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Month: January 2020

Electric scooters could soon be legal in the UK

Good news for the electric scooter community – a report from The Times revealed that the UK government will be discussing the legality of electric scooters in February. The general consensus is that electric scooters will be made legal, following the examples of other majors cities like Paris, Madrid, and San Francisco. 

 

After the consultation in February, and if talks are successful, electric scooters will be trialled in major cities across the UK before being legalised nationwide. It’s most likely that electric scooters will be treated much like electric bikes are currently, with similar regulations and standards to meet. 

 

There are many factors to consider when legalising a new type of powered vehicle. Some items that will certainly be discussed during the consultations include whether helmets will be mandatory, whether there will be age restrictions for riders, and speed limitations to be put in place. As it stands, riders of electric bikes must be at least 14 years of age, and all ebikes are limited to 15.5mph. It’s likely that these rules (or similar) will apply to electric scooters once they’re legal to use on UK roads. 

 

UK legislators have the benefit of being able to learn from mistakes in other major cities that have permitted electric scooters for a number of years already. For example, Paris has introduced speed limits of 20kph (approx 12.5mph), and in particular areas, the speed limit is 5kph (approx 3mph). Paris also had a significant problem with dockless ride-sharing scooters being left of pavements, causing both safety and aesthetic concerns. As a result, they’ve made it illegal to park such scooters on pavements. The UK can get ahead of any such issues by rolling out this legislation at the same time that electric scooters themselves are made legal. 

 

Making electric scooters legal in the UK will have significant ramifications. For one, many dockless electric scooter companies that have been operating in cities across Europe and the US, such as JUMP and Lime, will now be able to access the UK market. We’re likely to notice an influx of these ride-sharing services in the UK’s largest cities. 

 

Additionally, in the long-run, we could see improvements to the air quality within cities. If more people opt for electric-powered forms of transport instead of cars for their commutes and other short-to-medium journeys, then city-wide emissions will fall. We’re also likely to see less congestion and a reduction in noise pollution in the busiest areas of cities like London, Manchester, and Bristol

 

As it stands in the UK, electric scooters are classed as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) or Powered Transporters and are illegal to use on public roads and pavements under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Since electric scooters don’t require any direct human input to activate the motor (such as pedalling on an ebike does), they are classed just like any other electric vehicle, such as an electric motorbike or car, and therefore must be registered, taxed, and insured for use on public roads. Electric scooters are, however, legal to ride on private land with permission. 

 

Our CEO, Eliott Wertheimer, is obviously strongly in favour of a change in the law and believes that electric scooters may be the solution to urban transport. “The main issues for personal transport in urban environments right now are the gasses emitted by cars, buses and motorcycles, the noise generated by internal combustion engines, and the volume inefficiency of these big vehicles – they take up so much space, sometimes for a single rider. Electric scooters literally solve every single one of these points. They are the logical evolution of personal transport in cities.”

 

We’re glad to see the UK’s attitudes towards electric scooters changing. In the near future, they could play an integral role in our society’s movement towards more eco-friendly methods of transport. We think that our very own Fuze can be a front-runner in the electric scooter revolution. Be sure to check our blog regularly for the latest updates on the government’s discussion surrounding electric scooters, as well as the wider world of electric vehicles. 

Ebike Insurance – everything you need to know

Once you’ve bought an ebike, you’ll want to make sure it remains safe and sound. Whether you’re accident-prone or wary of having your ebike snatched, insurance will give you peace of mind and ensure you’re not out of pocket when misfortune strikes. Here’s our short guide on what you need to know when buying ebike insurance. 

What does ebike insurance cover? 

As with any type of insurance, the devil is in the detail. Each policy has different levels of coverage and limitations, so make sure to read the fine print before you buy. At a general level, though, you’ll want your policy to include things like Malicious or Accidental Damage, Theft, Personal Accident, and Third Party Liability. Here’s what they generally cover, and some common limitations to look out for. 

Malicious or Accidental Damage

This aspect of the insurance will cover you for damage to your ebike, caused by yourself (through an accident) or others (either through an accident or vandalism). 

What’s not covered

Malicious or accidental damage is restricted to ‘unexpected’ damage – not the usual wear-and-tear of the bike. If you’re unlucky enough to hit a pothole and come off, for example, the insurance will probably protect you against any necessary repair costs. A burst tire, worn thin over time, on the other hand, is unlikely to be covered. 

 

Theft 

Given all the benefits of electric bikes, it’s not surprising that they attract the attention of thieves, especially in cities. This part of the insurance will cover you for the amount you paid for your electric bike. 

What’s not covered

An insurance company is very unlikely to cover the cost of your stolen electric bike if you’ve been careless with it. Unless it’s been taken from your own home, insurers will expect you to lock the bike up securely when out in public areas – the frame must be fixed to an immovable object (like a bike rack) with an approved lock. These are locks that are classed as either bronze, silver, or gold according to the level of security they offer, and correspond to the value of the bike.

 

Personal Accident 

As long as you ride responsibly and within the bounds of the law, you’re unlikely to suffer a serious injury from riding an ebike. If you do happen to come off whilst riding though, you may be entitled to a payout from the insurer, depending on the injury sustained and its severity. 

What’s not covered 

This element of ebike insurance generally covers only the most serious injuries – loss of sight, loss of limbs, and Emergency Dental Treatment. Insurers aren’t going to pay out for cuts and bruises. 

 

Third-Party liability 

This covers you for accidental damage caused to other people and their property. Whilst we’re sure that you’ll make every effort to keep safe on the roads, if your attention lapses for a moment and causes an accident involving someone else (or their property), you should be covered for any damages caused. 

What’s not covered 

There seems to be quite some variance between policies with regards to limitations, but as a general rule, injury and damage inflicted on family members and their property would not be covered under Third Party liability. 

 

How much does electric bike insurance cost? 

This very much depends on the cost of your ebike and where you happen to live. We’d advise using a comparison website to filter out the best deals and choose the policy that best suits you. We ran a search for our very own Furo X, and the annual cost ranged from £96 to £198 – a significant difference in price, but reflective of the different levels of cover. 

When you’re out and about on your electric bike, the last thing you want to think about is the cost of any misfortune – whether that be an accident or theft. With adequate insurance in place, you’ll feel freer to fully enjoy your ride, safe in the knowledge that you’re covered in case you get struck by some bad luck. And if you own of one FuroSystem’s electric bikes, know that you’re covered by a manufacturer’s guarantee if anything breaks or defects within the first two years (as long as it’s not caused by normal wear and tear, rider damage, or misuse). 

Are Ebikes the future of personal transport?

Electric bikes continue to go from strength to strength. In many modern cities, it’s almost impossible to go a whole day without seeing one. Whether they are privately owned or public bike-sharing services, it’s hard to ignore their recent surge. The question is, are electric bikes just a fad or can they become the future of personal transport for the masses? It’s an important question and one that we think we have the answer to. Ebikes have perhaps the most potential of any type of vehicle for providing a long-term solution to individual travel. In this article, we discuss exactly why ebikes are the future of personal transportation. 

Current trends

Globally, demand for ebikes has grown exponentially. In the US alone, ebike sales have increased eightfold since 2014 and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. One reason for this is a change in attitudes towards cycling more generally. Cycle lanes and routes are being built all over the world, and in the UK they’re being installed and used at an ever-increasing rate. In London, for example, two cycle superhighways were opened in 2016. Since opening, use of these highways has increased by 200%, and cycling overall has increased in London by 152% since 2000 – it’s the fastest-growing mode of transport in the capital. Similar stories can be found in all major cities across the country. 

Another demonstration of this growing trend and a sign that it’s here to stay is the rise of bike-sharing services. Dockless ebikes are being spotted all across London, with the most popular companies being JUMP by Uber, Lime, and Mobike. These services allow you to hire electric bikes using your phone and leave them (within reason) anywhere once you’ve completed your journey. It’s similar to the popular Santander Cycles but has the benefit of being electronically assisted and not having to find a docking station. They’re popular in a number of other European cities and have made their way over to the UK. Investment in these services on such a scale shows confidence in the strength of this industry and will only help ebiking to be more accessible. 

City transport needs

The biggest reason for the aforementioned trend is that electric bikes meet a real and pressing need that city-dwellers have. Air pollution is a huge problem for the world’s urban areas and busy roads full of cars are a major contributor. What’s needed is an emission-free, sustainable form of personal transport which can reduce our dependence on travelling by car. Enter ebikes: a fast, affordable, and emission-free mode of personal transportation. 

Even cities and countries that have long been huge proponents of traditionla cycling have recognised the benefits of electric bikes. The Netherlands, for example, the most bike-friendly country in the world, has seen a surge in ebike popularity. One in three new bikes purchased in The Netherlands in 2019 was electric, it’s reported that 40% of ebike riders have chosen their ebike over their cars as a way to get around. 

Colorado Springs in the US is a city that’s investing heavily in electric bikes. Government officials and private companies are working together to make Colorado Springs as Smart, sustainable, and mobile as possible and electric bikes are a favoured option. 

The size and average range of electric bikes make them the perfect vehicle for travelling around a city. Our Furo X electric bike, for example, has a range of approximately 45-55km (28-34 miles) which is ideal for a day out in the city. For shorter journeys, you’ll likely walk or perhaps take an electric scooter (if your city permits them), and for longer journeys, you’re likely to favour a car or train. For commuting and making trips across a city, electric bikes are the perfect medium. 

Health

It’s hard to deny that cycling – whether electronically assisted or not – is great for our health (and far better than sitting in a car). The advantage that ebikes have over traditional bikes, and a reason they have such huge potential to become a widespread mode of transport, is because of their inclusivity. Traditional cycling is for those who are fit and able to ride, whereas electric bikes provide assistance to riders, making every journey easier than it otherwise would be. Even the fittest cyclists often dread going uphill, but electric bikes solve this problem by taking the strain for you. 

Ebikes lower the barriers to entry, allowing those who would typically be unable to ride a bike (especially in a city environment) to enjoy the benefits of cycling. Some studies suggest that regular cycling has a positive impact on those suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Ebikes offer a realistic way for older people to exercise and minimise the impact of these debilitating diseases. As we become a more health-conscious society, modes of transport that involve some form of exercise will trump more sedentary modes. 

Whether you’re ready or not, electric bikes are going to play an increasingly large role in the way we get around. Join the growing trend by getting your very own electric bike. Our Furo X is one of the most powerful ebikes on the market, offering great riding comfort and a state-of-the-art folding design. Perhaps you’d like something a little smaller and easier to carry with you – our Etura is the lightest folding electric bike you can buy. Weighing just 12kg, it’s ideal for carrying on and off trains or leaving by your desk at the office. If you have any questions about electric bikes, please get in touch with our friendly team. We’d love to help you kickstart your ebike journey! 

eBikes in the city: Improve your commute

For some people, the worst part of the daily grind is the commute to and from work. Crammed into a sweaty tube carriage, they have to endure others sneezing in their face before being cattle-herded down crammed platforms – and they have to pay through the nose for the pleasure. Others, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoy their commutes. We might be biased, but these people most likely have a commuter eBike. Here’s why hopping on an eBike will turn your commute from the worst to the best part of your day. 

 

Improved Health 

It’s no secret that more exercise leads to better health, both physically and mentally. Cycling to work provides a low-impact form of aerobic exercise that improves cardiovascular health and can even reduce the risk of developing cancer. eBikes in particular offer a more accessible way to exercise – if you suffer from joint pain, for instance, the electric motor will give you a helping hand as well as ensure you don’t need to shower and change clothes once in the office. 

 

In terms of mental health, a study by the University of East Anglia has shown that cycling has significant benefits – in addition to having improved concentration, cyclists felt less under pressure than when they were driving a car to work.

 

Cost 

eBikes are generally more expensive than regular push bikes, owing to all the benefits brought by battery-powered assistance, but they still represent an economical alternative to other forms of transport. According to a report produced by TotalJobs, the average monthly amount spent on commuting within London comes to roughly £120 per month (as calculated by the average distance travelled, and average cost per mile). The cost of an eBike, such as FuroSystems’ eTura, is approximately £1449. When spread out over 12 months this is equivalent to tube prices – after just one year though, the eBike starts paying for itself! 

 

Time spent commuting 

Could riding a bike to work actually be faster than getting the tube? According to some research done by the London Cyclist, yes it could. On certain routes, pedalling through the streets is more efficient than shouldering your way onto the tube. A bike trip from Covent Garden to London Bridge, for example, took around 40% less time than it did on the underground. Furthermore, the time benefits of cycling are probably even more than the stats suggest as train times didn’t account for entering and exiting the stations. eBikes have also been shown to be on average 21% faster than push bikes. Had a hard day at work? Jump on an eBike and you’ll be back home before you know it! 

 

Environmental Impact 

Riding an eBike to work doesn’t just benefit your health and wallet, but also the environment. Among the numerous environmental benefits of eBikes is the fact that they emit far lower carbon emissions than other forms of transport. A report conducted by the European Cyclists’ Federation found that eBikes account for an equivalent of 22g of CO2 per person/km – significantly lower than public buses at 101g, and cars at 271g. It’s even lower than emissions from London Underground trains, which are 55g per person/km.

 

The daily commute into and around the city can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Swapping the tube, bus, or car for an eBike – such as Furosystems’ eTura or Furo X – will save you money, improve your health, and make your commute much more enjoyable. 

 

FuroSystems design and produce electric bikes and scooters with aerospace-quality materials. Whether you’re looking to buy an eBike to improve your commute, or an e-Scooter for some fun, check out our range of precision-designed electric models.

Can electric scooters go uphill?

It may seem like an odd question, but it’s an important one – especially if you live in a hilly area. The short answer is: yes, electric scooters, generally speaking, can go uphill. Many cities that are famously electric scooter-friendly are hilly; the steep streets of San Francisco are iconic thanks to being featured in many Hollywood movies over the years, and even Paris, while not known for being particularly hilly, contains the Montmartre, an idyllic village area with steep streets leading up to the Sacré-Cœur. 

 

Being able to travel uphill is essentially a question of whether a scooter can overcome gravity, friction, drag, and your weight at a given angle of elevation. As such, there are a number of things to consider when assessing whether your electric scooter can go uphill. 

 

Steepness

Perhaps the most important consideration is the steepness of the hill you’re attempting to climb. Some hills are too steep for even cars or motorbikes to climb, and many cyclists will know the feeling of struggling to climb a hill and having to dismount and walk to the top. Some electric scooters may struggle with a gradient of 10 degrees, whereas the more powerful scooters can easy overcome 20-30 degree inclines. While we don’t expect anyone to measure the gradient before attempting to climb a hill, it’s a good idea to take a second to look and see whether you realistically think it’s possible to climb. If you know your scooter well enough, you’ll know its capability. 

 

Power

The power output of your scooter is also an important factor. Power is measured in Watts (W) and Torque is measured in newton metres (Nm). Torque is a twisting force that rotates the wheels – think of it as a vehicle’s ability to spin its wheels. An electric scooter’s power depends on the voltage and current being supplied to the motor. The more power your scooter has, the more torque it can produce, and therefore the more capable the scooter is of rotating its wheels. This results in more force applied by the scooter to the road, enabling it to push you uphill. 

 

For example, a 350W motor should be able to climb inclines of 10 degrees without any problems but may struggle to climb anything steeper. A more powerful electric scooter, such as our very own Fuze, with its 48V 422Wh battery and 750W motor, will be able to tackle far steeper hills with ease. In simple terms, the more power you have, the better it is for hills. 

 

Weight

The weight capacity of your electric scooter must be taken into account; it’s the factor that causes the most resistance against your scooter’s ability to climb a hill. The same exact scooter may easily climb a hill with a small rider on board, but with a larger/heavier rider, it may struggle. Choose a scooter that’s capable of carrying more than your weight – if it can only just support your weight while on a flat surface, then there’s a very slim chance that it’ll be able to carry you up a hill. 

 

Tires

The size, material, and grip of the tires on your electric scooter will decide how steep a hill you can climb. Larger wheels make it far easier to climb, and will therefore allow you to climb steeper, larger hills. The material from which your tires are made is important, and how it interacts with the road surface will create rolling resistance. This is where the tires’ shape will be slightly deformed under your weight, and this affects the wheels’ ability to spin. 

 

Further, if your tires lack adequate grip, then even if your scooter is incredibly powerful, you’ll struggle to climb as the wheels will keep spinning and won’t be able to put the power down. Adequate traction is required for hill climbs, as it correctly inflated tires. This is why our Fuze electric scooter comes with 10-inch pneumatic tires with tonnes of grip – we don’t want any obstacle to get in your way! 

 

Balance

The suspension system on your electric scooter will influence how balanced it remains while at an angle. When on an incline, most of the rider’s weight will shift towards the back wheel. If the suspension system isn’t sophisticated enough, then this weight will be transferred onto the wheel, perhaps even forcing the base of the scooter to press against the wheel. This will drastically affect your performance and increase wear and tear and should be avoided wherever possible. A more sophisticated suspension system will help to distribute your weight more evenly and allow for smoother, uninterrupted riding – even uphill. 

 

If you live in an area where electric scooters are legal to ride in public and has plenty of hills, then you’ll love our Fuze electric scooter. With a power output of up to 750W, a comfortable, elegant suspension system, and a two-year warranty, this is the best electric scooter you can buy. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions about our electric scooters and their capabilities.

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