You will have noticed if you live in town, these new modes of individual transport are democratized at a brisk pace. The figures are eloquent. 2018 promises to be just as spectacular as 100,000 of these machines could find takers.
But for trips less than 5 km – we speak of micro-mobility – hoverboard and scooters, very much supplant all other means of locomotion. No wonder these machines make their users “super pedestrians” who, in addition to driving on the sidewalks or using public transport, can also travel on the road or bike paths, even if it is not possible. not necessarily allowed (see below, Urban use: what does the law say?)
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If the market is growing so fast, it is also because, in terms of micro-mobility, the supply is today plethoric. With two observations: the majority of devices come from China, and prices are a big difference. Technology, too, is changing at a brisk pace.
Now, scooters frequently ship a digital dashboard, which is the case of most manufacturers Egret, Etwow or L-Trott, or set via a smartphone application. Faced with such a choice, not easy to find the right model. This guide will help you there.
2 independent guides, dedicated to electric scooters and hoverboard. You will also find a selection of our favorite models, regularly updated, according to the tests that follow one another throughout the year.
Electric scooter: how to choose?
Although the design varies by model, electric scooters incorporate the same essential elements. A motor first, which will be placed in the front or rear wheel.
Then the battery, which offers a range of 25 km on average, built into the chassis, more rarely on the handlebars. Finally the controls, located on the handle and comprising at least the acceleration and braking devices.
Some models are more complete, including for example lighting, a digital dashboard, or a crutch. Many of these accessories can be added later. The main asset of the scooter is without a doubt its ease of handling. It only takes a few laps to a novice to feel comfortable.
Adult models are also designed for urban use, with all that it involves “obstacles”, such as the passage of donkeys, traffic on the pavements, but also the crossing of small steps, such as those of pedestrian crossings. The stability is exemplary, including when you exceed 20 km per hour.
The only downside, driving in the rain, or wet conditions can be tricky, even downright dangerous, especially if the scooter is equipped with small plastic wheels instead of gums. Once folded, it occupies relatively little space, and can, therefore, be carried on public transport.
Attention, the weight can reach 15 kilos, but solutions exist to minimize the impact, including carrying handle or backpack. Prices range from 300 US Dollar, for an entry-level model, intended for short journeys on dry ground, up to 300 US Dollar for the most powerful models with a large autonomy.
This machine, newcomer in the world of “micro-mobility” takes its name from the flying skateboard that Marty McFly uses in Back to the future 2. Yet the form has nothing to do.
This two-wheeled Segway, also known as Electric Board, is more reminiscent of a Segway whose handlebar is removed. If the technology is quite similar, the efficiency on the ground has nothing to do.
First, its small wheels forbid it to cross the least obstacle. Then, if its autonomy is reasonable, count 20 km maximum, its speed does not exceed 10 to 15 km per hour.
Finally, if learning seems easy at first, the stability is quite relative, as shown by the many videos of falls, often brutal, already posted on Youtube.
Its price is nevertheless attractive, count between 200 and 350 USD for a mid-range model such as MP G4 man, Beeper Road R4-UL or Revoe V-Board. It is little, compared to other means of electric transport, but keep in mind that it is primarily a craft for fun.
As such it is not intended for urban travel, except punctually, and provided to take the sidewalks. On the other hand, the hoverboard will be quite comfortable in the protected spaces, for example, the skateparks: between expert feet, the vehicle is indeed surprisingly agile.
Another diversion of an existing device, the Kart Hoverboard solves the problem of stability of the electric board. The device, very simple, sold 70 USD on average, consists of a chassis whose rear is based on the hoverboard ensuring propulsion. The front consists of a simple skate wheel, which is rotated by pushing a crossbar.
Very safe and fun, this mini kart could well prolong the craze of the hoverboard. The only downside, the seat is almost placed on the board, the vibrations in the buttocks can be really unpleasant when driving on an uneven surface.
Last but not least, electric skateboarding is gaining popularity among the wider community. As the name suggests, it is a classic skateboard, so a device rather sporty vocation, on which are grafted the battery and the engines, that one operates via a manual remote control.
Like the scooter, the motorization avoids having to skate on flat ground, and of course, in the climbs. The range varies from 20 to more than 50 km, while the speed varies from 20 to more than 40 km per hour. Count from 300 to 2000 USD according to the models.
And the interview in all this?
All these electric vehicles are loaded with state-of-the-art technology and often expensive parts. Good news, with the exception of entry-level models, critical elements can usually be replaced or even improved.
But beware, prices are high: a scooter engine frequently costs more than 200 USD, when a battery can exceed 500 USD.
Better to know when choosing a model, even if the reliability of these devices is relatively good. A warranty extension is offered by most retailers, which may be worth subscribing to, especially if intensive use is being considered. Be careful, the battery is rarely covered by this extension.
Urban use: what does the law say?
With regard to gyros and hoverboards, the legislation is clear: users are considered pedestrians. As such, they must circulate exclusively on sidewalks, and use the crosswalks to cross the street. In addition, they must not drive more than 6 km per hour.
The law also states that “motor scooters must ride on the road only, provided that they are equipped with a seat, homologated and capable of exceeding 6 km per hour”.
But what about scooters without seats, by far the most common? In the absence of clear legislation, it is a tolerance that matters: these machines must travel on the road when they drive more than 6 km per hour.
But below this speed, they are allowed to use sidewalks … unlike bikes, electric or not. We insist, it is about tolerance: a policeman a little zealous can verbalize you if you circulate on a bike path or on the road with an electric scooter, cases have already been reported on various forums.
However, as early as 2018, regulations should evolve, in order to frame these new practices more precisely. Among the proposed trails, the addition of a button on vehicles (pedestrian mode), which will curb speed during traffic on sidewalks.
Like e-bikes, new vehicles should see their speed curbed at 25 km per hour. Finally, the mandatory wearing of helmets is considered, including for cyclists.
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