Electric kick-scooters, you know, the stand-up type a lot of us used to bop around on when we were kids, are rapidly gaining popularity in what's being referred to as the micromobility segment. Previously occupied by the likes of standard bicycles and maybe even skateboards, the micromobility sector is a microcosm of technological innovation, and sees new entrants popping up at a blistering pace.
I'm sure a lot of you reading this article have a generally negative perception when it comes to electric kick scooters. Indeed, they've gained quite a bit of notoriety in several parts of world, largely due to how accessible they are. Reports of hundreds of minor accidents, reckless riding, and generally unruly behaviour on the part of e-scooter riders have been spreading like wildfire. In fact, some cities have gone as far as to outright ban these two-wheelers on public roads.
At this point, you may be wondering: what does a racing series dedicated exclusively to e-scooters have anything to do with the growing problem of deregulated e-scooters on public roads? Well, quite a lot, actually. Similar to the auto and motorcycle racing worlds, where tech and safety innovations born on the race track are later adapted for use on roadgoing vehicles, eSkootr looks to apply the same to production-ready electric kick-scooters.
The eSkootr Championship (eSC) is the world's first racing series dedicated solely to electric scooters, and Khalil Beschir, co-founder of the eSC explains that it's more than just a sport. In a report published by Reuters, Beschir explained that eSC presents itself as a breeding ground for tomorrow's safer e-scooter riders. "Yes, we are creating a new sport, we are creating an accessible sport. At the same time we have a mission to help governments, cities, to develop safe riders and to work with cities on the right way of using these scooters.”
The eSkootr Championship held its inaugural round in London last Saturday, May 14, 2022, and saw a total of 30 racers spread across 10 teams race to the finish. As for tech, the scooters used for racing weigh around 40 kilograms, and are powered by a pair of 6 kW electric motors capable of propelling the e-scoots to speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. The machines roll on soft-compound tyres manufactured from vegetable oil, allowing the riders to lean up to 60 degrees while tackling corners. Athletes with experience in sports ranging from snowboarding, speed skating, cycling, and motorcycle racing make up the eSC's roster of racers.
Saturday's race saw Swiss rider Matis Neyroud take the top spot, while Britain's Dan Brooks finished second, and India's Anish Shetty took third place rounding up the opening race's podium finishers. More races across Europe, particularly in Switzerland, Italy, France, and Spain are set, as well. The series also has plans of holding races in the US, with Asia and Africa in the pipeline for upcoming seasons, as well.