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The past and future of electric scooters


Apr 22,2019


There are shared bicycles in China and many other countries. In recent years, however, electric scooters have attracted more and more attention, and in some European and American cities, they have even become the main force of personal mobility. Today, Smilescooter takes everyone through the history of electric scooters.

Electric skateboards are based on traditional skateboards, plus two/three/four-wheel vehicles for power kits. Compared with electric motorcycles and electric bicycles, the appearance of electric scooters was rather late, and it was gradually improved with the development of the former two. Therefore, in the history of the development of electric scooters, there are always many electric motorcycles and electric bicycles.

Pioneer of electric scooters

According to records, Ogden Bolton, the inventor of Ohio in late 1895, filed the first patent for electric personal travel equipment. By today’s standards, this is an electric bicycle and although the design was rough, the concept was revolutionary at the time, and changed the vision of driving power for personal travel equipment, and has had a profound impact on the emergence of electric scooters.

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In the conceptual design of Mr. Ogden Bolton, the motor is located on the rear wheel hub. The motor uses a type of direct current with six electrodes. It also includes a 10-volt battery that may require 100A current. But Bolton’s model has never really been created, so it has not been used in any field.

First electric scooter

In the early 20th century, a company called Ajax Motor in New York produced the first electric scooter, Eveready Autoped, with a price of $100 a unit. The German company, Krupp AG,  obtained Autoped’s production license in Europe from 1919 to 1922. But the sales was far from expectation, the production was suspended in 1921. Despite this, this electric scooter still had its own era.

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The Eveready Autoped was powered by gasoline. The drive system was a four-stroke air-cooled engine mounted on the front wheel and had a top speed of 40 kilometers per hour.

When driving, the owner needed to stand on a platform supported by a 10-inch tire and operate through the handlebars on the steering column.

At that time, the designers considered the storability of this scooter and designed the steering column to be foldable. When not in use, it could be folded up to save space.

 Electric scooter equipped with American postman at the time

American postman equipped with Electric scooter at the time

This electric scooter was a privilege of the American “Millionaires”

At that time, the non-human-powered Eveready Autoped was an advanced product. Of course, it is also one of the most significant transportation equipment in history. As a result, the Eveready Autoped scooter, an early means of transportation, still has a collectible value.

In 2016, Bonham auctioned one of the Autoped auctions, valued between $1,000 and $1,500.

From fuel to electricity

During World War II, the world faced a serious shortage of natural gas and oil. On the one hand, due to industrial development, the fuel consumption was very high. On the other hand, most of the available oil was used in war. As a result, many people are trying to find alternative sources of fuel to reduce transportation costs.

Inventor Earl Williams tried to turn a bicycle that used fuel into an electric bicycle. His design was called “Par Car”. Marketeer produced this electric bike.

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At the same time, European countries began to develop their own versions. They built about 400 electric skateboards. All of these skateboards were produced and manufactured by a Belgian company called Socovel, which was founded in 1936 by the Limelette brothers. They also sell these electric cars to the public.

In the 1960s and 1970s, electric scooters made some progress. A battery company called “Union Carbide” created an alkaline fuel cell. They planned to use fuel cells in their motors. In addition, this was also the first time people really saw the legal electric car driving on the road.

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In 1967, Carl Koldsch successfully invented a hybrid electric fuel motorcycle. This electric motorcycle could travel for up to 200 miles at a speed of 25 miles per hour.

In 1974, another small machine manufacturer, Auranthic Corp, released a motorcycle called “the Charger.” At that time, electric motorcycles can travel with speed up to 30 miles per hour. It can travel at 50 miles per hour  when fully charged.

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In 1996, the manufacturer released Puegeot Scoot’Elec Electronics to the market and achieved success. They use nickel-cadmium batteries to power electric scooters, and scooters can reach a speed up to 25 miles per hour.

These results indirectly led to the conversion of the power source of electric scooters from fuel to electricity.

Today’s electric scooters

Today, electric scooters have been innovated in many ways, including the configuration of rechargeable and more efficient lithium batteries; the design of the vehicle emphasize more on aesthetics and ergonomics.

Since 2018, shared electric scooters have quietly become popular in Europe and the United States. In the center of New York, these electric scooters for rent are everywhere. According to the industry website Scootermap, the total number of shared electric scooters in the United States has exceeded 60,000.

However, while enjoying the convenience and comfort brought by it, people’s unreasonable use and the defects of the electric scooter itself have brought huge hidden dangers to road safety and urban management. The electric scooter, which is low-carbon and interesting, gives people the freedom as their original intention, but their users have been complained of parking indiscriminately, occupying sidewalks, and various traffic accidents. According to the Santa Monica Police Department in California, nearly 181 of the 281 traffic accidents that occurred between January 1 and February 5, 2018 involved sharing electric scooters.

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There are still many similar accidents and cases. Despite this, the layout of the shared electric scooter is still expanding. McKinsey once estimated that by 2030, the US “micro-mobile” market will be worth between $200 and $300 billion.

Back in China, the road to personal electric mobility tools has been strictly controlled by the government. In some key cities, electric balance cars and electric scooters are prohibited from driving on the road. The new national standard for electric bicycles clearly shows the attitude and attention of the Chinese government to personal electric travel tools. Only after solving a series of problems such as the safety of electric bicycles, the legal right of electric scooters may be put on Agenda.

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“The security of infrastructure affects the lives and deaths of the entire industry.” Governments and companies are already addressing the safety of electric scooters and planning to include them in the infrastructure. We are full of hope and look forward to the early days of electric scooters legally coming.


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