As 2020 was off to a rough start, so were a number of industries worldwide. Earlier this year, countries all over the world were forced to a lockdown following the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that, businesses, big or small, had to close down. Classes in schools were put to a halt, and the streets were emptied of people.
However, there were still individuals who were required to go out every now and then. Medical front liners, essential workers, and those with errands to run, were always on their feet looking for alternative modes of transport. This was because public utility vehicles were limited, if not banned.
This is when it all took an unexpected turn for the electric ride industry.
A Brief History of Electric Rides
Just like every other thing we use every day, our trusty e-rides have gone through countless experimentations and evolutions. As we have briefly discussed in a previous article, electric-powered rides (specifically electric bicycles) have been around since as early as the 1890s. It wasn’t until the late 90s when upgraded and more modern versions of e-bikes came to light. Some years later, more and more variations of electric-powered rides came about.
Curious about the other e-rides that are making waves this year? Let’s take a peek at their timelines and short histories!
- 1915 - the first stand-up scooter also known as “Autoped” was first introduced. It was a gasoline-powered mobility equipment that resembled today’s electric kick scooters. It was foldable, and the first of its kind when it came to smaller and more portable modes of transport. It became popular in New York, and was usually used by traffic cops.
- 1986 – Go-Ped, a US-based e-scooter company, re-introduced the first stand up scooter from 1915. They released a model that they called the “Hoverboard” that were equipped with full suspension on two wheels.
- 1991 – Lithium-ion batteries were invented and manufactured. This kind of battery can store more energy per kilogram and can yield the most current. This is one reason why it’s the type of battery used to power laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These batteries require a shorter charging time, and is the most eco-friendly of all.
- 2000s to Present – from your usual kick scooters, came an innovation powered by Lithium-ion batteries. It wasn’t until 2009, when the company Inokim became one of the leading producers of e-scooters, that its modern wave began. Years after its establishment, e-scooter manufacturers sprouted from all over the world. This portable ride is becoming common sight in cities, and is also turning into a crowd favorite.
- 1997 – Louie Finkle patented the first mass-produced motorized skateboard. The gas-powered Motoboard, however, was banned due to its noise and pollution.
- 2006- a group of friends reintroduced and improved Finkle’s skateboard model. It was also the time when electric motors and batteries became available with enough torque and proficiency to power electric boards.
- 2012 to Present – the dawn of modern electric skateboards came upon the founding of Boosted Boards. This opened doors for many more e-skateboard manufacturers around the globe. Nowadays, e-skateboards are enjoyed by many not just for a thrilling weekend adventure, but also as their personal transporter.
- 1869 – Richard C. Hemming patented the hand-powered “monowheel” which paved the way for the later unicycle.
- 1964 – Charles Taylor was granted a patent for a “vehicle having a single supporting wheel”.
- 2004 – Trevor Blackwell introduced a functional self-balancing unicycle which used the same control-mechanism as the Segway PT. This was later on called the Eunicycle.
- 2006 to Present – Several electric unicycle manufacturers followed the footsteps of Segway, and started to demonstrate their own prototype units. These days, seatless and self-balancing electric unicycles are starting to dominate the streets.
Aside from these, there are more electric rideables available in the market today. Electric rides such as e-trikes and even electric wheelchairs are personal mobility equipment that are designed to help the elderly and those with special needs.
With the use of innovative technology, these e-rideables are enjoyed and utilized by many, especially now in a time of global crisis.
Top Trends that Shaped the Electric Ride Industry in 2020
As other industries saw a decline on their production and revenue, the opposite was true for electric rides. Now more than ever, the innovative transporters became essential. Individuals and government sectors saw it as an effective and safe way to re-open in the COVID-19 era, and here are some trends that may have influenced it.
- Sharing Economy – this trend has evolved a lot over the years, and is now an emerging dynamic in the midst of the pandemic. For countries like China, electric bike-sharing is seen as a safer mode of transport since people are avoiding subways, buses, and even taxis in fear of getting infected.
Sharing companies took this to their advantage and came up with more seamless and smarter systems. If this continues, then there is definitely a bright future both for the “shareconomy” and the e-bike industry.
Some countries like Australia are also campaigning electric scooter sharing, and is now beginning to see the positive benefits of investing on the said e-ride.
- Healthier Options – these days, medical experts from all over the world are advising everyone to stay healthy, and keep their immune system in check. Given this, some people have resorted to committing to an everyday workout routine. Cycling became a popular option among those cities with less restrictions.
- Food and Essentials Delivery – as the world went into a halt, so did the operation of establishments everywhere. This is why some businesses took it as a chance to serve the people even from home. While their physical stores closed, they remained operational thru online transactions.
Electric rides are known for their ability to travel long distances, without the hassle. This is why some business owners grabbed the opportunity to invest on these electric transporters that are not only practical, but very convenient to their riders as well. This way, they still get to run their businesses, and provide a livelihood to their employees in need.
In this area, the safest e-rides that most business owners choose are e-bikes and e-scooters. They see them as practical and functional modes of transport that get the job done quickly and easily.
- Environmental Awareness – it is a known fact that the global lockdowns have cleared the air outside. In some cities, there is an evident improvement in air quality. Environmentalists took this as chance to educate the people that this track can be kept, and that is where eco-friendly solutions come in.
E-rides are very well-known as sustainable alternatives to travel. Compared to cars and other gas-powered vehicles, they leave little to no carbon footprints that are harmful to the environment. As more people find out the wonders of these eco-friendly rides and discovered their benefits this year, a lot are convinced that a greener planet can be possible in the future.
- Transportation Restrictions – ever since the worldwide lockdowns earlier this year, social distancing has been strictly implemented. One aspect that was greatly affected was transportation. Various public transportation like buses and trains only allowed a small number of passengers at a time to reduce the chance of virus transmission.
This being true, some have resorted to purchasing their own electric rideables as a solution. Biking, for instance, is believed to be an excellent way to observe social distancing, as long as the rider rides it alone. Online electric ride stores have taken advantage of this situation, and are now offering various electric commuter rides at affordable prices.
People from all over the world are now trying to adapt to the “new normal”. For e-ride manufacturers and distributors, however, their new normal is providing for the unprecedented demand for their products.
A Bright Future for Electric Rides
As opposed to what many e-ride manufacturers and dealers feared, the industry has seen a boom in sales that it hasn’t seen in the past decade. The demand for the electric rideable has skyrocketed as people saw it as an effective way to battle a prominent global dilemma.
In addition, electric rides are also said to be the future of urban mobility. With their promising performance in the past few years, and their endearing characteristics, many seem to agree.
This phenomenon presents a bright future for the whole electric ride industry, and it only proves that e-rides are here to stay for the next year, and many more years to come.
Electric Rides Post-Pandemic
This COVID-19 crisis has reshaped a lot of aspects, may it be businesses, industries, or even our personal lifestyles. Sooner or later, when everything goes back to our “old normal” we might go back to our previous ways and habits. Still, we could use this situation to reflect on our lifestyles before the pandemic.
As we find ways to adapt to our current situation, we realize that the use alternatives (like electric rides) is one of the many positive and sustainable long-term outcomes. Such trends that were listed above were the driving force for these decisions. A lot of people have only considered investing on electric rides this year as a quick reaction to protect themselves from the Corona virus.
To achieve this kind of high in the future, the challenge for electric rideable ride manufacturers now is to provide customers with affordable, convenient, functional, and innovative products. These products should convince them to stick with their “new normal” habits, for a greener and healthier future.