The electric scooter market, while still in its infancy, has taken huge leaps in recent years, as demonstrated by the 3 state-of-the-art models available from Genesis. Electric scooters, which were first patented in 1895, are now capable of traveling at speeds up to 20 mph and have a range per charge of 20 miles.
Along with innovations to batteries and other hardware, we have witnessed remarkable innovations to aesthetics, size, and ease of use.
To gain a better understanding of just how far the electric scooter has come, let’s take a look at the history of the electric scooter. So hop into your nearest time machine and set the date for 1895!
The Pioneers of the Electric Scooter
The early years of the electric scooter are a bit fuzzy on exact details, but we do know that a Mr. Ogden Bolton Jr. filed the first patent for an electric motor scooter on September 19 1895. Curiously, nothing is known of Mr. Ogden Bolton Jr., other than the fact that he was an American inventor.
Ogden’s patent laid out a design for an electric scooter with the electric motor located on the back wheel’s hub. The motor used a direct current with six poles and included a 10-volt battery that could take 100 amps. Given the fact that no gearing system was used in the model, one can’t imagine it to be a powerful machine. There is no evidence that Bolton’s model was ever manufactured or put to any use.
Although not much came of Ogden’s initial conception, it is interesting to imagine a lone inventor, during the late 1800’s, casting his voice into the oil vs. electric propulsion debate that dominated the dialogue of that period. Ogden’s patent caused enough interest to lead to some discussion in the American magazine Popular Mechanics during that period.
Not much came of the electric scooter until the year 1919, when the British agricultural machinery maker, Ransomes, Sims, and Jefferies revealed to the public a prototype. Their design was different from Ogden’s in that the batteries were placed under the seat, instead of the rear wheel hub. Unfortunately, despite being initially approved for the road, this design too would fail due to a plethora of malfunctioning components discovered during the trial stage.
Fuel Shortage During WWII Sparks Renewed Interest in the Electric Scooter
During WWII, the majority of available oil went to the war effort. As a result, many people searched for an alternative fuel source to lower transportation costs at home. In 1936, a Belgian company called Socovel, founded by The Limelette Brothers, manufactured and sold an electric motorcycle to the public. The company switched to oil shortly after the war having sold only 400 scooters before doing so.
Contemporaneously, in America, an inventor named Earle Williams devised a means of turning fuel-powered vehicles into electric vehicles. William’s invention led to the ParCar.
Electric Scooter Continues to Evolve
Throughout the sixties and seventies, a few players entered the game, although to little avail.
In 1967, Karl Kordesch invented a hybrid electric/fuel scooter that had a range of 200 mpg and could travel at speeds of 25 mph.
In 1974, Auranthic Corp, a small-sized machine manufacturer released a scooter called the Charger. This model could travel at speeds of 30 mph and could travel a distance of 50 miles on full charge.
Other companies tried and failed to mass-produce an electric scooter in this period as well, but it would not be until 1996 that the Puegeot Scoot’Elec was released onto the market and found success. The scooter was powered by a nickel cadmium battery and could travel up to speeds of 25 mph.
The Electric Scooters of Today
Many of the innovations that occurred since the Puegeot Scoot’Elect have been safety related, specifically regarding the battery. The rise of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery has been huge. Not only is the lithium-ion battery more efficient, but more environmentally safe than the nickel cadmium battery.
Furthermore, things have changed tremendously in the realm of aesthetics. As seen in the Genesis models, electric scooters are now smaller, sleeker, and can be folded down into an easy to carry size.
Whatever the future of the electric scooter holds, Genesis promises to be at the forefront, innovating and improving the form you love!