~e; lighting-up e-scooters

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Mon, 25 Feb 2002 16:12:01 -0600

  [thanks to * for the pointer. very practical 'new' infrastructure by way
  of slight modification. now i wonder how a hydrogen infrastructure for
  fuel cells might be buildable. the below article reminds me of a practicle
  fueling/recharing system for the segway personal transport machine. bc]

Bright Idea for Electric Scooters
By Reiner Gaertner

2:00 a.m. Feb. 25, 2002 PST

BERLIN -- Road works, traffic jams, red faces and honking horns:
Driving around in Berlin's urban, concrete jungle is no love parade.
It's no wonder an increasing number of Berliners are trying to sneak
by long traffic lines on motorcycles and scooters.

But motorcycles and scooters don't come without problems of their own,
primarily more unwanted noise and emissions in an already-polluted metropolis.

SolarMove, a startup from Berlin, believes that electrical scooters
make sense. E-scooters move silently like prowling cats. They are
zippy enough and they aren't stinkos. However, on Germany's streets
e-scooters are seen about as often as pickup trucks with American
flags ń- almost never.

What keeps e-scooters off the streets? Mostly fear of running out of
juice. Have you ever had to push a motorcycle or scooter several
miles to get home?

"Build the right infrastructure and they will come," is SolarMove's
theme. The company wants to redesign 200 streetlight poles into fuel
stations for e-scooters by 2003.

"If you were living on the sixth floor, it wouldn't be very practical
to let down a long extension cord into the courtyard, just to
recharge your scooter," said Dag Schulze, SolarMove's founder.

SolarMove is scouting several areas in Berlin, where streetlight poles
could be redesigned into "e-Tankstellen" (gas stations). But there
are obstacles. "Most of Eastern Berlin's technically outdated
lighting poles only carry power when someone pushes an old switch,
usually right before dawn," Schulze said. Another problem may be
diverting power from renewable sources into the lighting poles.

"Our goal is a truly 100 percent zero-emission infrastructure. Power
(that) comes mostly from hydro and solar energy," Schulze said.

Each lighting pole handles up to four power plugs and a billing system
that works with chip-cards. It takes up to two hours for a full
recharge, enough to run about 30 miles in city traffic.

Several motorcycle manufactures have already introduced e-scooters:
Taiwan's Kimko, France's Peugeot/EVT, Switzerland's "Twike" and Germany's BMW.

"Sales of e-scooters have been marginal, though. We've sold just a few
hundred of them," said Erhard Just, distribution manager with Peugeot
Motorcycles in Saarbr¸cken. "E-scooters are still too expensive --
around 3,500 dollars compared to 1,800 dollars for gas-powered
scooters. And batteries are still not powerful enough."

But environmental concerns and new European standards on emissions may
speed up the emergence of electric vehicles in Europe.

According to BUND, the German section of "Friends of the Earth,"
gas-powered scooters emit around 200 times more carbon-hydrogen than
cars. In 2003, a new European standard (EURO 2) is going to be
introduced. By then, carbon-hydrogen emissions have to be reduced by
60 percent. In 2006, the EURO 3 standard is most likely going to be
the death knell for many "Dreckschleudern" (dirt slings). By then,
carbon-hydrogen emissions have to meet the same emission standards as
those of modern cars.

SolarMove is already considering projects in the United States.
California, with its "zero-emissions law," which will take effect in
2003, and larger cities on the East Coast, seem to be especially
appropriate candidates. The infrastructure could be easily built up
in American cities and financed by advertisements, Schulze said.

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