It seems like electric scooters and other personal electric transport technologies have just appeared overnight. Of course, small personal electric vehicles have been around for some time. It’s just that they weren’t very practical until now. Thanks to small powerful computer chips, powerful new battery technologies and next-generation electric motors it’s now a real option for getting from A to B.
So should you get in on the action? What are the benefits of joining this craze that’s quickly turning into a revolution? Let’s take a closer look at these hi-tech transports.
What’s To Love?
While all electric scooters are not made equal, in general they have plenty of positive attributes that attract people to them. First of all, they aren’t noisy and dirty. Gas-powered scooters pollute, need plenty of maintenance and are overly complex thanks to all the moving parts.
Electric scooters are quiet and usually quite powerful. They are easy to ride and require little to no maintenance. The main component that needs replacement is the battery, which wears out a little with each recharge.
The latest generation of lithium batteries bring such an improvement in power density, that the typical electric scooter will have more than enough range to commute with. Even if the range isn’t enough for both directions of your commute, charging at school, work or the coffee shop means you can get back home too.
These scooters are light, compact and fast enough to get you where you’re going in an urban environment quickly. You don’t have to worry about being sweaty from cycling or walking and traffic is a thing of the past. The electric scooter’s time has certainly come.
Things That Could Be Better
It’s not all plain sailing in electric scooter land though. The mainstream adoption of these transport devices is still something new. Which means that many kinks still have to be ironed out.
The first and most important issue is that there are many electric scooters out there that are not up to standard. Largely thanks to a lack of oversight and regulation. Electric scooters suffered the same battery fire issues as hoverboards and other cheaply-made imports of dubious provenance. Thanks to outlets such as Amazon clamping down on products that don’t have the right safety certification. Unfortunately, it still means there are plenty of dodgy scooters out there. Making buying a used one particularly tricky.
There are also questions around the environmental friendliness of lithium battery production and the pollution risks posed by scooters. A lack of control by scooter rental companies have also driven people to take drastic action to rid the sidewalks of discarded scooter. Another issue are scooter-related injuries which are likely at least in part due to riders who don’t really know what they are doing. While electric scooters are generally a very positive transport development, clearly we have to solve some tricky problems until they reach their true potential.
As wonderful as electric scooters are, they are not toys. These devices are much more powerful than their small size would suggest. They put out a lot of torque and can accelerate rapidly. Think of those Tesla electric cars and how they can keep up with gasoline supercars. Now shrink that relative performance down to a little board under your feet and you can see the issue.
Because these scooters aren’t very intimidating, people tend to ride them without helmets or aren’t cautious enough with the throttle. That ends up causing scooters to slip, slide out under power or go too quickly to stop in time and therefore crash.
There’s plenty you can do to stop yourself from becoming a victim.
Wearing a helmet is highly recommended. It doesn’t take a lot of speed to cause a serious head injury, so this is a safety tip to take seriously!
Don’t ride a scooter if you’ve been drinking. This is the sort of situation where you should call a taxi or an Uber. You can always put your scooter in the trunk.
Be aware of the types of terrain your scooter can ride on. Most electric scooters have small narrow tires and low ground clearance. Sand and other road debris can cause a fall. Likewise, most scooters should not be ridden through water of any kind.
Finally, be respectful of pedestrians and keep your eyes open for other scooter riders!
Rent or Buy?
So should you rent one of the scooters just lying around so many cities in the world or buy you own? Certainly renting is a good way to try the concept out for very little money, but if you see yourself using electric scooters on a frequent basis, it’s worth buying one for yourself. Even mid-range products are going to provide a better experience than rental models. There are many great smart features on more expensive models and in the long run you’ll actually save money if you opt to buy instead of rent.
Either way, there’s little doubt that personal transports such as electric scooters aren’t going anywhere soon. So why not try it for yourself sooner rather than later?