The development of the electric scooter
Probably, not many people know that the powered scooter has in fact been around for more than 100 years. The more mature amongst us may remember the name Autoped. It is thought that the American company The Autoped Company produced the first motorized ‘autoped’ or scooter in around 1910. Of course, at that time, the power was provided by a none-too-modern petrol motor.
The “autopeds’ in the period between the two World Wars were simple affairs, with a basic board and two wheels. Many happy childhood hours were spent scooting, with one foot on the footplate and the other pushing: who would have thought that such a plaything would later become an important means of transport?
In the first years of the new Millennium, the aluminium scooter with skateboard wheels stole the hearts not only of many children, but also those of commuters. The small, lightweight foldable scooter was a great, practical solution for travel between home and office using public transport.
Millions of that type of scooter were sold, all over the world. And they are still available in all sorts of designs, finishes and qualities.
For many years, manufacturers had experimented with attaching or integrating engines to all sorts of scooters. People may remember the ‘Goped’, with its small but noisy petrol engine.
Those days have now gone, however. Two-stroke petrol engines are detrimental to the environment, noise pollution is frowned upon, and all countries have introduced legislation to ban vehicles which don’t comply with the regulations.
The continuing development of the electric scooter
Years ago, some manufacturers started to experiment with electrically-powered scooters. These were launched on the market under various names: the Estep or E-step were the most common names in the Netherlands. In other countries, the term ‘step’ is almost unknown and this sort of product is usually known as an Escooter or E-scooter. The ‘stepping’ or pushing movement gave rise to the term ‘kick scooter’. Logically, therefore, an electric version is known as an electric kick scooter.
It was with the arrival on the market of the Segway that we first became aware of the gyroscopic properties of such two-wheelers. Strange though it seemed, a two-wheeler could maintain its balance even with a rider on board. However, it was a while before this kind of product made a real breakthrough: not just because of the extremely high cost, but also because it took a very long time for them to be approved for use on public roads. A few years ago a new variant was launched: is there anybody who isn’t aware of…hoverboards? Since then millions of hoverboards have been – and are still being – sold. Now, we can’t imagine our streets without them.
Electric mobility – the future
New techniques, including vastly improved batteries, provided a breakthrough, just as happened years ago with e-bikes. Whilst e-bikes were originally thought of as aids for senior citizens or the handicapped, that image changed dramatically post-2010. Nowadays, the bike trade in Europe sees the sale of e-bikes as the cherry on the cake, at least in terms of revenue. And also a super, comfortable way of getting from A to B, enjoying grand day trips or keeping fit and healthy.
And now: the e-scooter. Introduced at electronics Trade Fairs over the last few years, a breakthrough now seems to be on the horizon. With Asian countries taking the lead and the USA following, vast numbers of scooters with electric motors are now being produced. There is a huge assortment of different models, not only in terms of design, but also finish and quality.
The e-scooter for commuters
We all know that home-to-work commuting creates huge problems in and around the cities of Europe. Towns and the roads around them are jammed with commuters trying to get to work. Both local and national authorities try to find ways to discourage the use of private cars. Extortionate parking fees, reduction of available parking spaces and congestion charge zones are just a few of the measures being taken, and which make life more difficult for commuters. The authorities recommend the use of public transport to get you to work, or to meet friends.
But public transport doesn’t always get you quickly enough to where you want to be: and even worse, often you can only get so far and then have to walk a couple of kilometers to your destination. A folding bicycle isn’t always the right answer for such short distances, and it can also be awkward to use.
So it is easy to figure that the e-scooter, with its powerful batteries and lightweight frame, is the solution to the problem. The step is foldable, fits into any car boot, doesn’t get in the way on a bus, train or tram journey, and hardly takes up any space under your desk at the office.
How do the European authorities view this new phenomenon? Do they turn a blind eye – as they did with hoverboards – or are they operating a consistent policy with regard to test requirements?
It is known that an advisory body is currently working on an NEN report on e-scooters. In the next few years, the European authorities will take advice on how to deal with this type of product. Until then, the rules are clear: e-scooters must comply with EE Regulation168/2013. In other words, they are treated in the same way as mopeds.
This means that e-scooters are subject to the same criteria as mopeds. And that means that, once approved, they have to display a registration plate.
And there aren’t many of that sort of e-scooters available.
Orange Ventures decided that besides the standard e-scooters, it would design a new, own-brand e-scooter which would comply with the EU Regulation. In order to achieve this, a team of specialists spent months on development and specification. Their starting point was the European user/commuter, so ease of use, comfort and sportiness were keynotes in the development process. During the development phase, account was taken of all the approval requirements, and Quality was written with a capital Q. Nothing has been left to chance, which means this significant investment provides the platform for a fantastic new e-scooter.
In the coming months, the brand name ‘Veeley’ will be launched, and presented to a wide public. Professional dealers will be asked to demonstrate, explain and sell this high-end product to consumers. In Europe, the dealer will also be the point of contact for all customer queries.
Why use actual dealers, you may ask. The answer is simple: we believe that to appreciate this fantastic high-end e-scooter you need to see it, feel it, smell it, try it out. Properly demonstrating the power, the flowing lines, the lightness, the eye for detail: that can only be done by professionals. And that’s exactly what our Veeley dealers are.