for this type of transportation in California at the time, it didn’t matter, but complaints about blocked sidewalks and discarded broken scooters began to rain immediately, resulting in a $ 300,000 fine to the company. Many scooters were found with missing batteries. Their careless operation leads to an average life of a scooter of about 3 months, as well as “thick” figures for daily repairs. Such disturbances resulted in an annual loss of $ 100 million for Lime, prompting the company to withdraw its services from dozens of cities around the world, including major markets in the United States and South America.
Maybe we, ordinary consumers, should not be interested in this at all, because being able to move easily and quickly around the city for 30 stotinki per minute is a great option, especially during busy hours of the day, when the usual 10-minute trip with a car can turn into a 2-hour hell. The European Union is already making progress with the collection of data from the Member States and is about to issue regulations on the use and regulation of transport with individual electric vehicles. So there is someone to think about these issues, albeit with a slight delay.
There is still a lot of information on the subject, but I do not want to leave you with the impression that I am saying something bad about technology. It is “green”, I move comfortably and quickly without polluting the air. Is not expensive. What more could a consumer want in the 21st century? That is why I support the development of these ideas with both hands, but I urge you to beware. Myself and others. In other words, appreciate and take advantage of all the grace that the most technological age offers us. But responsibly!