Data collected in 2016 suggest that nearly 140 Million Americans commute to work every day. The majority of workers use transportation such as cars, trucks, or vans, but nearly 10 Million find their way to work on public transportation, by walking, or by biking.
These statistics show that there are many Americans out there that have chosen to pass on the most convenient means of transportation. So what does that mean to innovators in the alternative transportation industry? Are these Americans choosing bicycles because that’s their favorite method of travel? Could they be choosing public transportation because of the low cost?
Here we’ll take a look at some of the most popular emerging technologies for workplace commutes. Some are sexy, some are economical, but all have the potential to disrupt the marketplace.
To many, electric bikes offer the best of both worlds: one can get exercise and also be provided a powered journey when desired. Electric bikes have been popular—at least to some degree—for decades. Recent advances in battery technology have made them a re-emergent technology popular among the fitness community.
One significant benefit of electric bicycles is the ability of the exercise portion of their use to re-charge the non-exercise capacity. That is, peddling re-charges the battery! This is a perfect combination of fitness and fun for many, especially those that’d prefer not to break a sweat on their ride into work. By alternating peddling/propelling with straight stretches of the road and uphill climbs, one can arrive to work as fresh as when stepping out of the shower.
The downside for many is the price tag. Some of the most popular electric bicycles come with price tags upwards of $4,000. Just your basic models clock in around $1,500. That’s a hefty price tag for those seeking alternative means of transportation to save money. After all, you can find a pretty decent car for that price. Indeed, you could really stretch out a bus pass!
Electric Skateboards have found their way to market quickly alongside advances in battery tech. These high-tech devices provide a stand-up riding experience that still allows riders to engage their bodies if desired fully. These innovative devices come in a wide variety of materials, featuring a wider variety of options, but are much more affordable than electric bikes. For that reason alone, it’s conceivable that more commuters will look towards electric skateboards compared to bikes.
One caveat with electric skateboards is the inability of many to handle rough terrain. A bicycle has large wheels, often supported by impact-absorbing shocks, whereas the traditional skateboard design features static, hard-plastic wheels. All-terrain electric skateboards provide a solution to this problem. Companies such as Bajaboard, Kaly NYC, and Onewheel provide advanced solutions to help ensure their products offer safe and smooth rides.
When shopping for an all-terrain electric skateboard, it’s important to look at key features to ensure you’re investing wisely. Top speed, total range, battery size, and motor power are a few to pay attention to. For example, if your morning commute is only 5 miles, you can shop confidently for boards with 10 miles or higher ranges, knowing you won’t need to charge while at work. Electric skateboards are typically cheaper than electric bikes but will still cost a pretty penny.
Enter the third of the electric trifecta: electric scooters. This is the bargain options for many, considering the e-scooter market is a bit more mature, the product requires a bit less material, and the average model doesn’t need quite the engineering as bikes or skateboards. Electric scooters have been tremendous in Asian markets for several years but recently have also overgrown in popularity in some US cities.
The global electric scooter market is slated to hit $30 Billion by the year 2025. Let that number sink in. One of the most reliable drivers of this market is government support of more eco-friendly transportation methods. Non petrol-powered transportation has been the hallmark of many pro-Earth government policies and continues to be attractive to more conscientious consumers. But, enough of the sales pitch, what’s so great about electric scooters?
E-scooters—as they’re often called—aren’t as overbuilt as electric bikes or skateboards. They’re designed to provide a more casual riding experience and not necessarily a hot item in the fitness or outdoor sports communities. Sure, there’s a vibrant community of e-scooter enthusiasts, but the average rider tends to be young professionals seeking more economical means of workplace commuting. The biggest drawback to electric scooters is the inclusion of smaller batteries, smaller wheels, and generally fewer design features.
Electric-powered transportation is slowly capturing the attention of global markets. With the number of daily commuters reaching significant percentages of populations, people are looking for ways to ditch carbon-based travel. The electric scooter, bicycle, and skateboard markets are booming with potential. Anyone serious about their alternative means of travel should give products in each a serious consideration.