China Has Electric Scooters. America Needs Them

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on December 6, 2009

I’ve been in China for about two weeks (one in Shanghai, the other in Beijing). I keep seeing totally electric two-wheel scooters everywhere. China has had all-electric scooters for years. You plug them in. Or you pull out the battery and take it inside to juice it up. It’s so obvious a solution, why doesn’t the US and Europe have them?

Yes, of course, China uses soft coal to generate most of its electricity so it’s cleaning up its cities at a cost. But it is also putting big efforts in solar, wind, nuclear and hydro. Combine clean generation of electricity with all-electric vehicles like the scooters and you have….Yep. the future.

I also see solar water heaters on house roofs—all over both cities. They are simple—they heat up enough water for a shower or to wash dishes—but people are using them. In huge numbers.

I’m impressed. We should all be impressed.

Reader Comments

Interconnect

December 6, 2009 2:24 PM

Electric scooters isn't new, seen in Thailand, Europe. Countries in the region with PTA/FTA trade agreements will certainly benefit with technology/trade from China. If information is sent for the companies which produce these scooters/motor cycles under quality criteria. eMail: interconnect.partner@gmail.com

Greener China

December 6, 2009 2:51 PM

Bruce.

Glad you were impressed!

One thing to consider, and it is the same problem I think many see for eCars, is that the average city is just not ready for these.

Density is something the US does not have outside of a few cities...

r
www.cleanergreenerchina.com

Adolph

December 6, 2009 3:31 PM

YEP! CHINA is the future. I have full confidence that CHINA will be developing more and more greener for the benefit of CHINA and its friends.

scooters and water heaters

December 6, 2009 4:43 PM

Have you looked at the temperature outside? Too cold for scooters in most of the country.

These scooters are more dangerous than motorcycles. At least a motorcycle can merge and flow with traffic.

Also, We have energy efficient tankless water heaters which are made in USA. :)

Stephen Reynolds

December 6, 2009 8:35 PM

Bruce, I wholeheartedly agree. Since I first laid eyes on one some years ago it seemed to fit a crucial part of human movement - longer than walking, shorter than driving. It is unsurprising that the most robust and technically advanced are made in California (well, Nevada technically) by family-owned enterprise Go Ped. The li-ion batteries come, naturally, from China, but the clever engineering and power train is all-American. It shows. Surely they are a model for the new century? their website is www.goped.com

Joel

December 6, 2009 9:22 PM

The fact that solar hot water, and clothes lines in backyards/tops of apartment buildings, don't happen is a real wasted opportunity and a waste of resources.

Chin-An

December 7, 2009 12:59 AM

Not only they (the scooters) are eco friendly, they are also cheap to buy and cheap to operate. You can get one for less the $1,000 in China. They are also quiet, sometimes too quiet you can not hear the coming. The only problems with the electric scooters is that the range is limited to about 30 miles and the speed is also limited.

Notsurprised

December 7, 2009 1:09 AM

Well I'm not really surprised China is leading in green technology. There are really no incentives for America or the West to start rebuilding everything in green technology. America does not have the money anyhow. Green technology will make China look at America in the rear view mirror and America can't do anything about it.

Daniel Christadoss

December 7, 2009 1:52 AM

Bruce,
Why is it that electric scooters are not becoming popular in the US. What can we do to make them popular in the US. Would it have to be dedicated scooter ways for the riders? Or would it have to be a redesign of cities and our mass transportation models? I know scooters could be a boon for college campuses and smaller sustainable cities.
I have come up with a not so original concept for what Chris Bangle in Singapore called a Personal Emotional Mobile. I have christened it the pemmPOD. It is a hybrid of a PC, Media Station, Solar/Electric Mobile and an office work station. It is completely modular, can be assembled from components and possibly use a lot of renewable material. It can be open sourced and run on Google Wave as a virtual factory. At this point it is more of a dream. You can see it under the pemmPOD category at http://dancrissco.wordpress.com/
A lot of these writings have been inspired by your editorials and by Tim Brown's recent book.
Do you think the peemPOD has any promise for the US or the world?

Walt Gurdak

December 7, 2009 3:54 AM

Feet. We all have them. Personal human emissions are quite low. The reason why I mention this is that China is building cities from scratch. If commercial and residential areas were integrated, motorized transport would not be necessary.

Also, the Chinese are transitioning from bicycles to electric scooters. Good luck getting people transitioned from SUVs and motorcycles to short distance, possibly slow scooters.

The 'green technologies' you are describing are more a means of survival than a choice to save the planet. If electricity or gasoline is too expensive or unavailable you do what you can to make do. Drive through any back-woods area in the U.S. and you'll find solar water heaters.

FalconEVdotCom

December 7, 2009 11:24 AM

Falconev has a good dual motor E scooter, check it out at www.falconev.com

Dhaval Dhabliwala

December 7, 2009 1:02 PM

Great article. The Chinese are doing some basic, common sense things and it is all making sense. Their solar panel production is up there where it can make a difference. They are a lot cheaper now and getting cheaper everyday We shouldn't be waiting on Government incentives to change our ways. Once a few communities take the initiative, it will snowball into a movement.

m.r.

December 7, 2009 2:12 PM

electric propultion is the way of the future, in fact, as the storage of power to drive these engines for now is not up to the advantages. for the moment, a hybrid of internal combustion and battery is the way to go.
also, for most buyers, the advantage of hybrid or all electric is not an economic option when you consider all the costs to make, run and maintain such a vehicle.
for the moment, lighter, smaller, more gas efficient, and lesser use of these vehicles makes more sense.
the cost to produce energy is going up and so will the price. change will come!

Jim

December 7, 2009 11:53 PM

What's wrong with the bicycles they have had for decades in China? Why do the Chinese need (coal fired)battery powered vehicles when human powered works just fine? I dont see the breakthrough...

Also, their trains in Hong Kong and Bejing are way better than ours here in the US.

niko

December 8, 2009 2:41 AM

i would be really careful about mentioning china is the future. they re of course developing very fast, but only in terms of tech, economic.
europe has a very long history and their success came very slowly along the society and culture improvement and readiness, and i dont see this in china, i think the society is not ready yet for this pace of development. the government is really pushing the people too hard to achive what the government want. i hope, they re not overlooking it.

niko

December 8, 2009 2:41 AM

i would be really careful about mentioning china is the future. they re of course developing very fast, but only in terms of tech, economic.
europe has a very long history and their success came very slowly along the society and culture improvement and readiness, and i dont see this in china, i think the society is not ready yet for this pace of development. the government is really pushing the people too hard to achive what the government want. i hope, they re not overlooking it.

Dan

December 9, 2009 1:16 AM

@scooters and water heaters,

The safety you mentioned isn't a problem in China, where there are wide bike lanes. These "scooters" are just motorised bicycles for those who don't want to do the work. They are only allowed where bicycles can go. That's why it doesn't require a driver's license.

Yes, it would be a problem to American cities where there are not enough bike lanes and parking. Cold isn't a problem, people over there will ride bikes and scooters even in snowy days, to my horror, without a helmet.

I remember renting one to go about sight-seeing. What a joy. Taxis are cheap, but this mode of transport gave me more freedom.

Ben

December 9, 2009 8:50 PM

"It’s so obvious a solution, why doesn’t the US and Europe have them?"

We DO have them, and that's how we know they're NOT a solution.

Only a very, very small minority of people can possibly use one of these. They would have to live and work in a relatively small, densely populated city...and have no need to transport a child, a spouse, or more than one bag of groceries. (And that's assuming that the weather will cooperate!)

And without a critical mass of the population willing to use them, cities will never have the leverage to make the infrastructure modifications to accomodate them safely.

We went through this before with the Segway.

Uncle B

December 10, 2009 12:51 PM

America about to face convulsive paradigm shifts not due to Climate change, bad money, oil shortages but due to Asin Fact! Asia now competes for the finite resources of the world - directly with America, and with a very strong Yuan, as well as more, better educated folk at the top, not so influenced by the demands of lobby groups ans more able to respond to the "Bigger Picture" where China is winning hands down on the economic front! For Americans to go to electric scooters is a step down from Mustangs, Casmeros, For Chinese to go to scooters is a step up from walking, bicycles! They are poor, evolving, America is rich, wilting into "Third World" resources spent! two different countries, to different situations! Communism in China gives a base to their version of Capitalism the U.S.A. doesn't have! Beware! they are not the same! America will follow the U.S.S.R. into the abyss in the next decade! China has been China for 6000. years!

Mark

December 12, 2009 5:20 AM

Taking off from Ben's comments, there is the PUMA collaboration between GM and Segway. The little electric seems capable of transporting a passenger, groceries, briefcase, etc. in good or bad weather. This is taking the Segway to the next level. It's in the experimental stage, but certainly demonstrates a possibility.

mukesh

December 12, 2009 8:58 AM

It was nice article it gives me lots of knowledge that what we should do to get traffic in our websites.very useful list for link building. This provides a good back link to your website. Thank you very much for sharing.

IT provider

Augi

January 21, 2010 9:49 PM

How about creating electricity everytime you turn the hot water on to shower or wash dishes.Its happening in Holland. With the use of a small generator powered by an external combustion or Sterling engine you make electricity everytime you turn the faucets on.

Charles Andrew

January 24, 2010 4:30 PM

Look under electric bike on ebay. They are about $1000.00 and up. You go to a judge and have him order the xDOT to issue a title and that is free. The plate in PA is $9.00 and liability insurance is $75.00 from Progressive.
Palm Springs California police has been using them for years. Penn State University just bought some $5000.00 units.
charlesandrew@gmail.com

KZ

January 27, 2010 8:45 AM

I live in China. The reason for all the scooters, and bikes is because the poor.. and most Chinese are poor, cannot afford a car! It costs $5000 usd for a car license alone! Scooters are more "affordable" at only around $300. That's for the full size, electric scooter. Besides,can you imagine the money and taxes we'd all have to pay to make up laws, scooter lanes, and so forth? No Thank you. You should see the deaths on the roads I've seen Car V Scooter is not pretty.

Also on the water heater issue... THAT is because traditional houses/apt's do NOT have hot water! Getting the solar heater is the only way to have hot water in their home. A lot of sinks are on the outside of dwellings. The apt's, traditional Chinese ones, not the cushy expat ones, do not have piped in heated water.

After living here for 2 years... I am not impressed. No one should be impressed.

Doug Wilder

February 27, 2010 5:11 PM

Bruce, you should consider taking your family and moving to China to be a citizen. Why is it that morons like you keep wanting the US to be more like Europe, more like China? If these countries are so great, just relinquish your US citizenship and move there. We've got communists like Van Jones and yourself who say they hate the US system but are still here! Get out of the US!!!!

VC

March 25, 2010 1:09 PM

Here in Tucson, the local Cost-Co was selling electric powered scooters. According to a co-worker who purchased one, they were street legal. However, the local officials change the law requiring that all vehicles had to have a longer range, which the scooters could not meet.

Ignore Doug W. One of the cool things about living in America is that even morons are tolerated.

khar

March 30, 2010 7:58 AM

if you're talking now about electric scooters or any type of personal,individual transport median, you're missing the whole point of the sustainable development, in the future. The future really belongs to totally another aspect of what the Chinese are doing now; high speed mass rail system. Even that is not the key; the key will be redesigned mega city where there's only high speed mass rail system and high rises ( 2050 stories buildings) are the only form of dwellings. It is the only solution that will save the world from the immediate threat of the catastrophies made by us; individual transport systems, tools, and dwellings in the form of single homes which not only takes us too much space but only encourages our wasteful habits of scarce resources such as metals, fossil fuels and polutions of invaluable resources such as air and water.

Richard

April 4, 2010 9:25 PM

It's not China but Japan that leads in green technology.

bill

April 9, 2010 3:14 PM

Are they air conditioned? Do they have
seatbelts? Do they have airbags? Do they have four wheels? Do they have a roof? How big is the trunk?

Order Ultram Online

September 11, 2010 3:45 PM

I usually don't post in blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful !
Order Ultram Online

is there generic viagra

October 17, 2010 7:52 AM

buy generic viagra india buy generic viagra buy buy viagra online usa generic mexican viagra generic viagra in us

wisconsin union theater tickets

October 25, 2010 9:08 AM

a really good writeup by you hope to come back more very soon.

Player Profiles

October 29, 2010 10:31 PM

Maybe you should make changes to the webpage name China Has Electric Scooters. America Needs Them - BusinessWeek to more catching for your subject you write. I liked the the writing even sononetheless.

true protein coupon code

November 4, 2010 2:48 AM

animal cuts review

November 23, 2010 10:57 AM

Alright beneficial article on China Has Electric Scooters. America Needs Them - BusinessWeek ketoxcdfkerozn.

ritasloan

December 18, 2010 5:05 AM

kidz desires for e-scooters because it gives the feel of skiing on land. Kidz can use it even for local errands fun, quickly and easily, they find Electric scooter dates even more romantic than motorcycle dates.

Pharmd807

December 30, 2010 5:31 AM

Hello! kgafdkf interesting kgafdkf site!

zero friction marketing

January 5, 2011 5:17 PM

You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found the majority of persons will have the same opinion with your blog.

ritasloan

January 6, 2011 6:01 AM

This definitely will help you to choose the desired E-scooter for your kid. Principally we are advertising for three top most companies - Razor, Xtreme and Goped. Here, products are reliable, well made, stylish with more colors and models & uses well proven equipments to maintain its quality.

Elana Petrauskas

January 13, 2011 8:23 PM

This content seriously worth checking. I recently uncovered this well crafted and then readily clear. I would like to i believe are grateful for an hour or two you spend to publish this. I am just extremely pleased together with loose time waiting for your following publish.

jersey shore s02e11

January 25, 2011 5:18 AM

Hi, I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

so dep

January 27, 2011 6:53 AM

Thank you for the smart critique. Me & my neighbour had been getting ready to perform a little research about that. We got a very good book on that matter from our native library and most books the place not as influensive as your information. I am very glad to see such info which I was searching for a protracted time.This made very glad! Anyway, in my language, there are not much good supply like this.

so dep

January 27, 2011 6:55 AM

Daniel, yea I can see what you probably did there. I really favored that part, but hehe I am not that harsh like my dad with these things. He at all times tells me crazy stories back within the day and calls me a loser. I suppose it's time I transfer out of my dad and mom' basement LOL. Aaanyways, what about you? what does your dad think xD" Anyway, in my language, there will not be a lot good supply like this.

sim so dep

January 27, 2011 6:56 AM

Great write-up, I am an enormous believer in commenting on blogs to help the weblog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world extensive web! (source roblox-cheats.com). Anyway, in my language, there are usually not much good source like this.

grass fed meat

February 15, 2011 4:54 PM

If you want your dreams to come true dont over sleep.

best protein powder

February 15, 2011 10:40 PM

Alright best protein powder to gain weight useful piece of writing on China Has Electric Scooters. America Needs Them - BusinessWeek the best protein powder for muscle gain csflqtkeruxupb.

chinaeu

February 23, 2011 12:15 PM

please find chinese electric scooter:
http://www.electric-bicycle.de/

orbitrek magnetyczny

February 28, 2011 6:46 PM

It's everything here exactly what I was looking for :) I'm so happy that I step in right here.lol

onlien roulette strategy

March 5, 2011 10:28 PM

China Has Electric Scooters. America Needs Them - BusinessWeek roulette wheel costume leyoxvdhjeroxn, roulette sniper 2.0 unlock code, magjeyletipixc.

landscaping Hockessin De

March 6, 2011 6:04 PM

Hey! I just saw another message in one other weblog that regarded like this. How do you know all this stuff? That's one cool post.

masturbator

March 15, 2011 5:56 PM

sperm count vitamins that increase sperm increase sperm counts increase ejaculation pills low sperm count signs how do i increase my sperm count supplements to improve sperm motility how to increase sperms motility increasing sperm count diet sperm regeneration after ejaculation how to make a bigger load more sperm production sperm count to get pregnant sperm ejaculation distance sperm production speed ways to increase your load how to make bigger loads sperm producing cells creating more ejaculation low sperm count but pregnant

Jay

March 16, 2011 11:34 PM

It's very exiting to find this www.businessweek.com website. I don't have much to add to the conversation, but I'm right here with you. Your post said exactly what I have been thinking. Good to see you posting again.

BioBasics

March 17, 2011 2:40 PM

Thanks so much for this wonderful website;this is the stuff that keeps me going through my day. I have been searching around for this site after being referred to them from a colleague and was pleased when I found it after searching for some time. Being a avid blogger, Im happy to see others taking initivative and contributing to the community. Just wanted to comment to show my support for your blog as it is very challenging to do, and many writers do not get credit they deserve. I am sure Ill drop by again and will send some of my friends.

BioBasics

March 17, 2011 9:36 PM

Two Words: BLOG HEAVEN. I have hit the motherload, praise him.:)

Pharmc106

March 18, 2011 12:21 PM

Hello! gdeaekf interesting gdeaekf site!

Home Security Monitoring service

March 21, 2011 6:24 PM

really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!
">Home Security Monitoring

MP3 players for kids

March 28, 2011 4:01 PM

Exactly what some really good mp3 players for kids? My cousin is 5 years old and for christmas I'd prefer to buy her a iphone, she loves my nano but I think it becomes difficult for her to use it. Are there give ones for kids?

back pain relief

April 5, 2011 7:04 PM

I really loved the post so I used my Digg account to digg it - should assist you

breast augmentation

April 5, 2011 8:08 PM

Bing really did a good job helping me discover your website - its good.

north austin locksmith

April 6, 2011 7:46 PM

Im sure I can speak for all that we would love to see a follow up to this post.

Shaunna Mikus

April 8, 2011 6:22 PM

Hey are using Wordpress for your blog platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Gaston Latting

April 14, 2011 3:47 AM

Hi there! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

Roscoe Mccure

April 18, 2011 8:44 AM

Excellent article and easy to understand explanation. How do I go about getting permission to post part of the article in my upcoming news letter? Giving proper credit to you the author and link to the site would not be a problem.

chinaeu

April 19, 2011 9:30 AM

pokerstars hat cap

April 29, 2011 7:58 AM

online poker codes

shane mosley manny pacquiao

May 2, 2011 1:39 AM

China Has Electric Scooters. America Needs Them - BusinessWeek shane mosley vs manny pacquiao showtime kqtuxvdhlqyizc, pacquiao mosley live, bsflqtjeropizn.

poker table tops mass

May 2, 2011 9:52 PM

online poker news 2009

Ruthann Masterton

May 4, 2011 4:55 PM

I really liked reading your post!. Quallity content. With such a valuable blog i believe you deserve to be ranking even higher in the search engines :)

Evan Reves

May 12, 2011 3:04 AM

viagra india price 2010

Mariah Slimmer

May 12, 2011 4:20 AM

viagra women best

fort lauderdale caterer

May 17, 2011 1:08 PM

Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!…

viagra effects

May 17, 2011 9:11 PM

The heart of your writing while appearing agreeable in the beginning, did not really work properly with me personally after some time. Somewhere within the paragraphs you actually managed to make me a believer but only for a short while. I still have got a problem with your jumps in assumptions and one would do nicely to fill in all those breaks. If you actually can accomplish that, I could surely end up being impressed.

discountclshoes

May 18, 2011 7:05 AM

good article, i clearly enjoy this page, continue on it.

Myrl Platas

May 20, 2011 1:48 AM

Thank you for another informative blog. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

online poker code crack download free

May 23, 2011 9:27 AM

online poker show freeroll password dec 2

Post a comment

 

About

Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!