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  • Electric scooters: Love or hate them? Here's what you need to know


    Scooters used to be toys only for children. Their motorized descendants, however, are

    now popular among adults.


    Last year, Americans took 38.5 million trips on shared scooters in more than 100

    cities, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), a

    nonprofit organization. Those trips accounted for almost half of the 84 million trips –

    more than doubled from 2017 – taken on “shared micro-mobility” options that also

    include station-based bikes and dockless bikes.


    As people look for ways to get around congested cities faster, scooters have gained

    in popularity. But their emergence has drawn criticism that the vehicles are risky both

    for riders and pedestrians.


    Some cities, such as Chicago, launched pilot programs for sharing scooters in June,

    eyeing the potential to ease congestion and pollution brought by cars. Portland, Oregon,

    launched a 120-day pilot program last year and a one-year program this year that started

    in April. New York State passed a bill in June to legalize the vehicle, though renting

    them is prohibited in Manhattan – you have to own one to ride it.


    But some cities said no, or at least not now. Last month, Chattanooga, Tennessee,

    issued a six-month ban of the conveyance. San Francisco and Beverly Hills once took

    similar approaches. Nashville's mayor called for a ban on the vehicle following the

    city's first scooter-related death, but the Metro Council rejected the plan - the

    legislative institute decided to reduce scooter fleets instead.


    City officials and residents have conflicting attitudes toward

    electric scooter. And in many

    places, its regulation still falls into gray areas.


    Why people love electric scooters


    You can easily ride a scooter, with a top speed of 15 to 30 mph, to the nearest

    subway stop a mile away or other destinations 5 miles out, and travel faster than cars

    during rush hour. Unlike bikes, they can keep you from getting sweaty before you arrive

    at work or to meet friends. Many people rode scooters in childhood, which makes them

    familiar and appealing for commuters.


    After scooter startup Bird deployed its first fleet in September 2017, bike-sharing

    companies Spin (acquired by Ford last November) and Lime, and ride-hailing giant Lyft and

    Uber dipped their toes into the scooter market by launching their own fleets last year.

    Other key players include Skip and Scoot, which was acquired by Bird in June.


    The scooter startups have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding and the global

    market is expected to reach about $40 billion to $50 billion by 2025, according to Boston

    Consulting Group.


    Scooter hazards: safety and parking


    City officials opposing scooters cited safety as their major concern and worry they

    would block sidewalks if they were parked inappropriately, impeding pedestrians and

    people with disabilities.


    After electric scooters were introduced, several hospitals at various locations saw

    spikes in scooter-related injuries at their emergency rooms. Since the fall of 2017, at

    least eight scooter riders have died and 1,500 have been injured, according to Consumer

    Reports. Emily Hartridge, a TV host and YouTube star, died after her electric scooter

    crashed with a truck in London. Last week, a person in Atlanta died in a crash with an

    oil truck while riding a scooter.


    Boosted, a startup founded in 2012 that debuted with its flagship electric

    skateboards, is a newcomer to the market. The company touts its

    latest product Boosted Rev, which started shipping

    last month, has “vehicle-grade durability.”


    Its E-

    scooter electric scooter
    has a top speed of 24 mph, can go up to 22 miles on a

    single charge and has three brakes, including an electronic one, according to the

    company. It costs $1,599, compared with Segway and Xiaomi’s scooters that range from

    $400 to $800.


    “We've adopted a lot of the fire safety and impact and durability standards from

    the automotive industry for electric cars and adopted them to the standards we've

    built,” said Boosted’s CEO Jeff Russakow, who compared the company’s approach in

    electric scooters to Tesla's.


    Own or share? What's next?


    Experts said it is still too early to say whether sharing or owning will prevail.


    "When you see that kind of adoption, it's quite attractive to find other

    forms of business models in order to capture some sort of share," said Zarif. He

    estimates that within next year, companies will come up with new forms of micro-mobility

    vehicles other than electric scooters to offer commuters more choices.


    Fang said there might be markets for both buying and sharing. But to accommodate the

    electric scooter

    ATV
    and other micro-mobility options, cities need better infrastructure, he said,

    such as enough bike lanes, which are ideal for scooter riders who might feel unsafe

    riding with cars that go 25 to 40 miles per hour on main roads but would endanger

    pedestrians on sidewalks.


    Cities are adapting fast though, Zarif argued. “It's getting there. I mean,

    think of it as when the first car got in the road over a hundred years ago,” he said. “

    The roads weren't built for the cars, but eventually they started building the right

    infrastructure."


    Is riding an electric bike good exercise, or just convenient transportation?


    It can, if you ride right, according to a pragmatic new study comparing the

    physiological effects of e-bikes and standard road bicycles during a simulated commute.

    The study, which involved riders new to e-cycling, found that most could complete their

    commutes faster and with less effort on electric bicycle than standard bicycles, while elevating their breathing

    and heart rates enough to get a meaningful workout.


    But the benefits varied and depended, to some extent, on how people’s bikes were

    adjusted and how they adjusted to the bikes. The findings have particular relevance at

    the moment, as pandemic restrictions loosen and offices reopen, and many of us consider

    options other than packed trains to move ourselves from our homes to elsewhere.


    Few people bike to work. Asked why, many tell researchers that bike commuting

    requires too much time, perspiration and accident risk. Simultaneously, though, people

    report a growing interest in improving their health and reducing their ecological impact

    by driving less.


    In theory, both these hopes and concerns could be met or minimised with e-bikes. An

    alluring technological compromise between a standard, self-powered bicycle and a scooter,

    e-bikes look almost like regular bikes but are fitted with battery-powered electric

    motors that assist pedalling, slightly juicing each stroke.


    Tailwind


    With most e-bikes, this assistance is small, similar to riding with a placid

    tailwind, and ceases once you reach a maximum speed of about 30km/h or stop pedalling.

    The motor will not turn the pedals for you.


    Essentially, e-bikes are designed to make riding less taxing, which means commuters

    should arrive at their destinations more swiftly and with less sweat. They can also

    provide a psychological boost, helping riders feel capable of tackling hills they might

    otherwise avoid. But whether they also complete a workout while e-riding has been less

    clear.


    UK-based White Motorcycle Concepts has revealed the WMC250EV — a new, all-

    electric motorbike that aims to

    claim an EV land speed record by hitting 250 MPH with ease.


    Its creator, Robert White, thinks it’ll hit 250 MPH because of some very clever

    aerodynamic attributes, namely the huge gaping hole that falls right in the center of the

    bike. Looking like an air tunnel, the “V-Air” duct encourages air to be pushed through

    the gap rather than around the bike like conventional motors. This design reduces drag by

    up to 70 percent which, again, makes the bike incredibly slippery so that it can pierce

    through the air at speed.


    Power comes from a unique electric layout and supply, which sees the battery pack sit

    at the underbelly of the bike for a better center of gravity and good weight

    distribution. “D-Drive” powers the front wheels using two 20kWh batteries, while

    regenerative braking has also been incorporated to preserve wasted power from braking and

    using it to recharge the batteries.


    As for the rear wheel, it’s powered by two 30kWh batteries, which means in total the

    bike has 100kWh of power — or around 134 BHP if we convert that to normal figures.

    Weighing just 300kg thanks to a host of lightweight components and carbon fiber elements

    being used for the bike and its motor, the WMC250EV now aims to take on the British and

    world electric land speed records — and win them.

    • Creado: 23-11-21
    • Última sesión: 23-11-21

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