Our electric future: beyond the vehicle

By: Leanne Sun

Driving on clean electricity is FANTASTIC, but so is biking for burritos, strolling for Starbucks, and taking the public bus/train/rail. And guess what?! These other forms of transportation are becoming increasingly electric, just like the passenger vehicle. Keeping up with the new wave of electrification can be difficult. Here we are a few new electric technologies you don’t want to miss.

The electric bike.

Riding a bike to your favorite lunch spot can be fun and maybe even faster than driving a car. The new electric bicycle has combined environmental efficiency and fun all in one. Pedego and Espin eBikes are just a few companies leading the way in spreading awareness of this new mode of transportation.

These revolutionary bikes run on lithium batteries that control the geared motors on the bike. The batteries require between 2–6 hours to charge from a standard wall outlet and can last a lifespan of between 2–4 years. The bikes currently retail between $2000-$4000 on the market.

The electric scooter and skateboard.

If bikes aren’t your favorite, and depending on your balancing skills, another option is to scooter or skate your way to the next destination. Electric scooters and skateboards have been around for awhile now and for good reason. They are fun to ride, relatively low-cost, and emit zero emissions. There are many companies currently on the market for these technologies such as Razor and Evolve. Electric scooters and skateboards typically retail between the $200-$500 range.

The electric bus.

Driving can be tiresome especially in the city traffic, so why not change it up and take an electric bus? Proterra has created a bus run entirely on electricity. This 40-seater bus is cleaner, quieter, and more efficient than your average diesel bus. Proterra claims companies can save around $237,000 over a lifetime in maintenance costs. The bus can also save $450,000 in operational costs per vehicle over the span of 12 years. Ultimately, this all electric bus is cleaner and cost effective. We hope to see this revolutionary electric transportation on our streets in the near future!

The electric airplane.

Electrification has not only taken on the roads but now it’s reaching the skies too. Recently, Zunum Aero introduced the concept of a hybrid electric airplane that could make its way into the future. The team is aiming to build the prototype within two years and have it ready to fly by 2020. The company’s founder, Ashish Kumar, believes the electric plane could cut the operating costs of fueled planes by 40–80%. One main proposal for electric planes is that they allow for a “smaller regional aircraft transportation system” which could increase travel efficiency and decrease street traffic. Although the company is still in its early stages, its idea has attracted attention from big leaders like Boeing and Tesla’s Elon Musk.

So don’t forget to change up the routine every once in a while. Why ride in a car when you can bike in style, skate away, or fly through the skies on electricity? The power of electrification is here and it’s stronger than ever. With all these innovations taking off, we are one step closer to a clean energy future.