23 June 2008

Bookmark this: an affordable electric scooter that goes above 20 mph

On Friday morning, I was on my bike, on my way to work as usual, when I encountered traffic down the street from my building, which included a few other bikers and a guy on a scooter who smoked me as a traffic light turned green. At the next light, I caught up to him (satisfying, you have to admit), and I moved into the crosswalk as I usually do, when all of the sudden, the scooter dude called out my name. Eh? It turned out to be a friend of mine from undergrad, Davide, who lives just a block south of me. In our brief conversation over the course of the next half block, where Davide was kind enough to slow down for me, he told me about his scooter, that it's electric, that he got it online, that's its Chinese and it works great. Later when I got to work, I looked it up, and lo and behold, the electric R-20 from EVT America does exist - and it goes up to 45 mph! AND it doesn't cost you your first born child to buy it; in fact, according to the web site, its $2499 plus $400 for shipping, which, all told, is cheaper than many new gas-powered scooters. Intrigued, I emailed Davide to ask him about his experience with it, and this is what he had to say:
"it was not the easiest thing, buying a bike, i've never ridden, and it came unworking, so i had to be patient. I got a new controller for it, and actually disassembled it, and did wiring, almost shocked myself.

But its paid off now, i take it to work everyday in Culver city, and have free, clean transportation, and learned a lot about electricity in the process, and met some guys that build their own e-bikes and cars, etc.....

....I would like to take a light rail, when it opens, but until then, i wanted to stop being a tool to oil companies, and this is what i bought."
So there you have it. Who ever thought that not one, but two graduates of UC DAAP would be urban pioneers in the rejuvenated Downtown Los Angeles, trying to lessen our carbon footprint by using alternative transportation. For those of you who think that you couldn't commute by scooter over long distances, well, Davide proves that you can go from Downtown to Culver City and back on an electric scooter - sure he has to take surface roads, but honestly, traffic on the highway is probably terrible at that time anyway. I, for one, am so impressed by Davide's perserverance with his electric scooter, and so encouraged to see that it can be done. I'd like to get one too, but alas, I am a poor grad student, so I'll stick with my motor-free two-wheeler for now.

image of the R-20 courtesy of evtamerica.com

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