Saturday, 2 July 2016

electric scooters (again)


this parked across the road this morning and I walked over to ask the owner a few questions

  • it cost $2700
  • its about as fast as a 50cc scooter 
  • he has to take it inside to charge
  • the chain was not fitted at sale (because in reality the pedals are useless but fitted to pass the regs
  • he almost didn't make it today because he forgot to charge it lastnight

... but he loves that he's doing something positive for the environment.

Even though

  • he has to charge it from the grid (and recent studies show that the grid would collapse if most people went this way)
  • it cost way more than a petrol version (his words)
  • he almost didn't make the trip today (15km) because he forgot to charge it last night

Now, if he'd bought an electrical bicycle (which would be about as fast and a third the cost) he'd use less electricity and in reality get as far.

So he's just like this guy...


Yu-Lin Chan said...

I think pure E-bikes are not yet ready for prime time. Far too short a range (usually 35KM-50KM) and way too expensive. A good compromise, if you really need some electric push, is an electrically assisted bicycle. You will still have to pedal but you can dial in a bit of help when needed in windy or uphill situations. I think one charge should do a few days if you only need light push. If I were to work at a place further than 30km from my home, I would consider riding one of those to work.

obakesan said...

agreed ... I would prefer a regular bicycle that has say a 300W motor

gnarlydog said...

hmmm, your last image probably sums it up for me.
In that case, would you walked up to him and asked him questions if he was riding an electric-assisted bicycle?... probably not.
Hence my perception on that cartoon: if nobody notices, does it still count as "being cool"?

obakesan said...

Hey Gnarly,

re: "would you walked up to him and asked him questions if he was riding an electric-assisted bicycle?... probably not. "

no, you're wrong I would have.

I'm actually a keen cyclist and I think that electric bicycles are excellent transport in towns. I have writen only a little about them, but for example:

I prefer electric bicycles for a variety of reasons:
* the faster you go the stronger frames need to be = more weight
* the faster you go the stronger brakes need to be = more weight
* the faster you go the more you lose in friction, the more power you need bigger motors + larger battery = more weight
* you are not wasting energy in needing energy to accelerate higher mass

The higher mass has a more devastating impact if you were to hit someone.

So even in a hilly area its surprising what effectiveness you can get out of an electrical bicycle.

Weight is a killer in engineering terms and the marketing tail is wagging the engineering dog substantially now days. Cars are a prime example. Compare any 1960's car with a modern car of similar category. A Toyota Corolla or even a 4WD has become heavier as time goes by.

If we actually see sustainable solutions we need to actually go back to the questions and pose different answers - not just slap an electric band-aid on it and forget about where does the power come from.

obakesan said...

And some other posts worth reading on the use of bicycles here

I should ammend that above post to "I prefer electric bicycles over electric scooters, but I prefer human powered bicycles in general."

If I had to commute more than 15Km to work in a hilly area I'd have an electric assisted bicycle and to be honest I'm sure it would be faster than that electric scooter above. They have all of the disadvantages of electric with none of the advantages of petrol.

gnarlydog said...

I think we live in different worlds: mine is populated by hipsters, yours by geeks. I think I have a distorted view of the "real world" :-)
Trends come and go: the electric scooter it's probably in its infancy and early adopters fall into the categories that I describe above.
The rest is just technicalities to me :-)
But I am old school: pedal power 100%, unfortunately seldom applied these days