Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 23:59 — 32.9MB)
Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Email | RSS
Autonomous cars, trucks and helicopters, drones and virtual reality technology are at the center of the current whirlwind of technology innovation. But personal light electric vehicles (PLEVs) are also increasingly abundant. They’re compact, often foldable and easily transportable in boats, planes, automobiles and RVs.
They’re the scooters, simple bicycles and mopeds of yesteryear gone electric and grouped under the umbrella term “personal transporters.” And they’re used as complementary transportation for travelers or stand-alone vehicles for leisure treks and short commutes.
More than a dozen domestic and international PLEV companies, and at least two with agreements with Ford Motor Company, showcased their new machines at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Here are three examples of new mobility options, simple to futuristic-looking:
Headquartered in Fremont and manufactured in Ann Arbor, Mich., GenZe electric bikes (www.genze.com) include three ride modes, travel as much as 50 miles per charge and have a removable battery for portable recharging.
Bike lane and public transit friendly, GenZe electric bikes are legal transportation where conventional bicycles are legal. The e-bikes have a maximum speed of 18 miles per hour and include a 345 watt-hour lithium-ion battery. A display shows riders their current speed and battery charge level. Prices range from $1,599 to $1,899 and the bikes weight 46 pounds. GenZe also has a lineup of electric scooters, starting at $2,999.
Available since last June, GenZe recently collaborated with Motivate International, the operator of the Bay Area’s regional bike share system, and Ford’s GoBike program. A fleet of 250 GenZe bikes will be added in April to the current e-bike network in San Francisco.
Riders can locate GenZe e-Bikes using the Ford GoBike application. Renting and returning the e-bikes from any location in San Francisco is available using Clipper smart card or mobile phone.
Marketed as offering clean, sustainable and silent transportation for city dwellers, Ujet (www.ujet.com) debuted its lineup of electric scooters at CES. The futuristic design includes spoke-free wheels, a stealth frame, elaborate technology an weighs 31 pounds all in an easy-to-use foldable system.
Manufactured in Germany and headquartered Luxembourg, the Ujet is high-tech but easily transportable. The scooter includes a built-in HD dash camera, two USB ports as well as Bluetooth and GPS connectivity. The scooter can be paired with a smartphone using a telematics app, with wifi and 4G connectivity.
The Ujet scooter can mount two separate batteries. The smaller battery has a 43-mile range, the larger battery has a 93-mile range. The top speed is 28 miles per hour. Eco, normal and sport driving modes are offered, and the Ujet has a payload of 275 pounds. Costs range from $8,900-$9,900.
Technology makes the Ujet impressively user-friendly. The Android or iOS applications provide instructions for available parking. The app also monitors the scooter’s performance, including battery level, mileage and saved carbon dioxide emissions.
With a range of up to 50 miles, dual suspension and an array of retro designs, the Ojo electric scooter packs a lot into its stealthy aluminum frame.
Headquartered in Oxnard, Ojo scooters (www.ojoelectric.com) have a rigid construction for ride stabilization and a top speed of 20 miles per hour. An add-on battery doubles the range. There’s a dashboard touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity to use with two embedded speakers. There’s also a built-in power cord that plugs into a standard wall outlet and recharges in five hours. The scooter costs $1,999.
Ford and Ojo representatives met a recent trade show, with the result a global licensing arrangement. The carmaker is at the forefront of mobility solutions, and one of its goals is having the owners of its vehicles traveling with an Ojo in the trunk.