Electric Ridables and Their Impact in Urban Commuting

In the world of everyday transportation, we think of automobiles, motorcycles, buses, subway trains, taxis, and the like. When we think of alternatives to these, we tend to think of electric vehicles (EV) and gas/electric hybrids like the Tesla Electric Car and the Toyota Prius. But there’s a strange and wonderful new breed of electric vehicles. It’s called the electric ridable.

What Are Electric Ridables?

These are non-enclosed vehicles that you stand or sit on. They come in the form of skateboards, unicycles, electric bicycles, scooters, and e-motorcycles. Just a few years ago, these were nothing more than a novelty. However, because of startling improvements in rechargeable battery technology, these diminutive vehicles have transcended the realm of hobby items and have become viable supplements and alternatives to traditional automotive commuter vehicles.

 Just a few years ago, you would be lucky to get more than a mile out of an electric skateboard or electric unicycle (EUC). But today, high-end electric skateboards have a range of up to 20 miles, and some EUCs can travel as far as 50 miles on a single charge.

Electric Unicycles, E-Scooters, and the OneWheel from Future Motion

As electric ridables have gained popularity, the two most outstanding super-compact products have been the high-end EUCs from King Song, Inmotion, and Gotway; and OneWheel. In the world of the hands-free electric ridable- these are the most popular- if you exclude e-scooters.

 The EUCs have better range and speed, but the stance is less compelling than the traditional skateboard stance the OneWheel offers. In terms of practicality, the OneWheel stands out for its unmatched durability. Still, more power and range can be had with an EUC at a lower price.

 All of these vehicles are compatible with mobile apps that track mileage, offer “ride shaping,” and make GPS navigation all the more practical. Better still, riders can carry their chargers to their destination- be it work or elsewhere, charge the device and head home without what is commonly called “range anxiety.”

 Finally, it bears stating that the e-scooter- a stand-up board with handlebars like a bicycle- remains the most popular style of electric ridable. This is because they are the safest to ride, the least expensive, and the most readily available.

 While none of these are a full replacement for an automobile- or even an electric car, they solve many problems related to short-distance urban commuting. Better still, they generate zero emissions, can be charged nearly anywhere, and are a ton of fun.

Legal, Practical, and Other Considerations

The first consideration when it comes to practicality is range and speed. These are the basic factors by which any electric vehicle (EV) is measured. By that measure, electric skateboards and EUCs range in speed from 5 to 35 mph with an average of around 15 to 17 mph. They range in, well, range anywhere between 6 and 80 miles with an average of around 25 miles.

 With specs like that, it’s safe to say that these are limited to non-highway roads and trails in and around town. For many people, that’s enough.

 The major limitation is carry weight. For riders weighing in at 190 and above, it’s almost impossible to find a commute-capable electric ridable for less than $1,500. Once you get to 250lbs, $2,000 becomes the barrier to practical electric riding.

 Another limitation is the weather. While the OneWheel electric skateboards and high-end EUCs will travel in snow, mud, sand, and are water-resistant- rough weather is a deterrent. While many quality electric ridables are water-resistant, few are waterproof.

 The last important aspect of functionality is mobile compatibility. Most of these devices can pair with mobile apps that work on cellular phones which offer extra features. The one problem with many of these is spotty connectivity. This can make the charge level and speed difficult to monitor.

 Improvements in these areas will come with the installation of 5G networks and public charging poles. Most riders will develop an instinctual sense for safe speeds and running battery levels. The coming wide availability of power pole charge stations will eliminate a lot of range anxiety.

 Finally, there are legal issues. Many riders of small EV ridables run into police officers who don’t know what to make of them. Generally, they are subject to the same rules as bicycles, but can be ridden in pedestrian areas. As legislators who are not accustomed to writing transportation laws not related to automobiles struggle to address developing mobility technology- manufacturers are sure to offer interesting new responses to federal and local regulation.

The future is looking bright for small ridable EVs, despite the overwhelming dominance of traditional-automobile-like electric products. However, the speed, range, and extreme maneuverability of these devices mean they are serious fun for anyone who wants a new way to experience roads, trails, parks, and more.

Electric Ridables and Their Impact in Urban Commuting

In the world of everyday transportation, we think of automobiles, motorcycles, buses, subway trains, taxis, and the like. When we think of alternatives to these, we tend to think of electric vehicles (EV) and gas/electric hybrids like the Tesla Electric Car and the Toyota Prius. But there’s a strange and wonderful new breed of electric vehicles. It’s called the electric ridable.

What Are Electric Ridables?

These are non-enclosed vehicles that you stand or sit on. They come in the form of skateboards, unicycles, electric bicycles, scooters, and e-motorcycles. Just a few years ago, these were nothing more than a novelty. However, because of startling improvements in rechargeable battery technology, these diminutive vehicles have transcended the realm of hobby items and have become viable supplements and alternatives to traditional automotive commuter vehicles.

 Just a few years ago, you would be lucky to get more than a mile out of an electric skateboard or electric unicycle (EUC). But today, high-end electric skateboards have a range of up to 20 miles, and some EUCs can travel as far as 50 miles on a single charge.

Electric Unicycles, E-Scooters, and the OneWheel from Future Motion

As electric ridables have gained popularity, the two most outstanding super-compact products have been the high-end EUCs from King Song, Inmotion, and Gotway; and OneWheel. In the world of the hands-free electric ridable- these are the most popular- if you exclude e-scooters.

 The EUCs have better range and speed, but the stance is less compelling than the traditional skateboard stance the OneWheel offers. In terms of practicality, the OneWheel stands out for its unmatched durability. Still, more power and range can be had with an EUC at a lower price.

 All of these vehicles are compatible with mobile apps that track mileage, offer “ride shaping,” and make GPS navigation all the more practical. Better still, riders can carry their chargers to their destination- be it work or elsewhere, charge the device and head home without what is commonly called “range anxiety.”

 Finally, it bears stating that the e-scooter- a stand-up board with handlebars like a bicycle- remains the most popular style of electric ridable. This is because they are the safest to ride, the least expensive, and the most readily available.

 While none of these are a full replacement for an automobile- or even an electric car, they solve many problems related to short-distance urban commuting. Better still, they generate zero emissions, can be charged nearly anywhere, and are a ton of fun.

Legal, Practical, and Other Considerations

The first consideration when it comes to practicality is range and speed. These are the basic factors by which any electric vehicle (EV) is measured. By that measure, electric skateboards and EUCs range in speed from 5 to 35 mph with an average of around 15 to 17 mph. They range in, well, range anywhere between 6 and 80 miles with an average of around 25 miles.

 With specs like that, it’s safe to say that these are limited to non-highway roads and trails in and around town. For many people, that’s enough.

 The major limitation is carry weight. For riders weighing in at 190 and above, it’s almost impossible to find a commute-capable electric ridable for less than $1,500. Once you get to 250lbs, $2,000 becomes the barrier to practical electric riding.

 Another limitation is the weather. While the OneWheel electric skateboards and high-end EUCs will travel in snow, mud, sand, and are water-resistant- rough weather is a deterrent. While many quality electric ridables are water-resistant, few are waterproof.

 The last important aspect of functionality is mobile compatibility. Most of these devices can pair with mobile apps that work on cellular phones which offer extra features. The one problem with many of these is spotty connectivity. This can make the charge level and speed difficult to monitor.

 Improvements in these areas will come with the installation of 5G networks and public charging poles. Most riders will develop an instinctual sense for safe speeds and running battery levels. The coming wide availability of power pole charge stations will eliminate a lot of range anxiety.

 Finally, there are legal issues. Many riders of small EV ridables run into police officers who don’t know what to make of them. Generally, they are subject to the same rules as bicycles, but can be ridden in pedestrian areas. As legislators who are not accustomed to writing transportation laws not related to automobiles struggle to address developing mobility technology- manufacturers are sure to offer interesting new responses to federal and local regulation.

The future is looking bright for small ridable EVs, despite the overwhelming dominance of traditional-automobile-like electric products. However, the speed, range, and extreme maneuverability of these devices mean they are serious fun for anyone who wants a new way to experience roads, trails, parks, and more.

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