The Coolest & Most Useful Electric Personal Vehicles in 2023
- Read Time: 13 min
The electric craze is growing at a blistering pace and manufacturers of cars are promising new releases at a rapid rate. This year is going to see some incredible designs from well-renowned brands. All can not afford an electric car though as they are not exactly a budget option but the market for smaller PEVs offers an abundance of various choices of electric transport.
But what is a PEV and what does it stand for, and are they all practical and useful or a mere gimmick in some cases? Let's find out.
Many probably think that PEVs (personal electric vehicles, or plug-in electric vehicles) are a relatively new invention but they have been around longer than we might think.
In fact, already in 1881 a french inventor fitted a rechargeable battery to an electric trike which is credited as the first electric vehicle, or car even, that could carry a passenger.
And the development has been ongoing ever since, even though the electric motor as a primary choice for propulsion of personal vehicles had to take a back seat due to the combustion engines dominating era.
Today we see that things are changing rapidly. Whether we approve or not. Electric propulsion and electric motors are where the industry of personal transportation is putting most of its money and R&D.
There are some different versions of personal electric vehicles out there and honestly, some of them seem more of a toy or gimmick rather than something useful. Let's go through some of them.
The Segway is a vehicle that most would remember as one of the first proper PEV transporters in modern times. A two-wheeled self-balancing gyroscope electric vehicle with a handlebar for personal transportation. Steve Jobs claimed it would be bigger than the PC and the hype around it before launch was of epic proportions.
Sadly, it all came to an end in 2020 when production ended due to low sales. There are a number of reasons for the demise of the Segway which we won't cover in detail here. It was a quality product though and customers liked them. However, the arrival and development of the electric kick scooter finally changed the market forever. It also wasn't a particularly portable electric vehicle.
The electric scooter is more versatile and easier to ride whereas the Segway was a balancing act that needed to be perfected and not all found that an attractive proposition.
A hoverboard is a self-balancing electric platform with two wheels attached at each end next to your feet. There is nothing to hold onto and you need to keep balancing by leaning your feet forward or backward. There is a risk of falling when trying to learn to use it. It is not a "plug & play" option in that sense. But recent developments have made them easier to balance with improved gyroscopes. Compared to e-scooters, they are still a rare sight though. A gimmick? Maybe. Most hoverboards seem to be used by kids still.
Basically a skateboard with a battery attached to it.
We can certainly say that e-bikes are not a gimmick. They are very popular and next to e-scooters the most common sight as of yet when it comes to personal electric vehicle use in rural and urban settings. Apart from the electric car that is. E-bikes have a lot of advantages. They are an easy and safe ride, you can still pedal and continue as on a regular bicycle even if the battery has died. It is easy to bring extra luggage. The one thing e-bikes lack is portability. The battery needs to be removed when you park it as e-bikes are popular with the part of the population who can't differ from what is yours and theirs. Removing the battery lessens the risk of theft.Best Electric Scooters for Commuting
The electric unicycle is a one-wheel vehicle where you place a leg on each side of the wheel. You have the wheel between your legs that is, and off you go... and you will most likely fall while learning to balance it properly. As with skateboards, a self-balancing unicycle has quite a steep learning curve. Electric unicycles are quite compact making them easy to carry and store away. And once you get the hang of it, it does look cool when you float through traffic. Not a gimmick but also not as easy to use as an electric scooter.
Electric kick scooters are nowadays simply referred to as electric scooters. As far as electric personal transporters go, they seem to be reigning supreme. Understandably so. Similar to a skateboard although with two wheels instead of four, and a handlebar to hold onto and steer. They are easy to ride, portable, in some cases ultra-portable, and lightweight. There are many variants to choose from with different specs and power ratios. Some have a very high top speed and long range. There is basically no learning curve to ride one. Everyone can do it although there are better and worse techniques of riding one.
As with most vehicles, size and weight are where the effectiveness of power needed and used vary a lot. An electric train, for example, weighs huge amounts but can still operate effectively since it is connected to the power source. Battery-powered trains are fast developing however but need a lot of batteries to be able to pull all that mass.
A smaller portable electric vehicle is very effective in transporting one person and doesn't need as much battery power since the weight of the whole package is not that heavy.
An e-bikes motor and battery typically weigh around 18 lbs (8 kg). This is the additional weight compared to a regular bike. That added weight produces a very good return on investment as far as power, speed, and range goes.
The e-bike and electric scooter are the preferred choice of smaller PEVs and understandably so.
They both offer a lot in return at a relatively low investment. The bike is not as portable though and here is where the electric scooter is king and none more so than the fluid Mosquito we cover below.
The fluid Mosquito has set a new benchmark when it comes to extremely lightweight portable e-scooters. It looks little more than a kid's kick scooter but will leave you wide-eyed when it zips past you at a top speed of 28 mph (45 kph)!
It only weighs 29 lbs (13 kg) yet fluidfreeride has managed to design a strong pocket rocket that will climb even 10% inclines without missing a beat.
As if that wasn't enough it has battery power enough for 22 miles (35 km) of range if you behave and cruise in eco mode at 15 mph (24 kph).
All this range and performance come from a front-wheel drive 500W/700W peak power motor and a 48V 9.6Ah battery.
And there's more good stuff. Solid tires and an 8-inch wheel size will never be the most comfortable of rides but the Mosquito does include a double suspension system and a very roomy deck with plenty of space to stand on. Even bigger devices than this sometimes lack all these attributes.
Being such a fast electric scooter it needs to stop effectively. And that is achieved by a strong rear drum brake, rear fender step-on brake, and an adjustable front regen throttle brake.
Even though the Mosquito has such a low weight it will tolerate a max weight of 265 lbs (120 kg).
And it really shines when it comes to folding it and putting it in your pocket....oh ok then... well almost. It is such a convenient and compact package when folded that it resembles a large umbrella more than a 28 mph max speed electric scooter. Bringing it onto public transportation or even into the smallest car trunk is a breeze.
At the time of writing the Mosquito has no competitor when it comes to ultra portability and strong top speed with good mile range performance. Truly an astonishing device.
The Horizon is another great in-house design from fluidfreeride with the aim of offering an affordable and versatile all-around multi-purpose electric scooter. A natural step up from the typical entry-level devices many start out with.
It is a rear-wheel drive 500W/800W peak power motor with a maximum speed of 23 mph (37 kph). Good and strong even for hilly areas with 15% inclines.
The target has been to produce the best possible "everyday companion" to transport you from A to B within the urban environment. The ride quality is superb even if the road or surface is less so. This is a budget scooter yet it still has a dual suspension system. A front air-filled tire works in unison with a front spring and at the rear a dual spring suspension covers for the stiff solid tire.
This is a very convenient and pragmatic setup as 90% of flats occur at the rear. You won't need to worry about that in this case. It is also wider to compensate for the lack of air in order to improve grip and traction.
Available in two battery versions with a 20/25 mile range (32/40km) respectively and weighing either 40/42 lbs (18/19 kg) it is not overly heavy and carrying it onto other vehicles or public transportation is definitely doable. It is also a star in the portability league beaten only by the Mosquito. It folds into one of the smallest scooter packages on the market.
And it is a reliable braker as well. A rear drum and regen brake are controlled by the left-hand lever which activates the regen brake by a slight pull. Pull harder and the rear drum brake jumps into action.
It has LED lights, LCD customizable display, and a rock-solid build quality that ensures a long life as the workhorse it is intended to be. A smart choice of transport for riders who need a device that can cover many miles without complaining.
A cheaper option to the Mosquito is the fluid Cityrider. Designed as a perfect inner-city commuter, it focuses on that task and that task only.
The whole idea behind this particular electric scooter is to keep it super simple yet still deliver the goods. It has a top speed of 18 mph (29 kph) from its front wheel 350W motor and a range of 10 miles (16 km). A smaller 36v 10.4 Ah battery keeps the overall weight down but has enough juice for those inner-city errands. And it will not shy away from hilly areas if not too steep.
It weighs 28.5 lbs (12.9 kg) and folding it is easy with a clever mechanism. The stem attaches to the rear mudguard and you can easily pick it up and carry it like you would a bag. The handlebars don't fold but you can unscrew them easily if you need the whole package to be narrower.
Solid honeycomb tires will ensure you never run a flat. And as far as solid tires go, these are so comfortable that you would be forgiven for thinking they are air-filled.
The braking is a three-part system with a regen brake on the front, a drum brake on the rear, and a rear fender foot brake.
What riders find most surprising is that the ride quality is much better than one would expect on a suspensionless electric scooter. The honeycombed tires are a big part of that but also the roomy wooden deck covered in grippy tape makes it feel a bit like you are riding a skateboard.
A very stable and fun electric scooter that will appeal to riders in an unexpected way.
The bright display is easy to read and you can choose between sport, eco-mode riding, or set your cruise control. It even has rear turn signals separated from the brake light which is a handy safety device in traffic.
Bright front and rear LED light and a max weight limit of 265 lbs (120 kg) are further testament to the attention to detail and solid construction.
A very smart choice if you want a lot of inner city electric scooter for your money.
Is there such a thing as cool electric scooters?
You bet. Some manufacturers are going for the jugular both in performance and design. One would think there is only so much you can do with this concept but you would be surprised. Below we cover two of the coolest PEVs you can get your hands on at the time of writing.
At the other end of the spectrum from the fluid Cityrider, we find scooters such as the Nami Burn E2. These are vehicles more suited for enthusiasts than beginners as there are so many setup options.
This is not your average electric transportation scooter. For starters, it has a max speed of 45 mph (72 kph) and the acceleration is breathtaking as it just needs about three seconds to go from zero to 25 mph (45 kph). Strap on your helmet properly.
Dual 1000W/5040W peak power motors are an indicator of the purpose here. Speed and power. Lots of it. And a big 72V 28Ah battery is capable of an incredible 90-mile (145 km) range. And if those miles are steep hills, the Nami will burn through them as if they weren't there.
That means you need to be able to haul anchor effectively and dual fully hydraulic 160 mm Logan disc brakes do just that. Add to that an integrated electric brake and you have all the stopping power you need.
The ride quality the Burn E2 can deliver is nothing if not astonishing. This is what you get when you look at high-end models. Carbon fiber stem, hand-welded frame, adjustable front and rear coil shock suspension, and 11-inch tubeless TOUVTT tires, best in class. Set up the dampening rebound to your liking and enhance the riding experience to suit your style of riding and the area you need to cover. Off-roading is definitely on the menu.
The waterproof display is another standout feature compared to other scooters. It is large resembling a smartphone and offers a multitude of various settings as well as a USB port for charging your phone. The one thing where you think the designers should've gone a different route is the throttle. They opted for a thumb throttle but it would be preferable to have a twist grip throttle although this is not a deal breaker.
An impressive lights package with a strong front headlight, side and rear LED lights as well as turn signals.
Of these beast scooters, the Nami Burn E2 is also the most portable although you won't carry it for long stretches. In ten seconds you can collapse the stem and pick it up. It is just under 100 lbs (45 kg) mind you and the max weight is 330 lbs (150 kg).
And there are two versions available with the even more powerful Burn E2 MAX. Basically the same package but with a 60 mph (96 kph) maximum speed and a 115-mile (185 km) possible range.
This is as good as it gets. There are options although not with a single stem. Below we cover another beast scooter that is in a league of its own in a different manner.
The various Wolfs stand out amongst scooters in a very obvious and drastic way with motorcycle-grade hydraulic front shock absorbers and a double stem which will be the first thing you notice when you see one. The second thing, if you try one, is the massive and scary performance it is capable of. These electric monsters need to be treated with the utmost respect or the bite of the Wolf will be something you never forget.
How so you might wonder?
Well, to begin with, at the time of writing, beginning of 2023, the Wolf King GT Pro is the fastest production electric scooter in the world. Which means a maximum speed of 62 mph (100 kph).
And the acceleration, when using all the max power settings, will spin the front wheel even on grippy tarmac. It is very important to use the right standing position, one foot in front of the other and bended knees, as it will do zero to 15 mph (24 kph) in under two seconds.
Luckily, there are various riding modes to keep it all under control. But even in single motor mode, it is seriously fast.
At your disposal are dual 2000W/7200W peak power motors which are fuelled by a 72V 35Ah battery and 50A Sinewace controllers to keep it all in check.
Needless to say, the ride quality is on par with the rest of the package. Dual hydraulic shocks in the front and dual rear springs make it easy to ride in rough terrain without losing control.
And you can even travel to the neighboring city and back with the 90-mile (144 km) range it is capable of before needing a recharge.
The construction and sturdy frame are a testament to the off-road abilities the King possesses. If this is what you need, look no further. 11-inch self-repairing tubeless off-road or street tires are optional. For stopping power you can rely on 160 mm rotors and fully hydraulic brakes. It will come to a complete stop from 15 mph (24 kph) in 9 feet (3 m).
It clocks the scale at 120 lbs (54 kg) and has a max weight limit of 330 lbs (150 kg). So no, you won't carry it around much. But the stem folds so you can haul it into the trunk of a car although it is not exactly a swift process.
A smartphone size display shows all you need to know, even turn signal indicators. A lock code for extra safety, and five different riding modes that are customizable to suit the rider's style of choice.
Dual front best-in-class headlights, tail brake light with built-in turn signal lights, and a cool swag light strip with the name of the scooter emblazoned on the sides.
The Wolf King is awesome and looks like something out of a Mad Max movie. Technically still an electric kick scooter but it feels like something much more than that when you ride it.
So why is it that this type of personal transportation is growing? How come so many have started using e-bikes when they would never consider a regular bike? And why do I see so many electric scooters around?
Well, once you've tried them, it is hard to ignore the appeal. First and foremost, the more people that use them, the fewer fossil-burning vehicles will be on the roads which have tremendous personal health benefits due to cleaner air, and the global climate will be positively impacted.
You might not want to show up drenched in sweat at work and need a shower the first thing you do. So a regular bike was never an option for you. Too long distance and too much effort. But with the e-bike, you all of a sudden can. You might still need to pedal but the additional power from the motor makes a world of difference.
And on the electric scooter, you don't sweat at all. Even better.
The time you save is another huge factor. Nothing can compete with either of the two choices above in a congested inner-city race from A to B. Not a chance. The electric scooter in particular is super effective and dare I say, a bit addictive once you start using them.
The easy hop-on procedure and get-going is so effortless and swift it is ridiculous.
When you bring out your pocket calculator you will also quickly make sense of the numbers as commuting daily will never be cheaper than on one of these PEVs. The price per mile is challenging to beat.
Add to that, with an off-road electric scooter, you can access parts of nature you couldn't on a petrol vehicle due to noise and other restrictions. You can't just bring your dirt bike onto a public trail and let rip. The electric scooter lets you do that. Since they are foldable, bring them in your car and go venture.
The impact of the electric scooter is huge and one of the items in the last decade that have arrived with a bang.
It sure feels like it is here to stay.