Sean O’Kane of The Verge is predicting that cities and consumers in the U.S. may soon realize there are better, more fun ways than their personal automobile to take short trips around town.
Longer range. Smaller batteries. Sleeker, more integrated designs. These are things you can expect to hear touted in 2017 by the companies that make “electric rideables” — an imperfect catch-all term that covers everything that offers electric mobility.
The US may have mostly turned its back on hoverboards (even before they started going up in flames), but electric skateboards and longboards can be more than a novelty “last mile” vehicle, much like scooters are in other countries — especially when the prices start to drop.
If problems like range are solved, and smart features that make sense are added, will that be enough to convince people to ride an electric skateboard to work? Or even something like the Ford Carr-E, which is like a glorified Roomba?
And how about a more concerted focus on accessibility? Companies have shown they’re ready and willing to generate novel ideas in this space, but as they expand on that impulse they’ll need to do a better job showing us why we need them in the first place. 2017 would be a good time to start.