The Future of Urban Transport
We are on verge of revolution when it comes to personal transport. The big cities are “stuffed” with people, the air is getting stuffy, and unless we want to spend our lives stuck in traffic, we have to find another way of transportation. The automotive manufactures are turning to finding alternative sources of energy, producing more efficient, lighter and less expensive batteries, and even though the industry is progressing rapidly, we are still far from electric cars being ubiquitously available. Till that happens we still have our bikes, car sharing and public transport. But what people really want is a way to move themselves from one destination to another and keep the comfort, freedom and flexibility that owning a car offers.
The electric scooters are the perfect answer to the trend of miniaturization, electrification, and personalization of urban transport. In big cities in Asia, for example, where the streets are overcrowded and there is almost no underground public transport, scooters dominate road traffic. Cars are just too big and cost too much, but offer little benefits. People that live in urban areas aren’t that keen on owning a car, they are in a search for a way of transport that’s convenient, cost effective and clean.
Problem of commuting in urban areas
Most of us spend almost an hour a day just to get to and from our workplace. And as most commuters travel by car, at the same time of day, we get rush hours, traffic jams and road rage. In recent years, as a result of growing urbanization, continuously rising fuel costs and traffic congestion, many people are moving to alternative forms of transportation.One of the more eco-friendly ways of commuting is the public transit. While it can be tedious in some ways, it is an excellent way to avoid traffic and road rage, and steal some time to read e-mails, catch up with your assignments, or just scroll through your social media. Most big cities have an affordable and reliable public transport system and when you compare costs of owning a car and driving it to work (fuel, parking, insurance, regular servicing, repairs…) to buying a train ticket, it is clear that commuting by public transport is much cheaper as well.
But traveling by public transportation creates a new issue, known as the “last mile” problem. It’s the difficulty of traveling the final stretch from the metro station to your destination. Same goes for the “first mile”, the distance between your home and the station. These in-between distances are too long to walk efficiently and too short to justify taking a car. Light Electric Vehicles, or LEV, seems to be the perfect answer to this challenges of the urban lifestyle. They are versatile, some of them are very lightweight and portable, and of course, they are eco-friendly.
Light Electric Vehicles are the next generation of personal mobility
Light electric vehicle is defined as battery, fuel cell, or hybrid-powered, 2 or 3 wheel vehicle generally weighing less than 200 pounds. An electric vehicle is one that uses an electric motor instead of an engine, and batteries instead of a fuel tank and gasoline. They come in different shapes and sizes: from small, toy-like self-balancing scooters to full-size electric motorcycles and electric cars. Since electric cars are out of reach for most consumers, we’ve focused our attention to the world of electric two-wheelers.
Electric scooter is the term that can be used to describe a wide range of vehicles: from electrified kick scooter, to Vespa-like electric moped. While apparently no one thinks they are cool (or they are just afraid to admit), they have proven to be excellent way of commuting to work, or going to school, and especially as a last mile solution. The stand-up rides are fun and take you back to your childhood days, while electric scooters with seat offer more comfort. In the sea of different designs there is no way you won’t be able to find one that you like.
Electric bikes (electric bicycles)
Bicycles are one of the best commuting vehicles currently available, and with the improvements in the electric motor and battery technology the electric bike industry is blooming. The idea behind the electric bike is that you should be able to pedal it just like a regular bicycle, but if you need an assistance on steep hills or when you get tired, the electric motor kicks in and helps you out. The only downside is that they can be rather expensive.
Even the hard-core bikers are getting used to the idea that their next ride will need a plug. The designs of electric motorcycles are pretty impressive and they look just like their gasoline burning cousins. There is not a huge market for e-motorcycles, but as the battery technology improves, we hope to see more of these electric beasts on the roads.
A child of Segway technology, funny little thing called hoverboard, has turned into a huge trend. After a first generation fiasco with many safety complaints, self-balancing scooters have returned stronger than ever and now they are all over social media, streets and parks. They are more of a fun toy, than a viable electric vehicle; they are built for fairly smooth terrain, and each little bump can throw you off balance. But they are sure fun to ride!
Electrify your daily commute
If you live within a few miles of your workplace, and it’s just a little too far to walk, the electric bike or scooter is the perfect solution for you. By getting an e-scooter, you are taking a car of the road, you are reducing your carbon footprint, and not only helping your city, but also getting a chance at getting to know it a little bit better. With the top speed about 20mph, and range between 15 miles and 25 miles the electric scooter can replace car, bus or train ride on all those short distance commutes.
Electric scooters are simple to ride, and the learning curve is relatively easy, even for someone who has never ridden a two-wheeler before. No insurance, registration or license plates are required for most models, though it’s best to check regulations at your local DMV department. Wearing safety equipment like helmet is not only strongly recommended, but also required by law.
Why do we need an alternative way of transport?
Our current transportation system is based primarily on the combustion of fossil fuels, which makes it very fragile and environmentally harmful. It relies on a continuous supply of energy-rich fossil fuels. There are many reasons why we should abandon this system and start developing a sustainable and eco-friendly transportation system for the future:
- Fossil fuels are in limited supply.
- Global consumption of fossil fuels is constantly increasing, mainly because of the transportation sector.
- While fuel efficiency of the cars has improved over time, no significant breakthroughs have been achieved since the mid 1980’s. Personal use of large SUVs and light trucks hinders the efforts to improve fuel efficiency.
- Fossil fuel combustion releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, the most significant being carbon dioxide.
- Greenhouse gasses trap the heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contribute to global warming, which is a significant environmental problem.
- Most scientist concur that the rise of the average temperature of the Earth is caused by the human activity.
- Global climate change has serious and long-standing negative impact to the environment.
- About 1/3 of our “carbon footprint”, our contribution to climate change, comes from the transportation industry, mostly from an increase in personal vehicle use.