The Rise of the Electric Scooter

The design of the scooter, electric or not is fundamentally unsafe for the rider. Adding the weight and speed of batteries exacerbates this issue. Electric bikes will eventually win out and scooter will remain as toys.

1 Like

I feel bad for the people that forgot how to ride a bike for a long time, I was one of those people at one point. These tend to be the same people who hate electric steps. Saw one old guy almost go into a fetal position at the sight of me on a scooter. Americans are addicted to big gas cars. There is something magical about using your body plus lightweight transportation. I tell people they are not living, if they are not riding.

2 Likes

Regarding the hype, they had a huge PR problem that went totally out of hand: There was a leak towards the end of the project and they could not market it as planned. That created a disproportionate level of expectation, all sorts of sci-fi devices were expected. When Dean Kamen went out in Good Morning America in 2001, it was sort of an anti-climax, because people were expecting flying cars, not an engineering product (however sophisticated).

BTW, the super-wide x2 model is not for cities, it is the off-road. The i2 is, which is narrower and designed to pass through standard doors. I can say that is true after 12 years taking it everywhere. Also, since the i2 rotates over its own axis and has a somewhat small footprint, you can enter small spaces like elevators etc. and manouver it.

In Barcelona, in all these 12 years riding a Segway the only reponse I’ve seen from pedestrians is a WOW! If the Segway costed 300 € in 2007, I believe way more people would have purchased it, because at least here it creates admiration, and suggests fun. From the Internet, I believe some people in the US treat it like a nerdy thing and despise it. These people have lost their inner child :).

2 Likes

My son’s neighbor bought two electric scooters for this grandchildren… and they are required by Grandpa to wear bicycle helmets, elbow and knee pads. :wink: But I have seen the grandfather take a spin or two - without any protection.

2 Likes

Yeah, the popularity of a specific model is a huge factor. It helps that the M365 is extremely solid, it is absolutely the Honda Civic of electric scooters! I recommend it without hesitation, at near-$300 it is almost a no-brainer really.

I can pretty much guarantee that will never happen… did you read the link in the blog entry about Elon’s comments on scooters? look for the scooter emoji, it’s the link next to that.

You know, I didn’t think much about this, but riding a scooter has its own pitfalls (small wheels, low to the ground) and does take some learning. I wasn’t worried because I’ve ridden a bunch of kick scooters with my kids, but I think I underestimated how daunting that might be to older people who literally never set foot on a scooter before… and there’s no hesitance to hop on a scooter from someone who has never ridden a scooter before, like there is hesitance to hop on a bike from someone that has never ridden a bike before. Bikes are “hard”, scooters are “easy”.

An absolute newbie scooter rider would have no idea how big an effect a small bump can have on those small wheels, or how twitchy the steering can be! I’m not saying it’s rocket science or anything, but you could certainly get hurt without any scooter experience and immediately diving right into it.

This mirrors the California rule, that particular rule does make sense to me – helmets absolutely required for kids on electric scooters, optional for adults.

3 Likes

I dunno, the price disparity between electric scooters and bikes is alarmingly high. Bikes are easily 2× as much and often way more. If you’re just trying to get from point :a: to point :b:

That is not to say one is inherently better than the other, I think both are cool personally, but there is a lot to be said for “what’s the cheapest thing that works?”

2 Likes

Do you need a license in the US to ride these more powerful scooters?

I have been commuting to work using a human-powered push scooter for 4 years in NYC.

Towards improving the safety of the electric scooter:

  1. Lower the deck height. Having used a human-powered push scooter, it is never a problem braking on a dime. Stepping off is usually the fastest way to avoid collisions. The electric scooter deck height makes that dangerous or impossible.

  2. Bigger wheels. 200mm is the largest I’ve seen. But I’d buy bigger wheels if someone made them.

  3. Weight. A lighter scooter can be stopped much faster than the heavier scooter. I’ve been in several pedestrian collisions with my human-powered scooter and never had any injuries because the scooter was light enough. A collision from a human on a light scooter has as much kinetic force as a failed football tackle.

  4. Speed. 12-15 mph max.

IMHO, a human-powered scooter is an ideal locomotive device for those of use who care to stay fit and arrive speedily at destinations. If you must have a self-propelled device, consider the lessons learned from my experience.

Also, if anyone is interested in building a human-powered push scooter using carbon-fiber composites and shock absorbers- please let me know :slight_smile:

1 Like

No, this isn’t true. There is certainly variability in deck heights, and you’re right that the electrics tend to have higher decks because the batteries are often, but not always, in the deck. Even then it depends on the shape of the battery. And some electric scooters have the battery in the “neck” of the scooter instead!

Provisionally agree, we have the Xootr kick scooters with 180mm wheels and they work great! The M365 actually has even larger wheels at 8.5" or 216mm diameter. So I guess we’re good there?

That Xootr kick scooter I mentioned above is ~10-13 pounds, so we’re a little more than doubling that to get electric. And honestly that’s pretty good in my book! The 27 pounds of the M365 is OK. It would be nice if it was a bit lighter, but that’s at the lower end of the range as you can see here:

I think to get much lighter, we’d need next gen battery tech, beyond Lithium Ion. Which is damn exciting, considering how transformative Lithium Ion has been, I can only imagine what we’d unlock if we got 50% smaller, 50% lighter, 2× more powerful batteries!

I definitely agree that anything over 15mph isn’t necessary and gets dangerous. I do enjoy the briskness of the full 15mph on flat stretches though!

1 Like

No license needed. As long as it looks similar to a stand-up scooter, there are generally only max speed limits. Some places treat them like golf carts, that may be ridden on public streets with speed limits of 35 mph or lower, and your top speed is less than 25 mph. The rule makers are focused on smaller scooters because there are so many of them. If larger scooters become more popular, more regulations are sure to follow.

2 Likes

But then again, it killed one of my favourite youtubers: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/13/tv-presenter-emily-hartridge-dies-in-scooter-crash

the first fatal collision involving an e-scooter in Britain.

Quite unfortunate, happened July 14th 2019. :frowning:

Also

People who use e-scooters need to be aware it is currently illegal [in England] to ride them on the pavement and the road.

Technically it wasn’t legal to ride them there at all?

1 Like

I must disagree with this. You might make the same argument allowing cycling on the sidewalk, or even (though a little bit ridiculously) that motorized vehicles should be allowed to use sidewalks if they’re empty. The problem is that having vehicles zip down sidewalks causes a chilling effect. Faster and heavier vehicles will always win out, not everyone will comply with the gentlemans agreement of slowing down to a walking pace (not every driver adheres to the speed limit either after all), and this means that pedestrians feel less comfortable over time, and will slowly stop walking around.

The solution is simple, just build a fully connected network of cycle infrastructure. Scooters have about the same speed of utility cycling. It’s been known for years that every dollar invested in cycling infrastructure frees up more than a dollar in other budgets. And even without that, for the cost of a single highway intersection you can build a massive amount of cycle paths.

At that point you can let market forces decide if people prefer utility ebikes (upright, panniers for shopping) or electric scooters.

Not really, as bicycles regularly go over 15 miles per hour by design. Scooters don’t. To the extent that scooters do go over that speed, they shouldn’t be on the sidewalk, for sure.

And yet, it’s already happening, all over the USA, scooters (both kick and electric) are being responsibly used on sidewalks at times… and people haven’t stopped walking on sidewalks.

I completely agree it would be great if there were bike lanes everywhere! And when there is a bike lane it should certainly be used by bicycles and scooters alike. But when there are not, and the sidewalks are near empty – it’s crazy to arbitrarily force scooter riders into the street with far more dangerous and heavier bicycles that can travel at 30+ miles per hour, and cars that weigh thousands of pounds and travel up to 70 miles per hour.

Again, nobody’s proposing that electric scooters be used on busy New York City sidewalks. If the sidewalk is nearly empty, and speeds are limited (as they should be), scooters are plenty safe. Here’s a detailed article here that highlights how widely different the regulations are in US states on this:

https://swagtron.com/faq/escooter/are-electric-scooters-allowed-on-the-sidewalk/

Per the above, in Washington DC riding on the sidewalk is prohibited when a bike lane is available which seems like a nice compromise to me.

1 Like

As far as motorcycles we’ve solved the problem of weather. There’s so much gear for every type of weather out there and hacks for cheaper gear.

Past a certain distance feel like electric motorcycles are the real winner.

2 Likes

Anything less than 4 blocks and you’re better off with a foldable electric scooter, than with an electric bike. Set it next to your table, take it up the elevator, go to the bathroom with it, you don’t actually even need to chain it up. This is something an electric bike will never be able to do.

3 Likes

This is true, but you get spoiled by how incredibly portable a kick scooter can be. Electric is not that much bigger and heavier but it is 2x the weight and it does have to be a bit more bulky to accommodate the engine and batteries.

Also @chrsjlrsn cold and rainy weather does not sound like a good time on a motorcycle…

1 Like

There’s a ton of waterproof and heated gear for motorcycles.

Ryan F9 is a great resource for gear guides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTgvAdJ_gf8

1 Like

Or snow - if you’re from where I’m from. :laughing:
For the fair weather though, I have several times thought about getting an electric scooter just to travel the 3/10ths of a mile to my son’s house to visit my 3 granddaughters. (I hate walking up this hill.) But after giving it much thought, I just know all three girls (ages 2, 5 & &) would want to “take it for a spin.” I do need the exercise and the bicycles are better for the girls (exercise). So for the time being, I’m still walking - unless my wife gives me ride up there.

1 Like

I forgot to cover accessories for the Xiaomi Mi M365! So many accessories!

Here’s the ones I tried on mine:

Of these, I like the reflective stickers and the fender support bracket the best. There’s a natural tendency for people to put their foot on the fender, or it gets bumped in transit, and the support works well to protect against that. It also fits very naturally in the design, makes you wonder why it’s not standard equipment.

If you live in a dry climate like me I don’t think the water resistant power switch / battery indicator cover is very useful. The kickstand bumper was mildly useful to make the kickstand a bit easier to nudge with your foot. I had zero issues with the hinge so I’m not sure why the bumpers inside the hinge matter?

I thought about solid rubber tires for best puncture resistance but they look very, very hard to install, add significant weight, and aren’t as comfortable of a ride. So I punted on that – but I did put in some Slime puncture sealant just in case! It works!

One thing the guy in the “one year later” video really liked was a fancy aftermarket cover for the bottom of the battery platform, but I didn’t see much point in cleaning the bottom?

1 Like