Company behind Copenhagen Wheel scoots into ride-sharing
Way back in 2009, a bunch of MIT scientists hit on the idea of creating an easy swap-out bicycle wheel that had an electric motor at its heart. It took a good long while for the concept to become reality, but in 2017 the Copenhagen Wheel was released. Now the manufacturer – Superpedestrian – is getting into the ride-sharing game with the launch of a new e-scooter today.
"Shared scooters must be super-robust, require minimal charging, and be smart enough to sustain themselves on city streets for prolonged periods of time, all while costing a few hundred dollars to produce," Superpedestrian's Founder and CEO Assaf Biderman said. "These challenges cannot be address using technology from automotive or consumer electronics influences, and that's why major sharing operators worldwide are partnering with us for solutions."
Superpedestrian's industrial grade electric scooter is reported capable of rolling along for three to seven days on a single charge, which translates to 60 miles (96.5 km) of electric range.
The company says that fleet scooters can break down or require replacement as often as 30 to 90 days. Its e-scooter has been designed to live on the streets for nine to 18 months before any signs of trouble begin to appear.
The e-scooter comes with something called Vehicle Intelligence baked in, which allows it to monitor its own health as it rolls along or is parked up between rides. If an issue is detected that requires an engineer to be called out, the two-wheeler will automatically alert the share scheme operator for action, something that's said to help reduce the time and cost of vehicle downtime.
Superpedestrian also points out that relying on one vehicle hardware platform could help fleet operators comply with ever-changing regulations, allowing them to apply speed or power restrictions over the cloud as needed.
No detailed specs for the e-scooter have been revealed at this time, but you can see what's on offer in the video below.
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Lime recently began distributing scooters in my city, and I decided to give one a go. My first impression was definitely not good.
Here are the problems with the Lime scooters:
1) Really awful, rough ride. Several reasons for this: no suspension, wheels too small, hard rubber tires.
2) Too costly to rent. It cost more than driving my car to go the same distance.
3) The do not have nearly enough torque for the local hills. They're only good on relatively flat ground. That's not good, considering half or more of this city is very hilly.
4) Front "regenerative" brake was inadequate, and the only other option is a "rear fender brake". In other words, you use your rear foot to step on the rear fender. That not only threatens your balance when the ride is rough (as it is on these things), but it's also very noisy and creates unpleasant vibrations.
If this thing solves those problems, and is affordable -- never mind its other features -- I'd buy one.