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Solving the Last Mile Issue: Electric Bicycles vs E-Scooters vs E-Skateboards

Though it is not exactly new lingo, we understand that you probably have never heard of the term “last mile”. A phrase coined in the telecommunications sector, its usage in urban travel is to describe the last leg of a journey in an urban area: that walk from the bus/metro stop, distance from the parking lot to the office, a literal mile from your destination. With a global urban population that is bordering on a billion, chances are high that you live in an urban area and have to face the last mile problem. The latter is due to a myriad of reasons that include inability to afford a car, the fact that trains and buses do not drop us off at our exact locations, and traffic congestion.

So, how then do you get from Point A (home, office, gym) to Point B (bus stop, train station)? What means are available to you to make this commute easy and timely? In this article, the focus would be on how anyone of three personal electric vehicles (PEVs) – electric bicycles, electric scooters, and electric skateboards – can be employed as solutions to the decades-long and still ongoing last mile problem. Each would be discussed based on its merits, demerits and how it compares to the other one-person e-transportation vehicles in relation to efficiency, speed, and convenience in urban areas.

Electric bicycles

Electric bicycles outstrip their traditional counterparts by far. Riding an electric bicycle means you sweat less (this is very important), travel faster, and can get help pedaling up a hill. Win, win, and win! When you see that these improvements are not at the expense of comfort or the ease to learn how to ride, you see why e-bikes are a great option for that last mile.

Merits

1. Assisted biking

Electric bicycles come with battery-powered pedal assist. This feature aids you when you ride and comes in handy in more than one situation. From reducing the strain on your thighs, to helping you speed up, climb hills, and also getting that extra boost at day’s end when you are too tired to pedal the long way home, the pedal assist is the friend you did not know you needed.

Assisted biking make the whole endeavor less sweaty (very key as you had to work), fast, and available to those who want to ride but have not much strength to pedal for long.

2. Speed

Electric bicycles are fast! For a battery-powered PEV, they get you to your destination fast, without sweats, and feeling good from the endorphin overload. You get to cover miles in no time, easily switch lanes, and no pit or gas stop. Can’t beat this, my man, especially if you live in a logjam, bumper-to-bumper, urban area.

Get in on the act as a forerunner as there is a chance you would be one of many soon as more people live closer to work and give up driving cars in a bid to save the planet.

3. Physical conditioning

If the sum of your strenuous activity is having to peek at your laptop all day, with the occasional walk to the filing cabinet, the electric bicycle is here to save you. Riding the e-bike affords you a chance to get a good bit of work out in to counter the effects of your sedentary lifestyle. You are able to build your core, boost your cardio health, tone your calves, thigh muscles, stomach muscles, and burn off calories, all with the air on your face and while doing something fun.

Even though e-bikes come with assisted pedaling, you will still get your workout as. On just a single full charge, your e-bike can last for an 18-mile journey at speeds of 25mph. So, every day you get to do this is a day you boost your physical conditioning and fitness.

4. Eco-friendly

No exhaust, runs on clean energy, and made from durable materials, electric bicycles don’t cause litter nor do they foul up the atmosphere.

5. Available

Acquiring an e-bike is easy. Skedaddle down to amazon or just ask Google for where, and voila! Ẹ-bike!. This is true of a large number of countries, especially those with constant power supply. If it isn’t in a store near you yet or available in your country, you just wait as it is only a matter of time.

De-merits

1. Licensing

Due to their attainable too speed, users of electric bicycles can only do so on roads after obtaining the required licenses. This process can be long but very much worth it.

2. Cumbersome

Imagine having to climb stairs, board a bus or the train, while towing your e-bike along. Looks like a chore yea? Well, the lack of portability is minus for electric bicycles. This can however be mitigated against if your last mile problem actually falls within the ẹ-bike’s distance range. That is, if your take off point and destination are within 15-20 miles.

3. Expensive

They don’t come cheap. From top-of-the-line products that go for as high as $7000 to budget-friendly and durable ones like the Cyrusher G60 (pictured below) which goes for between $1600 to $1900.

There are many e-bicycles in the market with each promising a lot in terms of range, comfort and price. Some of these are false. Your considerations when you look to acquire an electric bicycle are your size, terrain, and the battery power. The range of an electric bicycle depends on these. Most electronic bicycles have a range of about 30 miles or less. However, a lot of e-bikes give you far more.

Electric scooters

No carbon footprint. Easy to use. Portable. Good for short distances. These are all features electric scooters. These cute PEVs will get you where you are going with no fuss.

Merits

1. Cheap

Of the three PEVs focused on in this article, electric scooters are the easiest and cheapest to obtain. This budget-friendly feature means even a low-income who needs one can afford it.

2. License requirements

Due to their very limited speed, electric scooter riders would most likely not need to apply for a license before they can ride it to and from their destination.

3. Safety

The limited speed (still good at 16mph) makes it easy to maneuver, allowing you to focus on the road ahead and also brakes that respond fast in emergencies.

4. Portable and time-saving

Most electric scooters are portable. So, logging them around is not an issue. This feature aids its ability to save you from wasting time stuck in traffic, parking lots, or even gas stations.

De-merits

1. Speed

Compared to the other PEVs, electric scooters are relatively slow. Outside of this, there is really nothing to knock the electric scooter as a choice to solve the last mile issue.

In addition to these, electric scooters are also easy to maintain, comfortable, and need no parking space. You might feel an electric scooter is slow, especially when compared to how fast you can go on an electric bicycle and even an electric skateboard. All these worries are forgotten, or at least shoved to the back when you start zipping through traffic, and are able to quickly slow down when you need to navigate tight spaces or safely pass by cars. Now more than ever, you can take full advantage of the lanes in-between cars backed up in traffic so long you retain situational awareness at all times. On a side note, there is only a slight chance of major injury if someone suddenly opens a car door as the slow speed means you can react and brake in time.

If you want one, go for the Xiaomi M365 electric scooter which goes for just $499. It is responsive, light, maneuverable, and comfortable because its 8.5-inch air-filled tires absorb small shocks and bumps, reducing the strain on your ankles and knees. A top speed of 15.5 mph and a range of 30 miles make it an affordable and great choice.

Electric skateboard

Tony Hawk and the X-games made cool what was already a popular summer pastime: skateboarding. The innovations that form part of the electric skateboard do not take anything away from this fun activity. Remember the hover board craze? Yep. Imagine how cool it is to glide down a street, around people, pull a stunt or two (stay safe always), all the while geared up like a mix between Harvey Specter and Bob Burnquist. Not only are a sure sight for sore eyes, you get to beat traffic.

Merits

1. Acceleration

This is important for a last mile vehicle. Electric skateboard can accelerate to up to 25 miles per hour and cover more than 30 kilometers on one battery charge. This speed is especially useful when you are riding on a smooth surface as you do not need a downhill slope to gather momentum. In addition to this, the braking system is far more solid than what you will get on traditional skateboards.

2. Easy to learn

Yes, I said it. Come on, don’t roll your eyes. What’s a few skinned knees when the pay off is looking smooth as you glide along? Yes? Great. Electric skateboards are as easy to learn to steer as their traditional ones. This is even made so as many skateboards come with different modes you can choose based on your level of skill. For a start, do pick the beginner’s mode.

3. Self-powered

Electric skateboards, with their battery-powered motors, have brought to an end to the era of the leg push. Say goodbye to having to push with one leg on the board and the other on the floor in a bid to gather momentum. Can I get a yay?! With its remote controller, you can leave the powering to the battery while you concentrate on the road.

4. Portable

This is an important element for a PEV to have. Electric skateboards are usually light and can be thrown into a bag or just lifted by one hand. They are not cumbersome and not a headache when you have to climb stairs or board a bus or train.

5. Regenerative braking

This is a recharge-as-you-ride feature. This ensures the battery gets recharged whenever you use the brake.

With an electric skateboard, navigating through traffic is easy and not as demanding as the traditional board. No leg-pumping, better braking system, less sweating,

De-merits

1. Safety

With a top speed of around 25 mph, a range of 18 miles, and not weighing much, electric skateboards are your best choice for price and portability. However, as personal electric vehicles and a choice as solution to the last mile problem, riding an electric skateboard is a dangerous option. This is because you do not have the balance nor safety that a bike and scooter give you. The brakes don’t work as great, your reaction speed has to be very high, and something as small as a pebble can derail and even get you tumbling

2. Weight

The batteries of electric skateboards last as long as they are charged and the weight of the rider. The heavier you are, the faster the battery consumption. So, you always have to keep them charged if you are not a light person.

If you have decided to get one, go for the Ownboard W1S (pictured above). With its three modes –beginner, middle, proficient-, top speed of 25 mph, coverable distance of 18 miles, a max load of 120kg, and regenerative braking, it is a steal at just $377.

Conclusion

Before closing out this article, a much-needed warning. As electric bicycles, electric scooters, and electric skateboards slowly gain traction as vehicles of choice in urban areas with last mile issues, safety must never be compromised. The addition of batteries to these traditionally, just-for-fun vehicles means they can now go faster on less energy expended. It behooves on you the rider to understand that these innovations come with the increased danger of injuries and accidents. Experience will not save you from these. At all times, protect yourself. As you surf the net looking for a PEV that suits you, be on the lookout for protective gear too.

Having said that, let’s close this. The afore-discussed personal electronic vehicles all have their pros and cons. In terms of portability, your best choice is an electric skateboard but this is at the expense of good brakes, relative safety, and speed. Price vary as it is dependent on battery size, material used, and durability. An electric bicycle, with the high wattage, assisted pedaling, comfort, and ease of use assures you of speed and also less energy expended (this means little or no sweating too) pedaling or trying to keep your balance. For as low as $2500, you can get yourself a durable electronic bike as you bid to beat traffic. Electric scooters really are a class of their own. Better balance than an electronic skateboard but no seat like on an electronic bicycle. It is your best bet for navigating the lanes between cars and other vehicles stuck in a hold up, giving a cheeky wave as you glide past probably frustrated drivers (thy probably wish they are on your scooter too). There are high-end ones, but you can finagle one for yourself with just $300.

PEV

Average Range (miles)

Top Speed (mph)

Price range ($)

Pros

Cons

Recommendations

Electric Bicycles

30

27

1500-9000

Comfortable.

Fast.

Long-lasting batteries.

Ease of use.

Cumbersome, especially if you have to carry it around or up and down stairs.

G650 Folding Electric City Bike Full Suspension 7 Speeds 500W.

Price: $1540

Top speed: 30 mph

Range: 30 miles

Weight: 20kg

Features: Foldable, aluminum alloy frame, lithium battery, maneuverability, 20-inch wheels.

Electric Scooters

14

16

100-1500

Maneuverability.

Sharp brakes.

Affordable.

Great for moving in-between held up cars.

Portable and easy to carry around.

Slowest of the PEVs herein discussed.

Xiaomi M365 electric scooter Price: $499

Top speed: 15mph

Range: 18.5 miles

Weight: 12.5kg

Features: 8.5-inch air-filled tyres, foldable, wide range of speed options,

Apple and android app connection and lock

Electric Skateboards

18

25

300-900

Cool! Unleash your inner Hawk.

Portable as some versions even come with bags you can put them in.

Affordable.

Easy to learn as most e-skateboards have beginner modes.

Accident-prone.

Dangerous.

Poorest braking system of the three PEVs discussed.

Shortest battery power.

Ownboard W1s Electric Skateboard 38″ High Speed.

Price: $377

Top speed: 25mph

Range: 20 miles

Weight: 12.5kg

Features: Regenerative braking, beginner’s mode, dustproof and longlasting ceramic bearings, wireless remote, and battery.

Irrespective of your why, be it for recreational purposes, as a tool for bonding, your contribution to saving the earth from global warming, or just plain wanting to get to and from work without getting stuck in traffic, the new of personal electric vehicles (PEVs) should be your first port of call. They are convenient, cool, easy to maintain, and are designed for adults. Electric scooters, electric bicycles, electric skateboards and other PEVs are environmentally friendly and are here to stay, so you might just as well get with the program. On the off-chance that you cannot afford any of the PEVs, you can check if your city has a bike-sharing system in place or you can look to take advantage of fire sales, Black Friday, and other discounts.

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