E-Scooters: First Thoughts

I’m obsessed with technologies that improve my freedom of movement.

Cars are incredible floating living rooms, bicycles make one feel like you can fly, and walking/running are the healthiest form of self-propelled movement imaginable.

They all have tradeoffs though:

In spite of existing for many years now, I had not tried using an electric push scooter up until recently.

My curiousity with these scooters converted to obsession when it was pointed out to me how similar e-bikes are to scooters.

In fact scooters even have kits to install seatposts that make them look like e-bikes/mopeds.

So I research and narrowed down to a reasonable entry-level purchase, a Segway Air T-15:

Segway Air T-15 product page

With a coupon code and free shipping, the total price came out to be $186.34.

Segway Air T-15 product purchase receipt

This is about the cheapest you can go for such a vehicle, with the following constraits:

It was delivered to my residence in suburban San Francisco in 3 calendar days:

Boxed Segway Air T-15 electric scooter

I promptly unboxed it and rode it to get a coffee:

Scooter to coffee in San Mateo

And another coffee:

Scooter to coffee in Burlingame

My first impressions are:

  1. it is a lot of fun
  2. it could be very dangerous
  3. it won’t reach 100% penetration of usage (same is true of cars, bicycles)
  4. it has very limited ability to carry cargo besides a human (backpack/messenger bag maybe)
  5. it can be parked anywhere–for better or worse
  6. combined with transit, this can take me anywhere (although the battery prohibits bringing it on planes)
  7. the charger is so small, not a problem to bring with you to often double your range by charging at your office (for example)
  8. the cost is ridiculous cheap. Not a problem to buy another if stolen or maintenance becomes burdensome
  9. lithium-ion battery fire is something to research more closely–this is a serious safety problem
  10. theft risk is lower, as you can fold or bring it into a wide variety of places & you do not have to carry a lock

Electric scooters deliver on personal financial savings in a massive way relative to other transportation options.

In contrast to expensive car parking, you can securely store and charge your scooter inside of your residence:

Docked electric scooter inside of residence

I tested out grocery shopping with a backpack at my local grocery store:

Folded electric scooter in grocery store

Carrying a days worth of groceries in my backpack was not a problem and did not cause stability issues as I rode home.

In the weeks after purchase I used my scooter in combination with my local commuter train.

Folding it made it trivial to carry on to the train, although at 23 pounds this model is much lighter than typical scooters I saw in my research (more common is 40 pounds or more).

Overall, I would highly recommend electric scooters with the caveat that safety is possibly the biggest hurdle to overcome:

I hope to address in a future blogpost about what safety precautions can be taken both personally and societally to elevate electric scooters as a preferred transportation option.

Hope this helps!

· bicycles, transportation, scooters, micromobility