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While hybrid and fully electric cars are popular, their expensive price tag means people are looking for cheaper and more sustainable options, including scooters, skateboards, bikes and one wheel devices.
Everywhere you look, you’ll see initiatives to become more sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Countries worldwide are working to reduce their footprint, with The Netherlands, Canada, Denmark and Norway leading the fight to save our planet.
While there are many initiatives to become greener, including switching single-use plastic products for more sustainable options, exploring renewable energy sources to decrease carbon emissions and planting trees, PEV’s are perhaps the most important invention we’ve seen in many years.
In this post, we’ll look at the range of PEV’s available and evaluate the pros and cons of each. We think electric scooters reign supreme, but we’ll let you decide that for yourself.
Let’s dive in.
What Are Personal Electric Vehicles & How Do They Benefit The Environment?
Personal electric vehicles are a type of vehicle that uses an electric motor instead of a petrol engine. Instead of filling them with petrol to generate power, you instead charge them up through the battery, and you’re good to go.
Because these vehicles run on electricity, they’re much quieter than gasoline-powered modes of transportation and more sustainable. There are many forms of PEV available, but cars are notoriously expensive.
Micro electric vehicles continue to gain traction because they’re cheaper to buy and run. For example, you’ll spend at least £17,000 on an electric car, but most cost around £44,000 or more. But micro-mobility vehicles are much cheaper, and they’re also becoming more advanced each day.
Some advanced models can go up to 60 miles an hour and have a range of 75 miles, which is why so many people are turning to them as a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to cars.
Which Types of PEV Are Available?
There are so many micro-mobility vehicles available, and it can be challenging to know where to start. In general, you’ll see most people using electric bikes, scooters and skateboards. There are also some more unique options, such as the one wheel unicycle – but which is best?
To evaluate the best PEV, we need to look at a range of factors, including:
- Ease of Use/Safety Features
All PEV’s are environmentally friendly and will reduce your carbon emissions, but which is best overall?
Let’s take a look at each personal electric vehicle in more detail, so you can decide which one suits your needs.
The Electric Bicycle
Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are typically larger than traditional bikes and have a motor built into the frame, often with removable batteries for easy charging. E-bikes are some of the most efficient ways to use electricity on the market today and they can travel for more than 20 miles on a single charge.
One of the best things about e-bikes is that even when the battery runs out, you can still use them as a standard bicycle. You can configure the bike to give you electric assistance when navigating up steep hills but pedal to preserve the battery.
E-bikes are popular because most people have experience riding an ordinary bicycle, but how do they score on our ranking system?
The amount you spend on an electric bike depends on many factors, but e-bikes with a more extensive range and speed capability will always cost more. Low-end bikes can cost as little as £500, but the price can go up to £7000.
If you want an e-bike that offers a good range, then you can expect to spend around £2000, which might be too steep for some people, but a £500 bike would be suitable for a child, but not for commuters or outdoor enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for a compact PEV, then an electric bike probably isn’t the best option for you. They’re very heavy and not the most straightforward modes of transportation to store.
If you imagine a general bicycle and how hard it is to store that in your apartment, then you’ll understand why e-bikes aren’t exactly great for smaller homes/gardens.
You might also have problems fitting the bike in the trunk of your car, so while they’re suitable for many purposes, there are more compact PEV’s.
With e-bikes, the motor usually supports the pedals, so you won’t have to work hard when going up hills or moving through rugged terrain. The range refers to how many miles your bike can go on a single charge, and it’s particularly important for commuters.
High-spec bikes can go for about 60 miles, which is impressive considering that it’s only on one charge, but mid-range bikes last for around 25 miles. Whatever range and speed you choose, you can significantly reduce your commute time and save money on public transport.
Learning how to use an e-bike is just like – well – riding a bike. They’re straightforward, and you don’t need to worry about technical knowledge because the pedal-assisted motor does everything for you. It’s probably the best thing about e-bikes, and most people will have no problems.
The same rules with regular bikes apply to e-bikes. Wear a helmet, beware of other road users and use pads for the elbow and knees for extra protection.
Electric skateboards are popular with younger people, and if you’re a 40-year-old executive, you probably won’t be interested in cruising into the office on one of these. But let’s face it, they’re fun.
The first thing you should know about e-skateboards is they’re powered by a motor, which means you can make your way up steep hills with minimal effort. They’re also remote-controlled, and you can power them with your thumb, so you can always control when and how fast the skateboard moves.
Electric skateboards come in all shapes, sizes and finishes. Each of these factors defines how much your skateboard will cost, and the entry-level skateboards can start at £100, while premium models can cost over £2500.
If you want an all-terrain skateboard, you can expect to spend more, but it can be a good idea if you live in a rural area or want to use the skateboard on all surfaces.
Electric skateboards are incredibly easy to transport. They’re slightly heavier than regular skateboards due to the battery and motor weight, but you’ll have no problems storing your skateboard at home, work, or in your locker.
While e-skateboards have many benefits, they won’t offer the range other PEV’s can. Most expensive models can start at 10 miles and go up to a maximum of 20 miles, but you probably won’t find a skateboard that exceeds that range.
Ease of Use/Safety
Traditional skateboards aren’t exactly the safest things to use, and some people give up before they learn to master how to balance and navigate the board. Electric skateboards are safer to use than traditional ones because the motor power means you won’t have to kick off the ground so often.
You can also take advantage of the handheld remote control, which offers more stability. Overall, electric skateboards are a great option, but we’d recommend them for recreational use only.
The Electric Unicycle (EUC)
Probably the most unique of all PEV’s is the electric unicycle (EUC). Yes, the funny cycles you see clowns riding at the circus are now a mode of transportation for the average human being. They work by using gyroscopes, which work to keep you upright, so electric unicycles are not as high maintenance as their traditional counterparts.
But can the electric unicycle compete with other micro-mobility devices?
Most electric unicycles start at £400, but premium models with road tyres can cost in excess of £5000. It entirely depends on the maximum speed, range and whether your unicycle has road tyres for extra stability.
At first sight, electric unicycles seem like compact devices that would be incredibly easy to transport. Most come with handles so you can carry them, but the weight disparities between each model are extreme.
For example, one unicycle could weigh around 23lbs, while another could exceed 80lbs. If you’re interested in buying an e-unicycle, it’s best to check the weight of your preferred model before spending money because some are incredibly difficult to move around.
Some electric unicycles have an extraordinary range and can go 100 miles on one charge. However, you’ll pay for that privilege, with most models costing around £5,570 or more.
Mid-range models, which are more suitable for general use, can last between 20 to 30 miles, which is more impressive than electric skateboards.
Ease of Use/Safety
Once you learn to use the EUC properly, it can benefit you more than one wheel device because riders won’t overpower the motor. Also, the unicycle issues an alert when you’re pushing it past its capacity.
However, EUC’s have a steep learning curve that requires a lot of patience, and some people might never get the hang of it. Also, can you imagine commuting to the office on your unicycle wearing a suit? Probably not.
Electric unicycles are excellent for recreational use and certainly deliver on the fun factor- but as far as we’re concerned, they’re not the most practical PEV out there. Younger people will love using them, but adults probably want something a little easier to use and not so ‘out there.
Electric scooters are making waves globally – and for a good reason. Those child’s scooters from when you were a teenager are all grown up and come with an extraordinary amount of power.
While privately owned e-scooters aren’t yet legal on UK public roads, other countries have embraced them, and it’s only a matter of time before the British government does too, and riding an electric scooter on public roads is standard practice.
There are so many electric scooters to choose between, and they offer a lot of conveniences, so let’s look at how they compare to other PEV’s?
Electric scooters are suitable for all budgets, and depending on their speed and range, you can find a budget model for beginner riders at £299.
High-end scooters with a long range and speeds of 50 miles per hour will always cost more money, but for commuters, the investment is worth it.
It’s no secret that e-scooters are highly portable and much easier to store than electric bikes. You can also fold them, so it’s not difficult to have them in your apartment, and the scooter will also fit in your car.
We should mention that off-road e-scooters are often larger in design and heavier, so they’re more challenging to transport, but still a good option if you want to save on space.
Most mid-range e-scooters can go between 20 miles to 50 miles on one charge, but some premium models can exceed 90 miles.
If you go for a budget scooter, you’re probably looking at between 8-15 miles.
Ease of Use/Safety
Electric scooters are effortless to use, and all you need to do is stand on the deck. Between pedalling a bike, balancing on a skateboard or working out a unicycle, we can guarantee the e-scooter is a convenient option.
You’ll need to wear a helmet and be aware of other road users, but apart from that, anyone can use an electric scooter.
So, Which Is Better Overall?
When you decide which electric mode of transportation is best for your needs, it’s essential to weigh up the pros and cons of each. If you’re looking for a recreational device, any of the above options would be fine, but for commuting, it comes to a choice between electric bikes and scooters.
Bikes are probably the most familiar of all the PEV’s, but they can be bulky, which is a problem if you live in an apartment. They’re also more expensive in general, so you’ll have to spend more money to get the best range for your needs.
E-scooters are essentially the more accessible option than bikes, and they’re more portable. As the scooter is compact, you won’t need to worry about where to store it, and they’re easier to use than the average e-bike.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice, but we recommend e-scooters because we’ve tried and tested a range of PEV’s and find them to be the most convenient.
With so many fantastic e-scooter available, you’re spoiled for choice. So, why not check out our guide on the fastest e-scooters for 2022? You can read the full guide here.
Nely is an adrenaline junkie and one of her life goals is to sky dive, but until that day she gets her kicks from testing fast electric scooters. Part time scooter fanatic & part time SEO analyst. Nely’s favourite scooter is the Dualtron X.