It's hard to miss them since personal travel vehicles are popping up everywhere. From electric scooters to hoverboards and even electric unicycles, the demand for these new forms of urban electric mobility has increased eleven-fold in just one year.
Fast and easy to use, the electric scooter is being used more and more in city centres, especially thanks to the increasing numbers of rentals available. With a maximum speed of 30 km/h and an autonomy of about twenty kilometres, self-service electric scooters are perfectly suited to short-term rentals. Some models can even park themselves. However, they are increasingly banned for sidewalk use. You’ll need to use them on bicycle lanes or areas with 30 km/h speed limits. The electric scooter will also soon be included in traffic regulations.
Getting around town on a motorised skateboard equipped with a battery is now possible thanks to the electric skateboard. This lightweight board, about thirty inches in length and with about 350W of power, moves at a maximum speed of 30 km/h. Braking and speeding up is directly managed by a small controller. An electric skateboard’s battery life varies between 10 and 40 km depending on the model. However, they have to be driven on the road, alongside cars, since they can’t be ridden on bicycle lanes.
Thanks to its sensors that enable it to move along perfectly with the rider, the hoverboard is fun for all ages. For example, the Renault Sport F1 Team Spinboard Hoverboard boasts a maximum battery life of 20 km and a maximum speed of 20 km/h thanks to its two 350W motors.
We are all in awe of the electric unicycle’s futuristic look. It features a longer battery life (up to 40 km) and moves at a maximum speed of 30 km/h thanks to its power that ranges from 500 to 1800W. To ensure better balance, models with saddles are now available on the market. Hoverboards and electric unicycles can be used on sidewalks at a moderate pace (6 km/h) but are prohibited on bike paths.
Following the success of electric bikes – nearly 255,000 were sold in 2017 alone – next up is the first solar-powered electric bicycle. Available starting in Spring 2019 in the Hauts-de-Seine department, close to Paris, France, this eco-friendly bike will recharge itself thanks to the photovoltaic cells installed on the frame of its front wheel. Its battery life could reach 40 km in summer, and an average of 17 km the rest of the year. It will still come with a plug so that you can recharge and use it during less ideal weather conditions.
The electric motor scooter also plays a key part when it comes to urban electric mobility. With a design equivalent to that of an internal combustion engine scooter (49.90cc vs. 50cc), it enables you to get around without emitting any CO2 or noise pollution. Now available in self-service in most European capitals such as Paris, Madrid and Berlin, the electric motor scooter boasts a top speed of 45 km/h and a battery range between 80 and 100 km. When it comes to road security, the conditions for use are the same as for classic scooters.
You can’t talk about urban electric mobility without mentioning the Renault Twizy. Very safe and with an autonomy of up to 100 km, this quadricycle won’t go unnoticed thanks to its innovative design. Its compact size also makes it practical for both driving and parking in the city. Since its launch in 2011, its numerous qualities have made it a must-have for car sharing services in cities like Marseille and Montpellier, France, and Florence, Italy.
In the current context of transitioning to electric and the fight against CO2 emissions, these hoverboards, electric scooters and other fun personal transport vehicles will become even more successful in the coming years.
Copyrights : iStock, Adobe Stock et Giovanni TAGINI
Cities & planning