The Possible Future Of E-Scooters & Micro-Mobility!
After four months of riding, I had to return my Ninebot Max G30 e-scooter because it had a catastrophic structural failure (Utube). After a month-long runaround I threatened to send it to the CPSC, and, to report this to Amazon where purchased. They made the wise choice by offering a complete refund if I returned it at their expense. Will they redesign it? Unlikely! So I bought an Emove Cruiser.
The Emove Cruiser lacks one critical feature that's standard on almost all others in this price range; a Smart Battery Management System (Smart BMS). That means you have to babysit it or risk frying it: Moronic! Otherwise, the Emove Cruiser is a superior unit in almost every other way.
The Ninebot Max gets an A for its battery configuration; it's impossible to overcharge it. Also, it has a single cord (there's no charger brick) which keeps everything inside the unit: Smart! And unlike an e-bike that one can just peddle without batteries, these are 100% battery dependent, and so battery management is the most critical part of the tech on these micro-mobility devices.
While researching these devices (throughout the Pandemic), I read from one guy who wrote at fluidfreeride.com ~ Some e-scooters today can go very far, actually further than you need them to. After all, who needs to travel 60 miles on an electric kick scooter? The Emove from Voro Motors will do that. So some of them can achieve very long distances.
The answer to this likely car-dependent person's narrow-minded thinking? There are many people, myself included, that would like to go further than 60 miles in range. But the beefier Emove Cruiser will not go 60 miles in range, under the best of settings, and yet it still has a range of about 15 miles more than what the Ninebot ever achieved. I'm 170# and live in the flat plains of Polk County Iowa.
In fact, the only way for anyone, ever, to take any of these e-scooters seriously, beyond being garage toys, is when their range can be substantially increased. And I'm talking a worst-case scenario of 100 miles in range; something like 100 to 140 miles range, at 25 MPG average speed. Why?
Imagine buying a car (circa 2021) that on a full tank of gasoline only has a range of (say) 70 miles before one must get more gas. Yea, that car would not be taken seriously, and few would buy it, except some who might, if the price was cheap enough; they'd use it as a local range vehicle. Read: How to say goodbye to EV range anxiety!
What most e-scooter designers are currently doing, is a type of self-sabotage; they are so focused on speed for the thrill of it, that they are sentencing these devices to the realm of a dangerous toy, at least for now and into the near future. With greater speed, the following things are 100% going to happen; indeed, they are already happening!
Once a large enough number of people get seriously injured or killed on them, the Feds will have no choice but to regulate the Industry, at least in the States. The metaphorical brakes will be placed upon them, and they will be literally speed-governed. Read: E-scooter rules still varied – and changing – across Europe.
Because designers are focusing on making ever-faster stand-up e-scooters, they will eventually be classified as motor vehicles, and require all the same things that motorcycles now require: A drivers license, insurance, tags, taxes, possible tickets, and so on. They will no longer be the same as a bicycle or e-bike. Then they will lose their appeal. One might as well just buy a (gas or) electric motorcycle.
Right now, bicycle groups (and I'm a bicyclist as well) are now vocally opposing, allowing e-scooters on designated bike trails, simply because they go too fast, imposing a risk to both walkers, kids, and bicyclists. And to be honest, it's mostly a few young men who are blazing these bike trials at 40+ miles per hour. It freaks everyone out; even me when I'm cycling there, so I get it!
However, I do not want to lose my current access to these designated trails on my e-scooter, because they are my main roads. By choice, I do not own a car. I made this decision in 2005 for environmental reasons; I sold my last vehicle that year and have not owned one since; I've been on US State IDs ever since. I am hopeful that by being the change I want to see in the world, others will follow that example. I can bicycle for short distances, but an e-scooter is a mobility assistant to me and others my age.
Born in 1958, I will likely not be around when the ecological crap show hits the fan, starting in a few decades from now. So why did I make this decision? For future generations; to be a model to the youth around me. And yet, most of them merely find my lifestyle choices humorous! Still, the truly concerned will take the important time to fully read and understand why, at this informative site:
For any electric scooter to be taken seriously, especially as a replacement to a car, two things must take priority; range is number one, and the second is the durability and dependability of the device itself. Once these are built with serious intention, that reality will reflect itself in the factory warranties, just like it happened with the automobile industry.
For most of my life, all automobile warranties were 1 year, sometimes with 2 years on the main power train only. Today the quality auto makers have a factory 5 year warranty, as opposed to an insurance addendum coverage, which can be purchased for almost anything nowadays. That is because they build them better, and can confidently offer such.
A factory warranty is the open testimony of a manufactures confidence in their own productions; every company must/will claim their brand is the best, so that is expected. But a 1 year warranty on anything is humorous, but it is also telling; it is the manufacturer accepting that they make crap, and thus cannot afford to put their proverbial money where their mouth is.
And once the Automobile Industry and Big Oil in the West, begins to feel threatened by more efficient forms of Micro-Mobility, they will invest heavily in exposing their flaws (including those mentioned herein), as viable replacements to their resource-gluttonous SUVs & trucks: And I'd wager the value of those Industries on that. Simply put, smaller lighter vehicles would not need all the current, carbon-centered and stunningly expensive infrastructure.
But the explanation for why it will not happen, if it does not happen, will be simple; those in the micromobility industry, in the West at least, are more interested in short-term profits, than being agents of change, as a long-term solution to the current ravages of the car-cult. Everyone who reads the page dedicated to the car-cult, knows comprehensively that those ravages go far beyond the 3 billion internal combustion engines, from the smallest to the largest of them, billowing countless megatons of carcinogens into the biosphere.
The greatest advantage of moving away from the huge machines like cars & trucks is also in the stunningly massive infrastructure needed to support them. From roads and bridges to parking lots and structures, and the concrete and asphalt that is now choking the surface of Earth; this is causing a host of secondary problems that now outnumbers the initial car-cult catastrophe itself.
We must reassess how neighborhoods are designed; think of the US West and its wildfires and subsequent mudslides, or urban flooding everywhere. Try imagining an entirely different infrastructural paradigm, without big cars in mind. Start thinking along the lines of what the German innovators at Ono (select English) are envisioning, as one idea among many, for areas already blithed by poorly planned urbanization. Ponder a designed living that is car free; also some of the ideas proposed at City Lab.