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Are High Gas Prices Driving an E-mobility Moment, or Movement?

Are high gas prices behind the rise of e-mobility?

Stagnant wages, rising gas prices, and a new, “work from home” job culture are combining with a crazy a new car “sellers’ market” to get people to rethink the way they get from A to B. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, that’s creating a “perfect storm” for electric scooter sales.

WSJ’s Rache Wolfe spoke to Miami e-scooter manufacturer Fluidfreeride, about the exploding growth of e-scooters, and found that they’ve sold more than double the number of e-scooters this month than the month before. What’s more, company founder Julian Fernau says Fluidfreeride’s sales are up more than 70% over March 2021, with website traffic up about 30% since gas prices shot up at the fastest rate on record earlier this month.

Over at Bird, another well-known e-scooter manufacturer that we’ve covered before, sales are up 60% since this month (according to a spokeswoman there, cited by Wolfe). E-bike and motorized skateboard sales, too, continue to rise – but we know there’s more to it than the the price of gas and miles per gallon.

Miles vs. Smiles Per Gallon

Image courtesy Electrify Expo.

At last year’s Electrify Expo, I had a chance to experience a wide range of e-mobility products first hand, from the 649 HP Mercedes EQS to powered surfboards and personal submarines and everything in between (even the Segway C80, which is Earth’s most awesome little deathtrap). And, sure – lots of people talked about savings at the pump even then, but the real takeaway wasn’t about frugality or convenience or even saving the planet. The real game-changer was the fun that e-mobility delivered again and again.

“E-bikes take the ‘suck’ out of cycling,” said Harley-Davidson Serial 1’s Aaron Frank, at the Orange County unveiling of the MOSH Tribute special edition e-bike. And he’s right – by taking the hard work out of cycling at the steepest part of the learning curve, e-bikes offer the experience of cycling we remember as kids. All the freedom, all the speed, and none of the soreness of adult muscles the next day.

Indeed, even the Wall Street Journal article touches on this, citing the case of Alina Yakubova, who says her sanity was saved by e-scooters. “I was seriously contemplating switching to a landscaping job,” she told the WSJ, explaining the burnout from a long commute to her university job. Last summer, she discovered she could ride to the train, fold up her $900 Segway Ninebot scooter (shown, at top), and be at work within 40 minutes of leaving the house … all with a smile on her face. “You feel like that easy rider with wind in your hair!”

Easy Rider

Image courtesy Warner-Columbia films.

I’m not sure “Easy Rider” is the way I would go, but yes – these things are fun in a way that sitting in traffic for an hour, regardless of what you’re sitting in, is most decidedly not. And, once you get a taste of that fun, would you really give it up once gas prices start to slip back down and demand craters? I wouldn’t … but that’s just me. You guys know better, so head on down to the comments and let us know what you think is actually driving e-mobility sales: gas prices, or fun.

 

Source: Wall Street Journal.

 
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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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