In a handful of cities, e-scooters have taken the streets by storm, providing an environmentally friendly way for people to get around faster—and for less. The conventional foot-powered scooter, primarily designed for children, is already an emerging trend, and its advances are already influencing urban transportation.
Although there are a few stumbling blocks to overcome, e-scooters present a great opportunity for investors that is estimated to grow beyond 20 billion dollars by 2025. If conversations and permits go well with city officials, regulators, and city residents, more people will soon be enjoying e-scooter rides.
In Santa Monica, city officials have decided to award only four contracts to only two e-bike and two e-scooter operators in a bid to regulate the e-scooter flood. According to inside information from official memos, Uber and Lyft have been selected as the main companies to operate e-scooters and e-bikes on top of their car-hailing services.
Both have already acquired e-bike companies after realizing that the future of transportation is rapidly moving beyond cars to two-wheelers. Bird and Lime, two e-scooter startups, have seemed to trail behind the two giants as policy makers make their moves.
Electric Scooters Design
Classic e-scooters are powered by electricity and sport a sturdy frame and floorboard to provide users with smooth and safe rides. They have four major components, including the frame, motor, batteries, and brakes. However, some models boast an attention-grabbing dynamic LED-backlit display, self-balancing glide, and high-performing torque.
Set on top of an inexpensive set of wheels and made of aircraft-grade high strength aluminium, the electronic scooter frame is lightweight, durable, and strong enough to carry a passenger weighting 250 pounds. The batteries help generate the power needed to take you on a ride without the need to use your feet for movement.
Most electric scooters are powered by lead or lithium rechargeable batteries that provide between 350 and 500 watts of energy. On a single charge, they can allow a travel distance within a range of 10 to 40 miles.
Connected to batteries and mounted on the frame is the motor. A key component, it is found in the hub of the front or back wheel. In some scooters, it can be found connected to the pedal sprocket wheel. Generated power from the batteries is usually transmitted to the motor through a network of wires.
Depending on the model and e-scooter type, the motor may rotate the front wheel, the back wheel, or both the wheels to push the scooter forward. Finally, e-scooters have hand-controlled and foot-activated brakes to bring them to a stop when need be.
How E-Scooters Work
Many e-scooters are available for public use in their respective cities and urban areas. To rent an e-scooter, users need to unlock it with an application, then ride away. An e-scooter ride runs users about 15 cents per minute. Because of their simple design and motor constraints, electric scooters only do about 25 to 32km/h. In my opinion, I feel like this is a very low speed travellingling long distances, which means they are really only useful in certain use cases.
However, I have seen that they are the best transport option in crowded cities, as they allow you to maneuver through traffic and reach your destination on time, whether it’s the office or just the neighborhood.
How Scooter Parts Are Integrated
The e-scooter has a motherboard system that tells every other component exactly what to do by collecting information from the motor, battery, throttle, and the brakes, transmitting necessary signals to the needed parts.
The motor represents the muscle, torque, and power of your scooter ride. It will make your scooter go forward, but it needs the other components, such as the throttle and battery, for proper functioning.
When you press the throttle down, you are telling the motherboard to move forward at a particular speed. Pressing it a little slower means slow speed, but pressing it completely down will have it flying.
The motherboard sends signals requesting energy from the battery, which is transmitted to the motor, telling it how fast it should rotate depending on the exact momentum you select through the throttle. The handbrake allows you to use a disc brake. By pressing the hand clutch, pressure is created on the disc, which slows down. The e-scooter can have an electric brake system where the motor uses a generative braking system, which increases the resistance between the motor magnets, eventually making it stop completely.
The advantage of the electric brake is the regenerative function that recharges your battery while you brake or go downhill fast. Using the electric brake as often as possible will give you a longer riding distance, as it transforms the braking energy into a battery recharge. I personally prefer a combination of disc and regenerative brakes.
The disc brake is used in emergencies when the electric brake shuts down as a result of an error or drained battery. When the weather is rainy and snowy, moisture can affect the battery and other electronic components.
Are Electric Scooters Here to Stay?
The two-wheeler craze is just getting started. Uber and Lyft are on the right track in becoming key operators, and the future of transportation is largely riding two wheels. If you and I can ride an e-scooter to work or school, why spend a fortune on gas? They are affordable, durable, and easy to operate—no need for driving lessons.
These ground-breaking automobiles are ideal transport options on city roads, and they produce no toxic fumes. Riding one actually means that you are fostering a clean environment by reducing carbon footprints. And if you are irritated by traffic jams like me, you can laugh at the congestion.
So, yes, e-scooters are here to stay. I have also observed that auto companies including BMW and Mahindra are already manufacturing e-bikes and e-scooters. People are using them, so engineers will have to continue designing them.
However, despite all of this, e-scooters have invaded sidewalks. In San Francisco, the e-scooter onslaught has caused city officials to ban e-scooter riders until they obtain proper permits. There is still a lot of red tape, but the benefits seem to outweigh the cons. Just wait, and you’ll be building them in your lab and riding them down streets in no time.
Featured image courtesy of hoohoohoblin on YouTube.