The tech news blog “The Verge” recently coined the term “Electric Rideables” or just “Rideables” for short and it seems to have stuck with a few other large news sites. Personally, we still prefer the term “Micro-EV” as it encompasses products like; ride-on electric scooters, electric skateboards, electric golf boards, one wheels, hoverboards and mini-Segway clones. However, there is a new category arising for electric push carts and land based e-delivery drones that wouldn’t necessarily fall under the term “Rideables” but could still be classified as “Micro-EV.”
In any event, we had several design meetings last month about new product development. There seemed to be some confusion about classifying rideables into the subcategories of “last mile solution” or “first mile solution” so let us explain.
We first heard about the “last mile solution” the end of 2014 from companies like EcoReco and e-Twow. Basically, these are an ultra-compact form of rideable designed to take you that last mile – from the commuter train to the office 10 blocks away.
Last mile solutions are usually rated under 500 watts, use 8×2.0″ or smaller wheels, primarily come stock with solid tires and have an extreme emphasis on compact/ lightweight portability. These products are excellent for trips under 1 mile. On longer rides the steering tends to get a little squirrelly, the solid tires can be a little jarring, and the floorboard space can get tight. Thus, making these a perfect vehicle to fill the void on the last leg of a commute.
First mile solutions are more of a “daily-driver” geared towards people already living in an urban area and for some it’s the only vehicle they own. It’s a product designed for people that need more range, speed, stability and comfort. The customer is usually someone who lives and works in the city and isn’t as concerned with a small footprint or lightweight portability. These vehicles add stability while riding at speed, which means more urban cargo capability for running daily errands quickly and safely over longer distances.
First mile solutions are usually rated at 500 watts or more, use inflatable tires between 10×2.5″ ~ 16×3.0″ and have an emphasis on stability while riding at higher speeds. These tend to have a larger overall footprint, may or may not fold, use full-size floorboard decks, better braking power, have higher battery capacities and weigh considerably more.
Shown below is the Luna Apocalypse E-Scooter (ludicrous edition) capable of reaching speeds of 35mph comfortably and weighs in at a sturdy 70 lbs. The 1275 watt hour Panasonic battery has more than enough range for all weekend long riding. Dual hydraulic brakes offer more than ample stopping power!
So which is better? It’s not a question of which is better, it’s a question of which is the right electric vehicle to suit your needs. The last mile solution has been well developed and is already a fine tuned subcategory. The current “global urbanization trend” means more people are moving to crowded cities with an already overloaded transportation infrastructure. We would like to see more rideables with ample cargo carrying capabilities. Ones that do not sacrifice range, speed and comfort to save a few extra pounds.