We recently reviewed the Solowheel Glide 3 and found the learning curve to be a challenge, but overall, found Solowheel to be a brilliantly conceived and designed personal, electrified mobility solution for urban commuters.
Solutions Born Out of Frustration
On the heels of our demo, CleanTechnica sat down with the CEO of InMotion, Rose Wang, to talk about the direction she’s taking the company. Rose moved into the personal mobility space out of the same frustration that pushed Elon Musk to start The Boring Company – traffic. Her 4o minute commute from the DC area over to Virginia could without warning become a 1 hour and 40 minute commute.
Public transit in the area quickly revealed just how cumbersome the ‘last mile’ of many commutes can be. Think of this as the distance from home to the nearest public transit stop and from work/school/balet lessons to the nearest public transit stop. If it’s too far, people simply won’t use it. Solutions like electric skateboards, ebikes and other innovative solutions like Solowheel can take the edge off of these commutes and make public transit a viable option.
An an entrepreneur from early on, Rose reached out to one of the founders of InMotion China and started talking through some of the solutions they were working on to explore the possibility of joining forces. Those early talks resulted in the innovative Scooterboard, which took flight on Kickstarter and flew onto the scene. The early success with Scooterboard gave them the confidence to really dive into the partnership.
Taking on the World With Just One Wheel
They partnered to bring Solowheel to bring personal transportation solutions to more customers, and after using Solowheel as her daily driver, Rose is bullish about it, stating that, “Solowheel is really the future of transportation.”
As we covered in our review of the Glide 3, it has the potential to be a great commuter platform if it can overcome the stigma of being a unicycle — and the learning curve. Solowheel’s brushes are a potential solution to the learning curve if the company can successfully launch them or simply include them with the initial purchase.
As Solowheel stands today, it is something that riders can learn with some practice. Rose shared that, “I wouldn’t say that the learning curve is very much longer than trying to ride a bike,” and that, “one of our biggest challenges is convincing people that it’s all in their head. If you think negatively about it, you’re probably not going to put as much effort as you should into learning how to ride it.”
Whether or not they will is the question. Rose believes that Solowheel’s compact form factor and long range make it a great solution to the last mile as, “It allows humans to get wherever they want, whenever they want, without a car.”
Innovation @ InMotion
In many cities around the world, people spend hours each day sitting in or slowly grinding through soul numbing traffic. Rose and the team at InMotion are on a mission to fix that. “We want to educate the public about the potential of personal transportation.” Looking at InMotion’s full line of innovative personal electrified transportation solutions, it’s clear that InMotion is throwing an impressive amount of innovation and technology at the wall to see what customers latch onto.
In addition to the Scooterboard and Solowheel, InMotion has developed a more traditional electrified two-wheel scooter, a remote-less electric skateboard that uses the position of the rear foot as the controller, a compact electric bike, and these crazy hover shoes that look like miniature electric skateboards that are strapped to either foot. Check out this video of the hover shoes to get an idea of how they work.
Hover shoes are perhaps one of the first personal electrified transportation solutions that people can take on a plane with them, due to the compact form factor. Having said that, they aren’t the most practical solution at the moment with just a 5-mile range and a 5 miles per hour top speed, but that wasn’t the point. Rose shared that, “We were trying to get people’s imaginations moving and thinking about what’s possible.”
These solutions push the boundaries of what personal electrified transportation might look like, while giving open-minded individuals new options for getting around. Everybody in the world has different needs for transportation and it is very clear that InMotion is building innovative products to see which solutions work the best for people.
Building the Future
Looking to the future, Rose and the team at InMotion are focused on building communities of riders of InMotion’s products in cities around the world. Solowheel already has a robust community of riders online, and InMotion is working to build up communities in physical places to help new riders learn and adopt the tech. “We’re trying to establish more community around the United States.”
This is already happening in cities on the West Coast of the United States like San Francisco and San Diego, so InMotion will be making a push into cities on the East Coast of the United States over the summer to build up and encourage similar communities on the other side of the nation.
InMotion is also looking at the possibility of moving into the ride sharing. Rose shared that, “We have been talking about going into the ride sharing space. We’ve been talking about leasing models because the price point can be challenging for consumers and we want to make something that’s accessible to everyone.” With personal electrified transportation solutions springing up in cities around the world, this is clearly an area where InMotion’s solutions could find themselves a role.
Whatever the future may hold for InMotion, it is encouraging to see a company that’s pulling out all the stops to create the future of personal electrified transportation solutions that are anything but copycats of someone else’s creation. Rose Wang and the team at InMotion are literally creating the future of transportation, one wonky solution at a time.