Like every year I am looking forward to checking out new devices or services in the early stage of the year to test them and see if they are worth keeping over the year. My newest obsession is to get faster from A to B. Especially in a city environment. There were many times in 2016 when I had to wait for the bus, go by foot because there was no train and so on. I have an adversity towards bikes because they get stolen, they are huge and just not practical (for me). Skates are great but you always have to carry around shoes, new socks and they will not fare well when it rains. I always wanted to ride the skateboard but pushing this board all the time with one foot seems strenuous, at least up til now...
Full disclosure: This is not in any way sponsored by the manufacturers and sites mentioned in this article. Everything I write here is only based on my experiences and research.
Here are some of the very hip and modern devices that could help you cruise through the city
The first entry is probably one that you have already seen on streets. I have mostly seen children and teens using this in the last months because the devices became much more affordable and available in major stores:
The Swagtron (Photo - https://swagtron.com)
I have tried this device at conventions and tried it in a local store. It is super easy to use and balances itself quite well with you on top. Super handy for shorter distances or in the office or while shopping. You get quickly from one spot to the next with no effort. It is brilliant for airports for example. Prices are moderately low between 199 - 349€ in general for an entry level model. If you have not tried it, I recommend you check it out; it is definitely fun for kids and relatively safe because you can navigate quickly. It is also not that fast, so a perfect start for your electric mobility future.
The EGRET ONE V3 (Photo - https://www.my-egret.com)
I also rode an e-scooter before on a convention and was surprised how much speed you could achieve with a relatively small and straightforward device. This model is a lot pricier than the product before and also much heavier at around 15kg. However, it packs a lot more power and can achieve distances of approx. 25 km with a 35 km/h maxed out speed. You can just fold this device, and it is easy to use. Perfect for shorter trips. The only "shortcoming" is that you have to use your hands to steer it, which is probably a good thing since it is going a lot faster.
The Boosted Board (Photo - https://shop.boostedboards.com)
I am an absolute fan of this longboard. I do not own this particular board, but a similar one by another company. As a kid, I always wanted to ride a skateboard but got tired easily because of me having to push myself. Fast forward to the future, and now they have a skateboard with electric motors. You can achieve almost identical ranges and speeds compared to the scooter mentioned above, but you do achieve those with much more style and swag. It is also a bit more dangerous if you are not familiar with skating.
I have been using an electric skateboard for a few weeks now, and it has been a blast. No more waiting on the bus, I am saving around 15 minutes every day minimum that I can be more productive. I am happier because of the fresh air, exercise, and adrenaline.
Everything comes with a price so here you have to pay at least 400 - 600€ for an entry level board. Boards from brands like Boosted Boards will cost you 1000+€. So if you are not an avid skater already, I would not recommend those as a first choice. However, the mobility is incredible and they way about half of what the e-scooters weight, or even less.
The Monowheel (Photo - http://monowheel.info)
So I have not tried one of those, but they look fun. Based on a similar approach as the Swagtron, you stand on this device, and it helps to balance you and itself. You then just simply lean forward and it drives forward. Simple. It gets similar speeds compared to electric skateboards or scooters. It may not look that cool, but it sure seems fun and could be an excellent companion for rides in the park.
For the punch, they pack they seem a bit cheaper than a skateboard or a scooter, but still more than double a Swagtron.
I cannot say much else about this device since I have not tried it but I sure will look out for trying one should the occasion arise.
The Hoverboard (Photo - http://hoverboard.com/)
The last entry on this list is a relatively new and unknown device. It combines the coolness factor from the Boosted Board with the sleekness of a Monowheel.
This is also something I have not tried yet, but it seems perfect to use it for some offroad action. You see, all the devices above seem to be working fine in a city environment but not fit for other areas including dirt, grass or sand. This appears to be different with this machine.
It also comes with a hefty price of almost 3000€ for the entry level device. There might be other manufacturers or companies trying to build those, but I think they are the closest to a superior customer experience.
I would ride this monstrosity, perhaps when the time comes and it gets a lot cheaper.
You may think to yourself what is with e-bikes? I did not forget e-bikes, it is just that at the beginning of this article I mentioned why I do not like bikes and I find them not very practical for my daily life. However, sure, they could be another possibility for you to travel.
What are your experiences with newer devices that define mobility new for pedestrians? Would you rather drive an electric car than one of those devices above?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I am entirely happy with my electric longboard, and I am convinced that this will be a great year for cruising on new tech in the summer of 2017.
Thanks for reading!