They’re compact, convenient and incredibly capable. Electric scooters are now everywhere and have fast become a household word. You might find them parked on the corner of your street, or smoothly winding their way through urban spaces, or maybe even neatly folded up and tucked under your co-workers’ desks. Though they seem to have burst onto the scene, they’ve been around for a long time and have their own unique story. Here are 10 electric scooter facts you might not know.
1. The first electric scooter was launched in 1915
2. Famous historical figures were known to ride electric scooters
The history of e-scooters begins with the Autoped. First launched in 1915, it was manufactured by the Autoped Company of America, with the German conglomerate Krupp building it under license from 1919 to 1922. The Autoped weighed 110lbs or 50 kg, had an engine and gas tank built over the front wheel, and was capable of reaching up to 35 miles per hour.
The Autoped was used widely by men, women and businesses. The New York Post Office trialled using the e-scooter to deliver mail, while famous figures like the suffragette Lady Florence Norman endorsed its use. “Look out for the Autoped Girl” was the messaging at the time. The aviator Amelia Earheart used the Autoped in the 1930s, and the caption to a photograph of her on an e-scooter reads, “In the near future, we are told, no one will walk at all.”3. Early-generation electric scooters inspired a family of inventors
Decades later in 1985, Steve Patmont of Patmont Motor Werks invented and patented the first Go-Ped roadster. The story goes that it was built in the Patmont family garage. Though the Go-Ped was a gas-powered scooter, it shared the same striking look as the Autoped and had a large deck with a motor attached to the rear wheel.
4. The Razor kick scooter paved the way for modern electric scooters
In 2001, the Razor kick scooter became a global phenomenon and sold approximately 7 million units. In 2003, Razor developed scooters with battery packs attached, setting the stage for modern e-scooters. One of the people involved in the initial design and concept of the Razor, Wim Ouboter, tried to inspire a version of the e-scooter trend in 1990, originally envisioning them as a way of changing urban transportation.
5. Electric scooters are now used by millions of people every year
It’s a better-known fact that e-scooters have soared in popularity in recent years. Cities across America and the UK have embraced scooter-sharing systems where the public can rent e-scooters for urban commutes. In the US alone, the number of e-scooter trips increased from 38.5 million in 2018 to 88.5 million in 2019.
6. COVID-19 hasn’t impacted electric scooter sales
In the UK, many companies have reported dramatic increases in the sale of e-scooters, with some rising by 184% in November 2020 during the middle of the pandemic and various lockdowns. For many riders, e-scooters are a safe way to commute and maintain social distancing.
7. A study confirms: people like electric scooters for their convenience
One of the first studies conducted on e-scooters in 2020 found that people enjoy e-scooters for their speed, convenience and fun. Fact! Plus, respondents particularly liked e-scooters for their ability to replace car trips in urban areas.
8. In some countries it’s legal to ride your electric scooter on the roads
The laws governing e-scooter usage are constantly evolving and vary from country to country (or, in the case of the US, from state to state). New Zealand and Norway are two examples of countries which permit e-scooters to be ridden on footpaths, roads and cycleways.
9. The UK government is assessing the positive impact of electric scooters
In the UK, privately owned e-scooters can only be used on private land. However, the UK government is trialling a shared-scooter system, which it implemented in September 2020. These e-scooters can be used on public roads and cycleways, and have a maximum speed limit of 15.5 miles per hour. The government is keen to examine if e-scooters offer convenient, clean and cost-effective travel that alleviates the strain on the public transportation network.
10. From Justin Bieber to Gordon Ramsey, celebs love an e-scooter
In many ways history is cyclical, and it’s no surprise that today’s celebrities, influencers and politicians are embracing e-scooters. Ashton Kutcher, Gordon Ramsey, Justin Bieber, Sadiq Khan, Sam Smith and many others have been photographed zipping around on e-scooters.
The above electric scooter facts show that the history of these nifty vehicles is rich and varied. At The Electric Scooter Co., we’re optimistic about their future, and we’re excited to help you find your first (or next) model.