Electric Scooter History – Where Will It Go Next?

Updated on December 25, 2020
Is the E-Scooter Here to Stay or are they A Passing Trend

Motorized electric scooters have become one of the most cost­ effective and easy go­to travel alternative options for short-distance trips that can help to solve last-mile problems, traffic, and ecological issues.

The rising popularity of electric scooters has brought about questions of its future. Can the industry sustain its growth or is motorized scooter just a fad. In this post, we take a look back at the history of electric scooters and where they are heading.

The History of Electric Scooters

When was the first electric scooter invented?

Scooters that go by themselves were first created by Autoped in the United States in 1915. However, the Autoped transport device was gas-powered. The gas-powered device marked the first commercial offering of what would look like a modern-day electric scooter.

The gas-powered electric scooters didn’t get mass adoption. The first electric scooters to get mass appeal began to appear in the early 2000s. They were produced by Razor.

Since the mid­-2010s, this type of transport has started to gain popularity thanks to convenient, fast, and easy models of scooters from such producers as Xiaomi and Segway.

At the end of 2017 the first electric scooter rental services “Bird” appeared in the United States, and six months later.

Who was the first electric scooter company?

Many ideas derived from the first Autoped company, but there were many failed attempts. Companies that tried to produce powered scooter were lesser known and aren’t verifiable. As advancements in battery technology took strides so did the development of e-scooters.

People worldwide started talking about electric scooters as the transport of the future and see great prospects in it.

The trend for micro­mobility was started in 2014 by the Chinese bike-sharing companies Ofo and Mobike, as well as the American Jump Bike. Micro­mobility is short­distance travel on compact vehicles, from monocycles to electric scooters.

E-Scooters By The Numbers

The real explosion in this market occurred two years ago, when Lime and Bird scooters appeared in the United States.

The Bird company received $150 million in investments within a little over a year after its foundation and reached a value of $ 1 billion (a record among startups).

Lime was not far behind: news of a $250 million investment and a value of the same billion appeared just a week later.

According to Lime, in 2018, their scooter and bicycle rentals spread across 5 continents and were rented 26 million times.

It is not surprising that such companies have started to appear on the market: today there are several dozen of them, and only in Europe the largest five reached a value of $150 million.

Reasons Why Electric Scooters Are a Trend

Electric Scooter passing trends

In many cities with a high population, density E­-scooters have become part of a micro-­transport shared system along with docked and dockless shared bikes and other vehicles that meet sustainable urban mobility demand.

First of all, a huge plus of electric scooters is that they are not cars. Cars pollute the environment, destroy urban space, create traffic jams, and in general have long been obsolete as a mode of transport. Electric scooters allow you to move around the city 5­6 times faster than on foot.

At the same time, they do not emit harmful substances, take up very little space, even when parked, and almost do not require money for maintenance.

Heck, if you charge the device from a home electrical outlet, it will cost only a few dollars a month!

The ubiquity of electric scooters benefits city residents. Many people use electric scooters instead of cars, which reduces exhaust emissions and frees up space that used to be occupied by parked cars.

Users of the scooters get to work faster and have more free time. Electric scooters are safer and more convenient than many other vehicles, including longboards, gyroscuters, and segways.

And anyone can use the scooter: you only need to stand on it and hold the steering wheel.

Plus, even if such a transport suddenly fails (the motor or the battery runs out), it does not turn into a meaningless pile of iron. You can ride it with your foot, and you will also get physical exercise.

But what is wrong with e­-scooters? One of the disadvantages of electric scooter is that it is almost impossible to use it in non-­ideal weather conditions.

Cold, forcing you to wear a lot of clothes, and even just heavy rain make this transport useless. Therefore, for example, in northern states, short­term rental services for these devices do not work in late autumn and winter.

Another drawback is the human factor. In 2018, thanks to electric scooter rental services, many US cities were covered by the Scooting Toward Confrontation.

Thousands of devices appeared on the streets of Santa Monica, San Francisco and Los Angeles almost out of nowhere.

Cities and their inhabitants were not prepared for this. Due to inexperience and the lack of bike paths in many places, users of scooters often got into accidents involving cars or ran over pedestrians. People parked their gadgets in the middle of the street, and many devices were stolen or broken.

The experience of the United States shows that opponents of micro­mobility of the city can be very inventive: scooters are broken, thrown into the trash, pushed into rivers and smeared with mud.

Large companies do not disclose statistics about the amount of devices that were lost or damaged but there are some figures shared by small companies. According to Scoot Networks more than 200 out of 650 scooters in San Francisco were stolen or destroyed within two weeks of launch.

Reasons Why Electric Scooters Are Here To Stay

E-scooter passing trends

Despite the many disadvantages of e-­scooters, experts say that this form of transportation has great future. According to the e­Scooter statistics the market of this form of transportation is expected to reach $41.99 billion by 2030.

The producers of E-­scooters upgrade their previous models almost every season and launch novelty items that are not just more stylish in design but also have improved performance such as:

  • Energy-­efficient brushless inverter motor wheel with a very high efficiency, which contributes to less heating and excellent power performance
  • Airless tires made of rubberized polyurethane for excellent traction, softness and wear resistance
  • High­-capacity battery that provides autonomy of up to 30 km (or even more) and gives the motor­wheel enough voltage to develop a maximum speed
  • Easy­-folded electric scooters that can be folded with a single push of just one lever, easily and conveniently carried and stored in any place

Safety has become main priority for the developers and engineers of this popular form of transportation. New models are equipped with two braking systems – magnetic, which allows you to save energy, and foot control, which is able to stop the scooter urgently.

Modern E-­scooters are also provided with ultra­-bright LEDs that provide you with a sufficient level of illumination in the dark.

Those who are used to track the indications such as speed, distance and time can choose E­scooters with LCD­display that shows all the important features and performance in real­time.

Electric kick scooters are expected to become more and more functional, safe and utilitarian every year.

The Potential Future of Electric Scooter as a Legitimate Form of Transportation

So what is the potential future of electric scooter as a legitimate form of transportation? Is the e­-scooter going to become an integral part of urban infrastructure?

Experts believe that the trend for micro­-mobility will continue: scooters, bicycles and other similar transport will become an integral part of big cities.

For this to happen, the scooters must change: become lighter, more ergonomic, more reliable excellent power performance and high autonomy.

Some producers are already working on a self­-driving scooter that will drive itself to the nearest charging station. It may be possible to implement solutions for cities where it is winter for six months.

The market continues to grow, and people are ready to ride not only cars and not only during hot season, so there will be those producers who want to meet their needs.

The state regulations will also change. In many countries there have been already some changes related to e­-scooters integration into urban infrastructure and potentially introducing things like licenses and insurance policies.

In Singapore for instance electronic scooters have been categorized as Personal Mobility Devices. Some countries impose speed and users age limitations.

According to statistics, the market is already consolidating. Companies that occupy only one small niche, bike sharing or scooter rental, understand that they need to expand or merge with other services.

Jump and Spin were purchased by Uber and Ford, respectively, and Lime scooters can be ordered in the Uber app. As a result, there will be several major players in the market who will fight for customers and start dumping.

The situation with taxi aggregators will repeat, which means that people can expect cheaper scooter rentals.

It seems that micro­mobility will be an integral part of the cities of the future. Most likely, scooters will look different than they do now. Rent, at least at first, will be inexpensive.

But there will still be a few big players in the market, and recent startups, having secured high profits and support from investors, will go to change the market.

Lime is already testing its own car­sharing system LimePod. It is obvious that existing market giants will have to make room for competitors or come up with new opportunities for users to keep their appeal for the clients.

The development of the market and production technology will provide the rising demand. The world experts believe that e­scooters as a legitimate form of transportation have great future. For sure it is not a passing trend within the next decade.

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