Friday, May 9, 2014

An American Built E-Scooter(?)

It's no secret - I love scooters and I really love electric scooters. So, I really want to be excited about this news of a Mahindra electric scooter that appeared on today, but I have my doubts. Maybe it is just a matter of perspective.

The good parts:
to be built (assembled?) in Ann Arbor, Michigan
large cargo hauling area
well equipped

The neutral:
30 mile range (not bad for the urban rider, but none too exciting for those of us who get around a bit)
not too ugly

The bad:
30 mph top speed - and this is where the perspective part kicks in. 30mph is a bit of a dead zone here in my suburban town. All residential streets here have a 30 mph posted speed. Median speed on our residential streets is somewhere around 35 mph. All non-residential streets in town have posted speeds from 35-50 mph. Median speeds are more like 42-55 mph. And Lubbock drivers grow quite hostile when confronted by someone who has the nerve to travel at less than the median speed. On a bicycle or electric bicycle, it's not as much of a problem. Bicycles ride beside traffic, not in it. But scooters ride in traffic.

I built an old electric scooter, and I like riding it as much or more than any vehicle I have ever ridden. But it has a top speed of 28 mph. (I was shooting for 35 mph, but my calculations were a bit off, snagit!) When it is parked, it is the belle of the ball! Everyone loves it! When it is travelling down the street at maximum velocity, the drivers behind it grow irate. They honk. They ride up as closely as possible. If they get an opening, they dangerously swerve around it. I love that scooter, but I seldom ride it.

She's lovely when parked ;-)

And then there is the other, probably more important part. Americans don't like scooters in the real world. They like them on TV, in magazines, on romantic greeting cards, in a boat, on a mote, etc. But we are a land of wretched excess, and a 150 lb scooter has no place in the land of the 800 lb Harley and the 7,000 lb Escalade. In photos taken outside the US, you will see swarms of scooters parked everywhere. You do not see those photos taken here.

So, Mahindra, I hope your bike does well here. But I don't think I will be a potential customer, at least not until you offer the 40 mile/40 mph model.

May you smile (rather than curse) when you encounter a 28 mph scooterist.