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Are Electric Scooters the Future? How Do They Actually Work?

If you’re a particular age, then you might have memories of riding a new energy scooter. Those flimsy, two-wheeled scooters that gave you freedom on the sidewalk in front of your house before your acquisition of a bike opened up the whole neighborhood.

Until recently, that image of a scooter as a nothing more than a child’s toy was the one most people carried.

Now, several companies, such as Bird, LimeBike, and Spin, are out to change that perception. They are banking big on the idea that the small, compact e-scooter is a viable personal transportation device.

But is it?

Let’s take a look at where e-scooters are at today, from their fundamental appeal to how they work to their practicality beyond ordinary weekend fun.

Although manual and electric kick- or push-start scooters have both been around for some time, the popularity of the latter has risen steadily over the past two decades.

Perhaps the central development in the design and marketing of today’s e-scooters is children are no longer the primary audience.

Make no mistake, the targets are still young. They just happen to have a different set of priorities.

College students on campus.

Young professionals who live and work in urban environments.

People looking for alternative means of transportation in those same cities.

Each of these groups offer a market segment that tends to eschew the norms and traditions of the past. Zipping around town on a low-speed, zero-emission scooter certainly caters to those demanding alternatives.

With a unifying factor that everyone over a certain age will probably look a little goofy riding one, it’s easy to see the appeal. It also doesn’t hurt that electric scooters come across as simple and easily accessible devices that are even easier to operate.

E-scooters, much like their non-powered siblings are about as straightforward as it gets when it comes to personal transportation devices.

In their simplest form scooters are composed of a narrow platform or deck,  t-stem handlebars with a throttle and hand brakes, two wheels (although some models come with three or four), and front and rear suspension. Most scooters are fold-able, and some models also include a seat.

When it comes to variation, scooters are what they are. Alter the design too much, and they become an entirely different form of transportation. However, they do possess a few key areas where a slight difference makes a significant impact on performance.

It begins and ends with the battery.

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