Cleantech Market Intelligence
Electric Scooters Ready for Urban Invasion
Electric cars are getting plenty of attention as the potential future of transportation, but another form of EV makes even more sense for urban transit: the electric scooter.
While bikes may not be for everyone, city commuters have an increasing number of options for taking their foot off the gas and moving to electric power. KLD Energy Technologies is taking orders for a new transmission-less electric motor bike. According to the company the Neue motor “uses an innovative nano-crystalline composite material to conduct energy more efficiently than traditional, iron-core motors.” The $3,288.00 bike can get to 65 miles per hour. KLD Energy will compete with the Vectrix Electrics V2, which can top out at 62 mph but costs a hefty $5,195.
Replacing gas engines with electric motors on scooters is smart because the battery can be relatively small, and since their size isn’t conducive to highway driving, a limited range is less of an issue than with cars. They provide ample torque for navigating through traffic, and recharging can be done at home instead of at a gas station.
Piaggio, which owns the Vespa brand, is going the plug-in hybrid route with the three-wheeled MP3. The company claims that the hybrid motor can cut emissions and fuel consumption by half. The “parallel” hybrid drive can use both power sources simultaneously and features a “ride by wire” electronic accelerator system. Electric Vespas would be instant status symbols, should the company go that route.
Also going the plug-in route is Segway inventor Dean Kamen. He’s working on a bike that has a a two-piston Stirling engine that can run on “anything that burns.” Sounds wacky, but then again so did the Segway.
Motor bikes are a niche industry, but the switch from gas to electric is likely to be faster than with their 4-wheeled counterparts. If prices fall to $2,500 due to efficiencies in battery manufacturing, we could see an increase in the overall scooter market. City bikers like their independence, so being free from gasoline and direct emissions fits their profile.